Sitting up straight in your chair isn’t just good for your posture – it also gives you more confidence in your own thoughts, according to a new study.
Researchers found that people who were told to sit up straight were more likely to believe thoughts they wrote down while in that posture concerning whether they were qualified for a job. On the other hand, those who were slumped over their desks were less likely to accept these written-down feelings about their own qualifications.
Change position, change your mind
The results show how our body posture can affect not only what others think about us, but also how we think about ourselves, said Richard Petty, professor of psychology at Ohio State University, and co-author of the study, which was published in the European Journal of Social Psychology.
“Most of us were taught that sitting up straight gives a good impression to other people,” Petty said. “But it turns out that our posture can also affect how we think about ourselves. If you sit up straight, you end up actually convincing yourself by the posture you’re in. People assume their confidence is coming from their thoughts, but in fact, their posture is affecting how much they believe in what they’re thinking.”
The results of the study were striking. Participants who held an upright, confident posture were much more likely to rate themselves with both positive and negative traits. However, students who assumed the slumped over, less confident posture, didn’t seem convinced by their own thoughts – their ratings didn’t differ much regardless of whether they wrote positive or negative things about themselves. “In other words, a confident, upright posture gives a person more confidence in their own thoughts - whether they are positive or negative,” Petty said.