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Careful, your comfy chair might be making you soft


I’m fairly obsessive when it comes to preparing resumes and applications. In fact, I probably spend less time on the content than I do trying out different fonts, choosing appropriate paper and carefully addressing envelopes. (It takes concerted effort to stray from my default, third-grade-boy handwriting.)

It turns out my attention to presentation, while slightly off the mark, might not be a total waste of time.

An article published today in the journal Science suggests that textures, shapes, weights and temperatures-physical cues associated with touch-influence thoughts, behavior and judgments.

Specifically, psychologists from Yale, MIT and Harvard found:

Interviewers holding a heavy clipboard, compared to a light one, thought job applicants took their work more seriously. Subjects who read a passage about an interaction between two people were more likely to characterize it as adversarial if they had first handled rough jigsaw puzzle pieces, compared to smooth ones. And people sitting in hard, cushionless chairs were less willing to compromise in price negotiations than people who sat in soft, comfortable chairs.

Previous research showed that people who briefly held a warm cup of coffee, rather than a cold drink, judged others to be more generous and caring.

"Our minds are deeply and organically linked to our bodies" from birth, said co-author of the paper John Bargh, PhD, in a press release.

The research doesn't specifically mention smell, but I can't imagine it would hurt to suffuse my next round of resumes in chocolate-chip cookie fumes - a family-member recommendation I dismissed during the college application process.

Photo by thebigsink

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