(Telegraph) Why anxiety makes people veer to the left
By Sarah Knapton, Science Editor 7:11PM GMT 20 Jan 2016
Scientists have discovered that feeling anxious makes people very to the left because their right hand side of the brain is so active.
If you feel like anxiety and stress have you going round in circles, then you are actually correct.
Scientists have discovered that feeling anxious makes people begin veering to the left because their right hand side of the brain is so active.
Dr Mario Weick of the School of Psychology at the University of Kent has for the first time linked the activation of the brain’s two hemispheres with shifts in people’s walking trajectories.
People who blindfolded and asked to walk in a straight line across a room towards a previously seen target all veered to the left if they were more anxious,.
The research, published in the journal Cognition, indicates that the brain’s two hemispheres are associated with different motivational systems.
“People experiencing anxiety and inhibition have more activity in the right side of the brain, causing them to walk in a leftward trajectory,” said Dr Weick.
“Blindfolded individuals who displayed inhibition or anxiety were prone to walk to the left, indicating greater activation in the right hemisphere of the brain.”
A separate study also found that people perform more badly in tests if they know they are being watched, particularly if they face criticism from their audience.
Experts have been able to pinpoint the area of the brain that causes performance mishaps in an experiment using functional magnetic resonance neuroimaging (fMRI).
In the study, published in Scientific Reports, participants’ brain activity was monitored while carrying out a task that required them to exert a precise amount of force when gripping an object.
Participants reported they felt more anxious when they believed they were being observed, and gripped the object harder without realising.