Picture it: you're leaning in, eyes closed, lips puckered, and ready to smooch. Where do you tilt your head? According to new research, probably to the right.
A new study has revealed that people are "hardwired" to tilt their heads right while kissing, and there's a scientific reason for it.
Researchers at the University of Bath in the U.K. studied 48 married couples in Bangladesh to learn more about kissing habits in non-Western societies, where kissing isn't usually done in public.
The researchers asked the couples to kiss in their own homes, and after kissing, they were asked to go to different rooms and report on the kiss.
The results showed that most individuals (more than two-thirds) tended to lean their heads to the right when kissing, whether they were the initiator or the recipient of the kiss. Researchers also discovered that men were about 15 times more likely than women to initiate kissing.
"This is the first study to show sex differences in the initiation of kissing, with males more likely being the initiator, and also that the kiss initiators' head-turning direction tends to modulate the head-turning direction in the kiss recipients," said lead author Dr. Rezaul Karim in a news release.
While the sample size of the study was small, this could reveal some universal truths about kissing behaviours.
Researchers came to the conclusion that a person's predominant hand can predict which direction their head will tilt when kissing when they're the initiator, but not when they're the recipient, and this all goes back to how we developed as kids.
Even in the womb a preference for turning the head to the right is observable.
"Head turning is one of the earliest biases seen in development — even in the womb a preference for turning the head to the right is observable before that of favouring the right hand or foot," said Karim. "Whether this fundamental bias is innate and extends into adulthood is a lingering question for neuroscience and psychology."
As for why the recipient tends to match the initiator's head tilt? It's purely for comfort.
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According to the study, when couples mirrored each other's head movements when going in for a kiss, both the initiator and the recipient reported that they felt uncomfortable when kissing.
Here's what we know for sure: kissing is the best.