Look where you go: Anxiety can affect your walking direction
From all the troubles anxiety brings to your life, this one may not be big, but no less irritating. A new research has found that people who experience anxiety and inhibition have more activity in the right side of their brain. In other words, it makes them walk in a leftward trajectory. Lead researcher Dr. Mario Weick at the University of Kent has for the first time linked the activation of the brain’s two hemispheres with lateral shifts in people’s walking trajectories.
In a study aimed at establishing why individuals display a tendency to allocate attention unequally across space, people were blindfolded and asked to walk in a straight line across a room towards a previously seen target. The researchers found evidence that blindfolded individuals who displayed inhibition or anxiety were prone to walk to the left, indicating greater activation in the right hemisphere of the brain.
The research indicated that the brain’s two hemispheres are associated with different motivational systems. These relate on the right side to inhibition and on the left to approach. The findings may have implications for the treatment of unilateral neglect, which is a condition caused by a lack of awareness of one side of space. In particular, individuals suffering from right-sided neglect may benefit from interventions to reduce anxiety. The study is published in the journal Cognition.
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