Cognitive Sciences Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for practitioners, researchers, and students in cognitive science, psychology, neuroscience, and psychiatry. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I've read from various sources about the eye direction language. What is of my special interest now, is:

  • looking right means thinking (about future, new ideas etc.)
  • looking left means remembering (looking into past)

When I've thought about it, I've noticed the possible explanation in our writing.

We write from left to right, so:

  • the future is on the right, looking right means looking into future
  • the past is on the left, looking left means looking into past

Is the eye language dependent on the writing system? Are there any researches about the differences between western culture, and, say, Arabic, where people write from right to left?

share|improve this question
I think the first notions come from neurolinguistic programming, which is largely unsubstantiated by science. It's one of those things that correlates with some people some of the time, but it doesn't quite allow for generalization. While I think your second example with writing is poetic, I think you may be reading too much into it. – Chuck Sherrington Feb 14 '13 at 0:32
I've noticed that I'm doing exactly that when I'm thinking of sth, and other people must notice that because they know that I'm thinking about something and not finding the answer in memory because they're guessing that, so they must use some hints... – Danubian Sailor Feb 14 '13 at 6:43
It's one of those things that correlates with some people some of the time It's definitely not complete BS, but it's not something I would bank a research career on or use as a lie detection method. By analogy, you may have an uncanny trend of eating steak on Sundays, but that may be influenced more by the fact that you do your grocery shopping on Saturdays and steak is usually on sale, and not anything to do with your appetite for steak being on a 7-day cycle. – Chuck Sherrington Feb 14 '13 at 6:53
(so really, I'm not trying to rain on your parade, just saying that it's kind of a neat observation, but I'm not sure it could be validated -- as always, anyone is welcome to prove me wrong on that) – Chuck Sherrington Feb 14 '13 at 6:56

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.