Sit up straight for self-confidence, study shows

Tue Oct 6, 2009 10:21am EDT
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SYDNEY (Reuters Life!) - Sitting up straight isn't only good for your back -- a new study has found it also boosts self-confidence and reinforces positive thoughts.

The study of Ohio State University students showed body posture not only affects what others think, but also how people think about themselves, said Richard Petty, co-author of the study and professor of psychology at the university.

"Most of us were taught that sitting up straight gives a good impression to other people," Petty said in a statement.

"But it turns out that our posture can also affect how we think about ourselves. If you sit up straight, you end up convincing yourself by the posture you're in."

The researchers found that people told to sit up straight were more likely to believe thoughts they wrote down while in that posture about their qualifications for a job.

Those who were slumped over their desks, however, were less likely to accept these written-down feelings about their own qualifications.

"People assume their confidence is coming from their own thoughts. They don't realize their posture is affecting how much they believe in what they're thinking," Petty said.

"Sitting up straight is something you can train yourself to do, and it has psychological benefits -- as long as you generally have positive thoughts."

The study, which included 71 Ohio State students, appears in this month's issue of the European Journal of Social Psychology.

(Writing by Miral Fahmy; Editing by Jerry Norton)

<p>Needles are used to ensure correct posture during a training session at a military base in Shenyang, Liaoning province May 6, 2008. REUTERS/Stringer</p>