When Asking For A Raise, Don't Lean To The Left
Upright truly is right, it turns out.
A study to be published in the forthcoming Psychological Science is demonstrating that those who lean to the left are more likely to underestimate numerical figures. And because the research only held up when respondents were assessing an unknown number, it was accepted to be applicable for gauging expected and desired salaries, according to a report by the Association for Psychological Science.
"Be careful to stand upright next time your boss asks you how much you should be paid. If you are leaning to the left you will be putting a lower value on your worth," the APS said in a report. "Researchers found that covertly manipulating the tilt of the body influences people's estimates of sizes, numbers and percentages."
The study was conducted through an investigation of 33 people's responses to a host of questions, touching on a broad range of metrics including height and amount. The survey participants were asked, for instance, the height of the Eiffel Tower, the percentage of alcohol in whiskey and how many number one records Michael Jackson had during his musical career.
As they were responding, the participants were asked to stand on a Wii board, which could track left and right body tilt. Unlike leftward tilt, a respondent leaning to the right showed no impact on assessment. In trying to make sense of the connection between underestimation and leftward leaning, one of the researchers said the phenomenon must be appreciated in the context of the host of factors that go into human decision-making.
""Decision-making is an integration of multiple sources of information – memory, visual imagery, and bodily information, like posture," said Anita Eerland, a psychologist at Erasmus University Rotterdam in the Netherlands, which is where the study was conducted. Eerland was quoted in The Express.
While the source of the left leaning and underestimation may be wrapped up in individual confidence, the affect of physical appearance on your bosses is also receiving a closer look of late, thanks to two recent studies. As was covered on AOL Jobs in August, economist Daniel Hamermesh, of the University of Texas, Austin, and sociologist Catherine Hakim, of the London School of Economics, both completed reports in which they underscore the potency of physical attractiveness as a weapon in the workplace.
In her book, "Honey Money: The Power of Erotic Capital," Hakim says her title phrase, erotic capital, is as vital in the office as actual job bona fides. Therefore, women should use their erotice powers for their career, especially because they are still operating in a non-egalitarian corporate environment.
For his part, Hamermesh, in his book, "Beauty Pays," says that ugliness is a final front of workplace discrimination.
"One study showed that an American worker who was among the bottom one-seventh in looks, as assessed by randomly chosen observers, earned 10 to 15 percent less per year than a similar worker whose looks were assessed in the top one-third -- a lifetime difference, in a typical case, of about $230,000," he wrote in the New York Times in promoting his book.
And so judicial remedies are needed, he contends.
"With all the gains to being good-looking, you would think that more people would get plastic surgery or makeovers to improve their looks," he also wrote. "A more radical solution may be needed: Why not offer legal protections to the ugly, as we do with racial, ethnic and religious minorities, women and handicapped individuals?"
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Dan Fastenberg was most recently a reporter with TIME Magazine. Previously, he was a writer for the Thomson Reuters news service's Latin America desk. He was also a reporter and associate editor for the Buenos Aires Herald while living in South America.
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