Hair Part Theory Original Paper (1999)

The Hair Part Theory: Summary

What Is Your Hair Part Saying About You?

The Effects of Hair Parting on Social Appraisal and Personal Development

By Catherine Walter and John Walter

HairPartTheory(c)2001TMCInc PDF version – Complete data included:

Surprisingly, a hair part has a crucial impact on interpersonal relationships by affecting immediate character appraisal, perceived personality traits, self-perception and self-development!

The Hair Part Theory was developed by a brother-sister team trained, respectively, in nuclear physics and cultural anthropology. Their revolutionary theory is now being made available to the general public, so that all individuals can have more control over automatic and mostly unconscious assessments made of their personalities by others. John and Catherine Walter also produce the True Mirror®, a mirror that does not reverse the viewer’s image and which therefore allows an accurate self-assessment.

A left hair part draws unconscious attention to the activities that are controlled by the left hemisphere of the brain, i.e. activities traditionally attributed to masculinity. A right hair part draws unconscious attention to the activities that are controlled by the right hemisphere of the brain, i.e. activities traditionally attributed to femininity.

A man who parts his hair on the right, and who is striving for positive assessment in a traditionally male role is at risk for having difficulties in interpersonal relationships, since he is sending a mixed, subconscious message by emphasizing the activities of the brain traditionally attributed to femininity.

A woman who parts her hair on the left, and who is striving for positive assessment in a traditionally male role (for example, in business or politics) will be taken more seriously than a woman with a right part, who is emphasizing mental processes that are traditionally attributed to femininity.

Use the links below to access the full theory paper, as well as an analysis of
United States Presidents, Vice Presidents, state Governors (in office 9/98), and
the Senators and Representatives of the 105th Congress according to their hair part
choice, with an emphasis on those who part their hair on the right.
Additionally, a list of famous men who wear a right part is included,
since these men illustrate some of the surprising ways that a right hair
part affects personality and perception of personality.

PDF version – Complete data


About John Walter

A long long time ago when I was just 19, I discovered the effects of changing my hair part from right to left. The strength of the change - in my case from a social misfit to "Joe Popular" was amazing, and not only that, when I looked around, it was happening to others. The Hair Part Theory was the result of researching the effects and putting it into a more scientific framework and language. My sister Catherine Walter was instrumental in getting my vague handwaving theories into a great paper, including a slew of statistics to illustrate just how many leaders we have that are hair parters! A few years after discovering the Hair Part Theory, I discovered, or more accurately re-discovered a true image mirror - and recognized myself at a deep level. The full story is elsewhere on this blog (link coming), but suffice to say that the True Mirror (the trade name of my perfect version), reflects your hair part the way it actually is, and you can see exactly what you are matters!
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20 Responses to Hair Part Theory Original Paper (1999)

  1. mike halstead says:

    OK, but for the record two of the most masculine people I can think of, John Wayne and Clint Eastwood, parted on the right, and there was nothing feminine about those two… Paul Lynde and Charles Nelson Reilly the two most feminine men that come to mind were left parters.

    • John Walter says:

      All 4 men part on the left – its a demonstration of how the Hair Part Theory is a tendency, not an absolute. I feel that the left part on men can be more flexible, its not as strong a determinant. But the right hair part on men is significantly shown to lead to atypical personalites – for better or worse.

      • john says:

        Hey, this is very interesting but can I get a definition check from you? When you say left part does it refer to the lookers left or the parters left? Is it called left part because the division is on the parters left side or because the hair goes to the left side of the head? Because if you mean that a left part is a guy who parts the hair on his left side and the hair hangs/fall over to the right then Clint Eastwood is for sure a right parter.

      • John Walter says:

        Hi John,
        Yes the left part refers to the part itself appearing on the left part, and the hair going over to the right sdie. The theory is based on the idea that by exposing that part of your head (the left), and covering the other side (right), all people viewing you will be drawn to the left side, which is your logic/rational/masculine side.

  2. d says:

    What about center parters?

  3. asf says:

    What does the theory say about men who do not part their hair, but still have the general direction of the hair in the front fall distinctly to one side or another??

  4. Alison King says:

    Um… What about a center part? No mention of that here that I have seen yet. And what about (at least for women) when we just decide to change hairstyles ’cause we’re bored?

    • John Walter says:

      The center part, no part, or bald presents a more balanced view – in other words, the eye of the viewer is not drawn to either side all the time, and therefore will scan more equally. So the center parter will likely be perceived as more balanced. Over time, this reinforcement over all interactions (“interactional continuity”) will tend to make them more balanced in their character.

      For women, the effects on personality are not as strong as for men, probably for two reasons – they do switch their hair parts frequently, as opposed to men, who often wear the same hair part every day since they were children. Also women have a lot more going on style wise than their hair; they are assessed on more factors, thus the hair part contribution is not as strong – its more of an accent. However, the effects are still present – you will see most “strong” women part on the left, or like Ms Creative, Martha Stewart is on the right. Check out the effect on Princess Diana

      If you are bored and want to play, try this – go to an important interview or business meeting with your hair parted on the left, then go on a hot date with your hair parted on the right. See how it works really well to get what you want. Now switch it the other way and see how it changes things! Then try the center part and see that you can still do either task pretty effectively, though you may have to work a little harder – your hair isn’t sending out such a strong signal anymore.

