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Which way do you lean?

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Which way do you lean?

Which way you lean isn’t just a reflection of your idiology. Researchers now believe that the direction we lean forecasts our decision making. Left is less - right is more.

Which way you lean isn’t just a reflection of your ideology. You may lean left on certain philosophical or political issues, but the way you lean physically may actually affect your decision making.

How we make decisions is a complex cognitive process. It can involve many different input sources, including memory, visual imagery, unconscious feelings, or perceptions all working together to influence how we come to decide.

Researchers have identified another interesting source of information: our body itself. It seems our posture can influence how we make a decision about a problem or situation that is not already known to us.

The researchers at Erasmus University Rotterdam in the Netherlands found that surreptitiously manipulating the tilt of the body influences people’s estimates of quantities, such as sizes, numbers, or percentages.

The study participants stood on a Wii Balance Board that, without their knowledge, imperceptibly manipulated their posture to tilt left or right or stay upright. A screen in front of them displayed questions that required answers from one to 10 (for example, “How many number one hits did Michael Jackson have in the Netherlands?”). At the bottom of the screen was a representation of the participant that showed them to be standing upright even when they were not. They answered questions one by one verbally.

Interestingly, the estimates given by participants leaning to the left were all smaller than when they were leaning to the right or standing upright. In other words, left was less and right was more.

Of course, this doesn’t work for people who already know the answer—only when a decision has to be made about an unknown quantity. But the next time you’re thinking of asking your boss for a raise, you might want to check her posture before broaching the question.

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