Next time you're making a big decision, consider where you're sitting and what you're holding. Your sense of touch, extending to how comfortable you feel, can make a difference in decisions ranging from fast food menus to car buying.
Photo by jiannone.
A study recently published in the Journal Science follows other studies in the realm of embodied cognition, or the thinking that the way your mind works, and the way your body feels, are inextricably linked. Previous studies in the field have shown that children perform better at math while using their hands, and that people tend to make more generous decisions while holding a warm cup of coffee versus a cold drink (though we wonder how beer plays into that). This recent study, however, included some tests that were more measurable and, depending on your outlook, concerning or intriguing:
In one, test participants played the part of employers interviewing job applicants. When holding a heavy clipboard, they were more likely to consider candidates to be serious, and thought of their own judgements as especially important.
... Test subjects who touched a block of wood subsequently judged job applicants to be more strict in character than when they'd touched a blanked. And in the car negotiations, people sitting in stiff chairs rather than soft held out for an extra $US350 price cut.
It makes a case for having a comfortable seat in a manager's office for the recipients of bad news, and for the importance of carrying a cup of coffee when you're heading into a meeting, perhaps. Where else have you seen tactile forces influence the mind's decisions?