Fly on the right: lateral preferences when choosing aircraft seats.
File embargoeduntil 2018-12-20
Della Sala, Sergio
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Darling, S., Cancemi, D. & Della Sala, S. (2018) Fly on the right: lateral preferences when choosing aircraft seats. Laterality: Asymmetries of Body, Brain and Cognition, 23 (5), pp. 610-624.
A small preference has been observed for people to choose seats on the left of aircraft when booking via an online system. Although this is consistent with pseudoneglect - the known leftward bias in perception and representation - rightward preferences have been commonly observed in seating selection tasks in other environments. Additionally, the previous research in aircraft seating was unable to dissociate a bias to one side of the screen from a bias to one side of the cabin of the aircraft. Here we present a study in which participants were asked to select seats for a range of fictional flights. They demonstrated a preference for seats on the right of the cabin, irrespective of whether the right of the cabin appeared to either the right or the left of the screen, a preference for seats towards the front of the aircraft and a preference to favour window and aisle seats. This suggests, in contrast to previous research, that participants demonstrated a rightward lateral bias to representations of an aircraft. These results may have implications for our understanding of asymmetries in cognition as well as having potentially important practical implications for airlines.