For a job interview, for meeting a potential mate – Your first grade teacher was right: Sitting up straight in your chair isn’t just good for your posture, it also gives you more confidence in your own thoughts (in fact, it’s good for everyone, no matter where they come from). No matter how old you are, it’s not too late to change.

Things aren’t always the way they seem. First impressions do matter when it comes to communicating personality through appearance. Psychologist Laura Naumann says, “In an age dominated by social media where personal photographs are ubiquitous, it becomes important to understand the ways personality is communicated via our appearance. The appearance one portrays in his or her photographs has important implications for their professional and social life.”

Be careful when you send in a photograph with your job application! When Naumann showed study participants photographs of over 100 people they had never met, their judgments of the people shown were surprisingly accurate. Naumann says, “If you want potential employers or romantic suitors to see you as a warm and friendly individual, you should post pictures where you smile or are standing in a relaxed pose.”

“We have long known that people jump to conclusions about others on the basis of very little information, but what’s striking about these findings is how many of the impressions have a kernel of truth to them, even on the basis of something as simple a single photograph.”

When you arrive for the interview, sit up straight: Researchers found that people who were told to sit up straight were more likely to believe thoughts they wrote down while in that posture concerning whether they were qualified for a job. On the other hand, those who were slumped over their desks were less likely to accept these written-down feelings about their own qualifications. This resulted in a lack of self-confidence that showed in their follow-up interviews.

Researcher Richard Petty says, “Most of us were taught that sitting up straight gives a good impression to other people, but it turns out that our posture can also affect how we think about ourselves. If you sit up straight, you end up convincing yourself by the posture you’re in. People assume their confidence is coming from their own thoughts. They don’t realize their posture is affecting how much they believe in what they

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