Should you watch out for the guy on the left?
An academic paper called "The Ergonomics of Dishonesty" explains that people who take more stretched-out, "expansive" poses in the world are more likely to deceive others compared to those who have more "constricted" poses:
"…individuals who engaged in expansive postures were more likely to steal money, cheat on a test, and commit traffic violations in a driving simulation."
Can the structure of our everyday environment lead us to behave dishonestly? Four studies found that expansive postures incidentally imposed by our ordinary living environment lead to increases in dishonest behavior. The first three experiments found that individuals who engaged in expansive postures were more likely to steal money, cheat on a test, and commit traffic violations in a driving simulation. We also demonstrated that participants’ sense of power mediated this effect. The final study found that automobiles with more expansive drivers’ seats were more likely to be illegally parked on New York City streets. These findings are consistent with research showing that (a) postural expansiveness leads to a psychological and physiological state of power and (b) power leads to corrupt behavior.
The paper was written by Harvard Business School professor Amy Cuddy,
Andy J. Yap (MIT), Abbie S. Wazlawek (Columbia University), Brian J. Lucas (Northwestern University) and Dana R. Carney (University of California, Berkeley).
Paper (opens PDF):
The Ergonomics of Dishonesty: The Effect of Incidental Posture on Stealing, Cheating, and Traffic Violations, Berkeley>>