An oblique view of three-dimensional objects is preferred over a frontal or lateral view, partly because it is more familiar and easily recognizable. However, which side of a symmetric object looks better remains unsolved. Reading direction, handedness, and the functionality of objects have been suggested as the potential sources of directional bias. In this study, participants of three online surveys (total N
= 1082) were asked to choose one item that looked better or was more aesthetically pleasing; the test was performed between 100 pairs of left- and right-facing mirror-images. The results showed that Japanese participants (both vertical and left-to-right readers) and Israeli participants (right-to-left readers) preferred left-facing images over right-facing images, whereas American participants (left-to-right readers) preferred right-facing images over left-facing images. Weak effects of handedness and object functionality were also found: Left-handers tended to choose right-facing images more than right-handers, and the view of objects with a handle that is graspable by the dominant hand was more likely to be chosen over the opposite side view, regardless of culture. Although previous studies have emphasized the role of reading direction, a close look at the results suggests that it cannot fully account for the preferred facing direction of oblique objects.
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