      This is the idea – hair parting “can” and “may” lead to definite changes in perception and how people relate to you. You can find many clear examples where it’s effects are obvious (such as the subway commercials with the hapless worker always getting snowed out of his sandwich), but its not always true, so you could find examples of powerful people with right hair parts (like House Leader John Boehner. But then again, the theory says that right hair parts lead to unusual behavior, which puts Boehner’s often emotional tears in new perspective!) So in general, while you probably will find some center/no part extremists, you will likely find more balance among center or non parters.

      When I first discovered this theory, I parted my hair on the right (and as per the theory, actually was pretty different than everyone else…and perhaps why this theory is so extreme too?). I had a lot of trouble relating normally with my peer group, which I since discovered happens a lot with men who part on the right. When I switched to the left, a ton of positive feedback came my way from that very same peer group, and I thought I was golden. But about 4 months later, I felt very disconcerted, as if a part of me (the warm, sensitive, deep, studious and feeling part) was missing, and all I had was a flashy, popular and shallow exterior. I finally stumbled upon the idea of a center part, and eventually no part, and to this day feel that it’s much, much better…I can be strong or sensitive whenever I need to and either aspect is characteristic of what people expect from me –even if they don’t know me very well.

  5. Alison King says:

    Cool. I think I will play with this for awhile and see if I get different responses or if I feel different…. I had a center part most of my life, but about 6 years ago I started parting on the left. Mostly because I thought it lent a more professional look to my long hair, instead of looking like an aging hippie. 🙂 Now, I recently cut my hair and have semi-retired, and have a little more flexibility in my life….. might just start experimenting with this. How fun!
    Have you read (or read about) Neufeld’s book on hair? It’s called “Hair – The long and short of it” of something like that….. I have been thinking of ordering it because he did a lengthy study. Read about it in the New Yorker in Sept.
    Thanks for your interesting study!

    • John Walter says:

      thanks, it is an interesting study – modesty aside! The best part about being interviewed for Radiolab in 2011 ( was when after about an hour the host, Jad Abumrad said “I think I’m starting to buy what you are selling me” (!)

      Definitely play with the concept – the effects will be reinforcing if you are aware of them and play them up. I guess the proof of concept is to see if playing it up with the reversed versions would work or not. Its tricky, because your analysis will be subjective, but you should notice clear differences, with some things will be easier with the right part and some with the left part. Let me know how it goes.

  6. Antonio says:

    I was skeptical of this theory, but I’m nearly a week into testing it(going from a lifelong right parter to left parting instead). I must say that I’m a bit shocked so far by the extra attention I’ve been getting, particularly from women. But only time will tell whether or not this holds up.

    By the way, when will the link to the full PDF be fixed?

    • John Walter says:

      I know, its easy to be skeptical, but it really is a game changer, especially for men with right hair parts switching to left. Have fun and play with it – its such a relief to be able to operate like a typical man, without some unknown handicap weighing you down. For me, it lasted for 4 months until i didnt know who i was – the sensitive, deep person, or the flashy, popular guy with nothing to say. That’s when having a middle part (then eventually no part) came in; it neutralized any bias my hair parts (left or right) were causing.

      BTW, the link to our paper is fixed…

  7. Get Sirius says:

    Sorry I am confused?! When I look at say Christopher Reeve’s Superman head on I see his part on the right? According to the theory which side of of a man’s own head should the part start on? If it starts on my own left then when people see me head on they see it on the right? no? I don’t get it?

    • John Walter says:

      Christopher Reeves as Clark Kent parted on the right, thus opening up his right side of the brain (intuitive, holistic, softer, more “feminine”), whereas when he plays Superman, he parts on the left, opening up that side (more logical, assertive, stronger, more “masculine”)

      When people look at you, they will see your hair on your left. it doesnt change at all relative to how someone looks at you.

  8. Get Sirius says:

    By left hair part do you mean the part starts on my own left and the hair goes to my own right? Thanks!

    • John Walter says:

      yes, the left part is a line that exposes the left brain, people will be drawn towards that side of you, because it is more open, and the other side is more hidden in contrast.

  9. Luke Morrow says:

    I am very interested in this theory and have just finished reading your paper. I have been researching this theory and can’t find much on it. I would really like to see a study in which, say, 100 people were shown pictures of the same person. Half of the subjects would be shown a picture of that person with a left hair part. The other half would be shown a picture of that same person sporting a right part (not mirror image, but a photo of that person after having actually changed their hair part to the other side). The subjects would then have to rate the person in the photo on their masculinity and other attributes. If the left part photos consistently scored higher masculinity ratings, etc. then you’d have some significant results. I would like to see some scientific evidence for this theory, because I am on the fence.

    I think you could be on to something here, but I also wonder if maybe it’s not the styling of the hair part that is so important, but the way that person’s hair naturally parts. By this I mean: Most men with feminine traits could have hair that naturally parts on the right. It could be that men with feminine traits will be perceived as feminine, regardless of which side they choose to part their hair on. So in other words: Is it possible that the way someone’s hair naturally parts is more telling than how they are choosing to part their hair? So if a man decides to change his natural, right hair part over to the left, does this change anything? Will he be perceived differently, as you are claiming? Or will he just be mutton dressed as lamb? A right hair-parting, effeminate man, disguised as a left-parting, embodiment of masculinity.

    I read something about how most people’s hair swirls clockwise on the crown of their head and that gay men have a higher chance of having an anti-clockwise swirl. So could it be that this natural occurrence plays a larger part (no pun intended) than how someone chooses to part their hair?

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