Study: Your confidence in your own thoughts is affected by your posture!

We all know that sometimes other people’s confidence in what we say is affected by our body language, but scientists have now shown that our confidence in our own thoughts is affected the same way! When we sit up straight with great posture, we are more convinced of what we are saying, according to a study published in the October 2009 issue of European Journal of Social Psychology.

Seventy-one Ohio State students took part in the study, and they did not know the study’s purpose. Instead, they were told that they were taking part in two different studies, one to do with acting (holding various poses while doing other things), and one about business and job performance. They were asked to write down their best or worst qualities while they were sitting down with their back erect and pushing their chest out (confident posture) or slouched forward with their back curved (doubtful posture). Then, they completed a number of questions and reported their self-evaluations. Confidence in what the students had said, good or bad, was significantly greater when students wrote their thoughts in the confident than in the doubtful posture. The students did not especially feel more confident in the “confident posture,” but they did believe the things they had written more when they were in that posture instead of the “doubtful posture.” That means that we are not even aware of our posture’s influence on our confidence in what we say or write! Our posture directly affects how much we believe what we’re communicating, and it’s not just a matter of tricking ourselves by squaring our shoulders and “feeling confident.”

I’m sitting up straighter and straighter as I write this, and I hope you can use this information in your life. If you don’t want to second-guess yourself when taking tests, writing speeches, or other performing other important communication tasks, be sure to sit in a confident posture while you write or talk!


Body posture effects on self-evaluation: A self-validation approach (p 1053-1064)
Pablo BriΓ±ol, Richard E. Petty, Benjamin Wagner
Published Online: Feb 25 2009 10:32AM
DOI: 10.1002/ejsp.607

Reported today by: The Ohio State University Research News

Photo credit:

37 thoughts on “Study: Your confidence in your own thoughts is affected by your posture!”

    1. Excellent point! And I was just thinking – if I ever know I’m going to take a lie detector test, I’ll first practice practice practice, sitting as straight as I can!

  1. Dear Christie,
    This is true. The posture is the body and is not a stand-alone as it is affected by your thought processes and your feelings. These always have a direct affect on the body. This is experienced in our lifes everyday, if only we are aware of who we are, and how our own thought processes and feelings affect our own body. I am, are you?
    .-= Ana´s last blog ..A moment =-.

    1. Hi Ana, Absolutely! I’d always seen how the mind could affect the body and make posture change (or other symptoms arise), and I’d even known that other people react to our body position and posture, of course. I was surprised to read that we actually believe our own thoughts more when we’re sitting up straight. I’m definitely going to sit up straight for a while each day and give myself a pep talk about the things I CAN do! :)

    1. Hi Walter! Oh yes I love to slouch and read too. :) We’ll just have to remember to sit up straight when we want to really believe what we are writing or saying!

    1. Hi Sire! Aw, looks to me like you’re confident about the things you say! ‘Course I may not be sitting up straight when I read ’em..

  2. I’m typing on my bed commenting now.. I have to change my posture immediately and sit up straight, put the laptop on my pillow so it’s ‘high’ enough. ^^ You’re right. I believe it’s the same when we’re trying to be convincing in our daily conversations, using the tone, gestures .. whatever that can convey our messages. Perhaps unawaringly, we missed an important message even when we’re writing/typing at our desks. A little change can make a huge difference. I’d really like to make this a habit — sit straight. Thanks so much for the tips, Christie.

    Social/Blogging Tracker
    .-= Ching Ya´s last blog ..13 Facebook Applications to Promote Your Blog =-.

    1. Hi Ching Ya! Yes, those little things all add up – sitting straight, body language..apparently even influence our own minds. I’d like to make it a habit too. :)

    1. Hi Klaus – I think it’s cool that forcing the body posture into a confident one will point the mind in that same direction. Will definitely try to put it into practice!

  3. I think they might be on to something. Having a good posture often shows who are willing to take action (confident) and who are the followers.

    This reminds me of the popular saying: “Lead, follow, or get out of the way”.

    Have you noticed any difference since you started thinking about it. Except when doing lie detector test. πŸ˜‰
    .-= Stefan´s last blog ..Get People to Work For Free =-.

    1. Hi Stefan – Yes I definitely notice the posture of others, strangers and those familiar to me, and it does imply a lot about their mindset, although I know a lot of people just have bad posture out of habit. Hahaa…a couple of times in the past few days I’ve had to write something that was a little tricky and I did sit upright to do so, hoping I’d be more believeable, at least to myself.

    1. Oh yes – fairly or not, we definitely project that on other people. I’m still amazed we even influence our own minds by sitting up straight. The mind-body connection is so complex and powerful.

  4. Nice picture. Are they Copacabana chics or the ones that do Brazilian carnivals? Where’s George? He should know better.
    This totally applies to me especially when I’m presenting a topic to my colleagues and seniors at work. When I’m confident of what coming out of my mouth, I stand upright as though I had a string moving through me, head to toe. When I’m concious of the fact that I never studied the topic is depth, I slouch and avoid eye contact and also pretend I’m coming down with something πŸ˜‰
    .-= Udegbunam Chukwudi´s last blog ..How To Register For ClickBank As A Nigerian =-.

    1. Hi Udegbunam! Yeah, these are from Carnaval in Brazil! :) How about that. I guess that’s why we all “know” when we are watching someone tell us something true – or at least we tend to believe it if it is delivered with confidence.

      Thanks for your comment – please come back to MiscBytes soon!

  5. Im sitting straight while writing this comment.Lol. I really doubt that i guess gesture is a better way to judge the persons confidence.

    1. Hi Nea, I’m with you. I can see where others might be more confident in what we say if we’re sitting straight, but that the sitting straight is the cause is quite a thought. You’re right – nothing to lose by sitting up straight, just in case the study results are valid.

      Thanks for your comment, and please come back to MiscBytes soon!

  6. OK alright already I’m slouching!
    Not because I do but because of your choice of pictures for your post! I had to slouch over further to get closer to the screen. Ok I living Las Vegas and these sites are not all that uncommon, I do slouch.

    I am now putting a reminder right above my monitor so when I see it I will comply. WoW! I just had rotators cuff surgery and solders back hurts like crazy when I do that, Got my attention now!

    Mind if I use your image as a reminder and motivator?
    OK I’ll just use Bright yellow card stock with red letters.
    Thanks for the great post!
    Brad West ~ onomoney
    .-= Brad West´s last blog ..5 Points to a Successful Mind =-.

    1. πŸ˜€ Brad you’re right – that was an eye-catching image all right! Thanks so much for the kind words – and please come back to MiscBytes soon!

    1. Hi Brian – Yeah it does make sense, and it’s something I have to keep reminding myself of. Heck, if I believe what I’m saying or writing, that’s half the battle… :)

    1. Exactly. This time the psychology is performed on ourselves, but apparently it works just as well! Thanks for your comment Een – please come back to MiscBytes soon!

  7. I think this was somewhat related to the blood flow going to your brain when you are sitting up straight. Honestly, I find this true for myself. Everytime I go for an interview, I tend to sit straight because it makes feel good. I felt like I’m more presentable and professional when I do that. I know it also make a good impression for other people esp. for the interviewer. It’s a two way benefit, I guess.

    1. You’re right – it’s important for how you look to the interviewer anyway, so it’s definitely is a two way benefit!
      There are so many things we have yet to learn about the human body, and some things we may dismiss simply because we don’t yet know how they work.

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