It wasn’t a leap for Casasanto to hypothesize that left- or right-hand dominance would influence voting behavior. He’s found a similar effect before in nonpolitical settings. In one such experiment, he showed participants pairs of alien drawings called Fribbles, and asked how intelligent, honest, attractive, and happy they were—strange questions when you consider that a Fribble looks like this. The lefties responded more kindly to the aliens on the left, the righties more kindly to those on the right.
“Our bodies are an ever-present part of the context in which we use our minds, and should therefore exert a pervasive influence on the representations we tend to form,” Casananto writes. According to that theory, what’s true for the aliens should be true of politicians.
And it was. In an experimental election of two hypothetical candidates, each diverging on issues and each randomly sorted into a left or right spot on the ballot, “everyone, even righties, had a bias to select the candidate on the left, but that tendency was stronger in lefties,” Casasanto says.