Interesting observation, considerable majority of chickens are facing left. Is this the natural orientation of the chicken? Psychologists & soothsayers, your opinions please.
It’s only true in countries where they drive on the right: the ‘oncoming traffic’ in the adjacent lane needs to come towards the viewer of the picture.
Hypothesis: left handers face right, and right handers face left. Discuss.
Definitely possible. I’m a lefty and I feel inclined to draw my chickens facing right.
I’m a righty, but my chicken’s facing right.
Then again, it’s also holding a sign proclaiming itself to not be a chicken.
I did another chi-squared test on this hypothesis, which gave a 99.77% likelihood that chicken-orientation is not exclusively determined by handedness. That isn’t to say that it’s not a factor in a more complicated system of criteria, though. Interestingly, since about 10% of the population is left-handed, you’d expect even more left-facing chickens than we got if that was what decided it.
That’s quite the collection! If I had to hazard a guess about the ‘main chicken orientation’* it would be that we read things from left to right and when looking at an animalwe want to see itsface first, so we draw them left-to-right as well.
Hmm, as someone who doesn’t draw much myself, I tend to start my drawings from the left, and I would start with the bit I was most confident with, so as the head of a chicken is more complicated than the body (at least how I’d draw it), I imagine I’d go for right-facing. Maybe people want to do the most detailed bit first? Maybe my drawing orientation is anomalous, but reasoning applies to average people?
OK, I tried drawing one facing each way. Right-facing felt more comfortable to draw for me (I’m right-handed, btw). You can judge for yourself which had better results:
(I have to say, I think I’ve spent so long looking at Luke’s chickens that I’m having the visual equivalent of saying a word repeatedly until it loses meaning. I don’t know what a chicken looks like any more.)
Also, for evidence that I actually spent the time counting chickens (most of which had hatched, thankyouverymuch), the ‘notes’ I took for the analysis below.
I count 129 left-facing, 27 right-facing, and 46 ‘other’ (facing forwards, or a cooked chicken/hypothetical chicken/egg with indeterminate direction). I tried to do a chi-squared test on the left and right facing chickens (using the null hypothesis that, if someone were to draw a chicken facing one particular direction from left or right, they would be equally likely to do it either way), but the values I was getting were off the charts on any chi-squared table I could find (admittedly I didn’t look too hard because the results are pretty clear).
Anyway, what I can say is that there is a greater than 99.9% chance that the null hypothesis is incorrect from this sample (although I don’t think the sample is large enough to make a judgement on the population as a whole).
My theory is that the first one/few were random, but after a few had built up on the table, people not used to drawing were caught off-guard at being asked to draw a chicken, and looked at previous examples for inspiration. The dominance of left-facing chickens subconsciously resulted in them drawing a left-facing chicken in many cases.
I would go through again and test my theory by counting the number facing each way that look like they were drawn by people with some experience (and therefore, in theory, less of a tendency to look at the others for inspiration before doing their one) but it would be too difficult to be objective (especially as I have this theory in my head, so I’ll be subconsciously biased in my decisions, either by deciding the centre/right-facing ones are better drawn, or by over-compensating the other way), and, frankly, I can’t be arsed.
I like the one third from the left, third from the bottom. Not only is she facing right, but she’s also laying an egg. She really bucks the trend!
Good sir, you need a medal. Or a psychiatrist. Possibly both
Sorry for this being my sixth comment on this (I promise I’ll stop now), but I feel like since I’ve already spent a few hours thinking about this, and I’ll have a load of free time for three months starting in two weeks when term ends, I’m tempted to put together a little website to get people to answer questions and maybe draw chickens (either by implementing some sort of ‘draw with the mouse’ thing or telling them to draw it on paper and then answer questions about it – or both) and get some more data on this chicken direction thing. Would you pimp it here/on twitter if I do make such a website, so I wouldn’t spend the time just to have nobody use it?
Sure! I wholeheartedly approve of this endeavour!
People generally did have a look through the chickens beforehand, and were probably using pre-existing chickens as a reference. I may do this again at another convention, this time “seeding” the table with right-facing chickens to start with and see where that leads.
Thanks, Mr Surl.
Ooh, what you could do if you were going to be at a weekend-long convention is seed it with right-facing chickens one day and left-facing chickens the next day. If you then moderated the most visible part of the pile throughout the day to maintain the original bias, that would at least give us a way to measure whether existing chickens have an effect, and if so how strong the effect is, even if the trend remains to the left.
Only now does it occur to me that I should have drawn a Blaziken.
Maybe it’s a subconscious reponse to the age old question, i.e. (in terms of reading from left to right) the chicken comes before the egg. Some even drew the egg just to illustrate the point.
I can’t really draw, but I know mine would be left facing. I’m right-handed, and I would start at the upper-left to keep from getting ink on my shirt.
Huh. Weird- I’m pretty sure (although I can’t tell now, can I?) that if a significant number of chickens were facing right, it would look weird to me. As is, the right-facing ones are clearly odd ones out that catch my eye, but I’m pretty sure they would still look odd if more were like that. I don’t know why.
Jimi, to the science!
I’ve given it some thought; asked some friends and we noticed it is different with other animals. I (think that I, but I’m “seeded”) would draw for example a goat in the opposite direction (right, as opposed to my (I guess) left-chicken).
I’m reckon that as curves are easier to draw from the inside (such as the curve of a chicken’s body) and statistically more humans are right-handed, it is more naturally comfortable to draw a chicken facing the left.
That would actually hold true with what Quis suggested: The back of a goat is mostly just a big arc (at least when I draw one), so I would draw the goat facing the goat right, too.
I think my chickens would face left as most birds I draw do. However I know that almost all dragons I draw face right. In the case of the birds I tend to construct them from circles but dragons I have a set drawing that I normally use. A horse would face right as well though – perhaps it is related to number of legs. I wonder which way a millipede would face?!
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