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Attention, job-seekers: sit up straight Add to ...

Mom was right. If you want to get ahead, you’d better not slouch.

Your posture doesn’t just signal confidence and leadership, according to a new study from the Kellogg School of Management at Chicago’s Northwestern University. It can actually make you think and act more powerfully as well.

“Posture expansiveness,” that is, adopting body positions that take up space, triggers a sense of power that makes people act as though they really are in charge, researchers found.

In experiments, researchers discovered that posture can have a greater impact on people’s behaviour than their rank or title, according to a press release.

Study participants were assigned high and low-powered roles and were asked to perform a series of tasks while adopting expansive postures (like placing one arm on the armrest of a chair and the other on the back of a nearby seat, with one ankle on the thigh of the opposite leg) or constrictive postures (like slumping their shoulders and sitting with their legs close together).

When asked to perform a word completion exercise and a blackjack game, those with expansive postures came up with more power-related words and took more action than those with constrictive postures, regardless of whether they were given a high or low-powered role, the press release says.

Job-seekers might want to take note.

“[O]ur research suggests that your posture may be quite literally the way to put your best foot forward in a job interview,” says professor Adam Galinsky, who led the study.

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