Good posture linked to self-confidence

By Sheryl Kay • Published: February 17th, 2010
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

We all have memories of parents and teachers telling us to sit up straight. But little did we know good posture helps us feel better about ourselves.

In a study recently published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, researchers found that individuals who sat up straight are actually more confident than those who don’t.

Researchers recruited seventy-one university students who were told they’d be participating in two simultaneous studies… one for the business school, and the other for the school of arts. Investigators explained that the arts study was looking at people’s acting abilities; in this case, the knack for keeping an explicit posture while performing other activities. The students were further told this would be accomplished by sitting in a specified position while filling out a career questionnaire measuring their job aptitude traits for the second study being conducted by the business school.

Seated at a computer terminal, participants were told to either sit up straight, or sit slouched forward when filling out their questionnaires.

Students who sat upright were much more likely to rate themselves in line with the positive or negative traits they wrote down, demonstrating that regardless of whether the traits were positive or negative, the students had more confidence in their own thoughts. Those who slumped showed far less confidence in their own ratings.

So grandma was right. Sitting up straight doesn’t only look fine and minimize back and neck problems, it demonstrates you feel good about yourself.

Some posture pointers? When seated, keep feet flat on the floor, and don’t slouch or lean forward. Don’t curl your shoulders, and opt for ergonomically correct chairs with good back support.