Sheep like to turn right (as do people, at least in stores)
Posted by David Brooks | Thursday, May 24, 2012
We have a couple of sheep in residence most years, borrowed from farmer friends to crop the grass and let me pretend that I'm rural. So naturally I took interest in the latest posting on the wonderful Improbable.com blog: "Which way do sheep turn?"
It discusses a research paper in which white-face ewes were taken through simple mazes, to determine which way they choose to turn at a T intersection. The result: They turn right two times out of three.
Stores in the U.S. assume people will turn to the right when they enter, and circulate counter-clockwise, when making decisions about product placement in aisles. I had assumed this was a function of our right-hand driving and thus would differ in Britain, but maybe not. Maybe mammals have a hard-wired bias for turning right. At least, sheep-like shoppers do.