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The science of presenting yourself: Blushing, lying and confidence


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More studies have been in the media this week, this time about presentation. These three items can be helpful in reading people while you’re out mixing it up. Relate in any way? Let me know in the comments!

Lies, lies, lies
The Daily Mail published a story yesterday about the lies men and women tell, and the frequency thereof. A promotional poll for the Tim Roth series “Lie to Me” led to the results, which show that men lie six times a day, twice as much as women. The most interesting result was that the most common lie for both men and women, out of a list of the top ten for each, was “Nothing’s wrong, I’m fine.” Other shared lies are “Sorry I missed your call,” as well as “I’m on my way,” and “I didn’t have too much to drink.” Women appear to lie more about misplacing items or making new purchases, and men seem to have excuses as to why they were unreachable and/or drunk. Click here for the full article and list of lies!

Straight Up Confidence
We’ve all been told that standing up straight gives an air of confidence, but who knew it really came from within? Via Psyblog comes the results of a study from earlier this year, in which students were told to maintain one of two postures, sitting straight or slouching, and were then asked to rate themselves on their futures. Some were told to think negatively, and some to think positively. The results showed that those who were sitting up straight and thinking positively were more sure of themselves than those who had slouched while also thinking positively. Spinal alignment seemed to have little effect on the negative thinkers. I don’t know about you, but I’d certainly like to see a second study that shows how people are perceived in each posture, and perhaps the effect posture has on the person making the observations.

Blush it Off
Dutch psychologists at the University of Groningen focused on the blush, that most embarrassing accidental facial expression that seems to be an endless cycle: You blush because you feel you have made a transgression, and being aware of your redness makes you blush even more! Ah, life. It turns out that the blush is more friend than enemy, as noted in the study abstract: “Although people often consider blushing to be an undesirable response, our results showed that, in the context of transgressions and mishaps, blushing is a helpful bodily signal with face-saving properties.” And how! Test subjects were presented with a story outlining predicament and then shown pictures of people with neutral and reddened expressions. Those with pink cheeks rated higher in positive, sugarcoated perceptions, such as being sympathetic and trustworthy, which could lead to a higher probability of forgiveness. Good to know, but don’t try this at home. It’s incredibly difficult to fake a momentary blush, which may be why our brains are tapped in to this facial display.

More weird science to come!

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