There are two definite things we always say about selfies—one, that hell is a room wallpapered with every failed attempt at a good angle, and two, that some people have it down to an actual science. Here’s looking at you, Kim Kardashian. As it turns out, there is some scientific evidence for which angle is the best and most flattering for your selfie-taking antics.
According to Dr. Anukka Lindell, senior lecturer in experimental neuropsychology at Melbourne’s La Trobe University, your left side reigns supreme, as established in her recent study for Australia’s Frontiers in Psychology. To determine this, Dr. Lindell began by simply searching the hashtag #selfie, then analyzed the 10 most recent shots of 100 female and 100 male users. After analyzing over 2000 images, she determined that there were significantly more left-side selfies than ones that were taken from the right or center. “92% of the sample showed an overall posing bias, with 41% favoring their left cheek, 31.5% preferring their right cheek, and 19.5% repeatedly posting midline selfies,” Dr. Lindell writes. “Whilst research indicates that midline poses are percieved as being just as emotionally expressive as left-cheek poses, they are less-frequently adopted for a simple reason: they appear less flattering. Tips for posing for the ‘perfect portrait’ and the ‘perfect selfie’ regularly include avoid facing the camera head on in a midline pose, unless one is aiming to look bigger; instead, adopting a 3/4 or 2/3 turn toward the camera is encourages as it introduces more angles, highlights the cheekbones, and makes the subject of the photo appear slimmer.”
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She also found that females typically had a higher preference for the left side over males, and while it is unclear whether or not that angle in particular garners more likes than others, selfies in general rack up 1.1 to 3.2 times more likes and comments than any other image shared on Instagram. Dark days for the lunchtime shot of your avocado toast, we guess.
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But it isn’t just Ariana Grande and every person on your newsfeed who have a preference for their left sides—that angle has some roots in famous paintings and photographs, the Mona Lisa by da Vinci included. “The theory is that the left cheek poses are intuitively perceived as more emotionally open and expressive than right cheek poses,” Dr. Lindell says, suggesting that this angle is more expressive as it is controlled by the emotion-dominant right side of your brain.
To the left, to the left, indeed.
This article originally appeared in InStyle by Marianne Mychaskiw.