If you’re negotiating for a new car, some recent research would suggest that you might find it helpful to lean left — literally.
The research is part of a body of inquiry in the field of embodied cognition. Embodied cognition holds that the condition of the mind is influenced by the form and position of the human body. Researchers of embodied cognition include psychologists and cognitive scientists, among others.
In a recent study at the University of Rotterdam, researchers were interested in whether or not decision making involving quantities (e.g., numbers, percentages, sizes) is influenced by body position and posture. Using a Wii Balance Board and undergraduate students, here’s what they found:
In the first experiment, the estimations were of different kinds of quantities — e.g., the height of the Eiffel Tower or percentage of alcohol in whiskey. In the second, the quantities were all of the same kind — How many grandchildren does Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands have? How many Number 1 hits did Michael Jackson have in the Netherlands? The answers were all between 1 and 10.
As expected, participants gave smaller estimations when leaning left than when either leaning right or standing upright. There was no difference in their estimates between right-leaning and upright postures.
Noted one of the researchers, “Decision-making is not a pristine process. All sources of information creep into it, and we are just beginning to explore the role of the body in this.”
You can read more details of the research at Which Way You Lean — Physically — Affects Your Decision-Making. And while the research didn’t specifically investigate the influence of leaning left on negotiating purchases, one has to wonder…
So…do you think you’ll try it next time you want to negotiate a lower price?
Odds and Ends
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