In two experiments, we investigated whether body posture influences people's estimation of quantities. According to the mental-number-line theory, people mentally represent numbers along a line with smaller numbers on the left and larger numbers on the right. We hypothesized that surreptitiously making people lean to the right or to the left would affect their quantitative estimates. