June 27th, 2010

Argument

Monty Python, Right Again

Science magazine recently published a study by psychologists from Yale, MIT, and Harvard entitled "Incidental Haptic Sensations Influence Social Judgments and Decisions" which suggests that "textures, shapes, weights and temperatures – physical cues associated with touch – influence thoughts, behavior and judgments." They were focused on job interviews (not interrogations by the Spanish Inquisition), and part of their summary of results is that:
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.