07/11/2013 11:34 am ET Updated Sep 10, 2013

Expansive Postures May Lead Us To Dishonesty


Christie Nicholson
(Click here for the original article and podcast)

Expansive body postures, like stretching one's legs, confer a sense of power. And studies show that the feeling of power can lead to dishonest behavior. Now researchers find that just sitting at a big desk or in a large chair can also influence one's honesty.  

Subjects sat at desks with either a large or small working space. They were asked to unscramble anagrams without using an answer key--which was available. And those who had the big desk space cheated more than those who had the confined area.

In another experiment, volunteers played a video driving game, sitting either in a large or little seat. They had to drive through a course as fast as possible and attempt not to hit anyone. If they did make contact, they were supposed to stop playing for 10 seconds. And the big-seat drivers were more likely to hit and run.  

In a real-world setting the researchers also found that those who drove cars with expansive seats parked illegally more often that those with smaller driver's seats. The studies are in the journal Psychological Science.

So next time you get behind the wheel, are you in the driver's seat or is the driver's seat controlling you?