Most people would like to believe they have a basic grasp on why they feel what they feel. As always, we're here to inform you that what you believe is wrong. Your emotions are dictated by the outside world in ways you might find bizarre and shocking. For example ...
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5 Making a Person Feel "Bigger" Turns Them into a Reckless Asshole
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Most of us can spot brash, confident people on sight. They stand tall, make big hand gestures, and fill as much space as possible. Everything about their posture, body language, and mannerisms say "I am the goddamned center of the universe! Everyone stop and notice me!" Likewise, you can spot nervous, timid people by how much they try to scrunch away and avoid notice. You find them slouched over, looking down, trying to find a corner to hide in. Well, believe it or not, you can actually change a person's attitude toward the world by forcing their body language in one direction or the other.
"Don't think of it as a back brace; it's a confidence booster!"
Researchers conducted an experiment published in the journal Psychological Science in which they had a group of subjects perform some stretching exercises (under the pretense that they were really studying the effects of stretching) and then randomly selected them to adopt either wide or contracted postures.
Prior to the commencement of the exercise, the participants were told they would be paid $4, but after the stretching exercises, the researchers deliberately overpaid them $8 in a way that looked like a mistake (by throwing in a $5 bill). Seventy-eight percent of the people who were put in the big, expanded, confident body positions kept the money. Only 38 percent of the other group did.
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"You certainly seem like a bold, confident young woman. Get lost, we don't hire thieving bastards here."
This effect might also explain another phenomenon close to our hearts -- why people who drive SUVs are such insufferable, reckless douches on the road. In another experiment, researchers recruited 71 subjects and sat them in realistic driving simulators, some with large seats like in an SUV or truck, and some with cramped seats like in a VW Beetle. Sure enough, the drivers in the large seats tended to drive more recklessly and were more likely to commit hit-and-runs rather than stop according to the rules.
Now, you might figure that people in the "bigger" pretend car subconsciously felt like they were safer in the event of an accident. Maybe it's not about feeling like a big, dominant douchebag, but just being less worried about a collision flattening their smart car like a beer can.
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"You know, if these small cars are so damn unsafe, maybe they should outlaw them."
Well, the researchers then monitored real-world cases of illegal double parking in New York City on weekdays between 12 p.m. and 7 p.m. They found that driving a big car increased the probability of double parking from 51 percent to a whopping 71 percent. Even when the researchers took into account the fact that drivers of larger cars might have more difficulty finding parking spots, they still found a strong relationship between the size of the car and the possibility of vehicular douchebaggery. The unspoken thought process seems to come down to "Of course I'm the most important person in the world! I'm huge!"