Left-right confusion: the influence of verbal labeling and strategy on left-right discrimination.
Heijden, X. van der
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For navigation and orientation in daily life, knowing the difference between left and right is essential. Nevertheless, left-right confusion is a common phenomenon for healthy individuals. In previous studies, it is suggested that the problem lies within the labels assigned to spatial directions. This study examines verbal labeling as a cause of left-right confusion. Furthermore, a second question was added to this study, concerning strategy use and left-right confusion. One often reported strategy is holding the index finger and thumb in an angle of 90 degrees, forming an “L” shape on the left hand. The influence of this L-shape strategy on left-right confusion is investigated. An adapted version of the Bergen Left Right Discrimination test was used where in one part the participants were forced to use verbal labeling and in another part verbal labeling was prevented. The expectation was that less left-right confusion occurs in the non-verbal labeling conditions in comparison to the verbal labeling conditions. No significant differences were found, showing that no verbal labeling effect can be found in this study. For the strategy question, four conditions were created to examine whether the L-shape group was slower on a left-right decision task compared to people with other strategies when they are not able to form an L-shape with their hands (holding the palm of their hands upwards). No significant differences were found for this group, showing that hand position is not of more influence on individuals with an L-shape strategy. However, when looking at the total group, all participants were slower while holding the palm of their hands upwards, showing that hand position is of influence on left-right decisions.