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Dominant Side of Face Linked to Musical Ability

MADISON, Wis. (AP)___

Beethoven probably did not know he was left-faced, but a University of Wisconsin-Madison psychologist says that is probably one of the reasons he was a musical genius.
The dominance of one side of a person’s face, called facedness, may be linked to musical ability and support the theory that such talent is inherited, according to Karl U. Smith, an emeritus professor of psychology.

In a recent study, Smith said he analyzed hundreds of people to de-termine their facedness and discovered that the phenomena probably begins to emerge in infants several weeks old.

He used computerized analyses of lip, tongue and jaw movements, and claims it is probably as common as right or left-handedness.

“My results confirmed that all persons have a sort of facial ‘fingerprint,’” or distinctive way in which they use one side of their face just as they have distinctive patterns of handedness,” Smith said.

Nearly 90 percent of all people, Smith said were right-raced.

The connection between musical talent and left-facedness arose as he was looking at facial patterns in different occupational groups, Smith said.

“I was stunned to discover that 98 percent of the opera singers I examined were left-faced. In fact, of the talented musicians I observed, almost all were left-faced,” he said.
Smith said that because facedness develops two or three years before handedness, such talents may be inherited.
“This suggests that facedness is related to how the brain develops right after birth, which indicated that certain traits are inherited,” he said.

Current theories have suggested that the left hemisphere of the brain controls analytic skills and the right side is geared toward creativity. Smith said the lift side controls right-side body movement, and the right side of the brain controls left-side body movement.

Concerning musical ability, Smith said: “The left side of the brain controls language articulation, but the right side controls total performance; of the ability to sing and control the voice.”


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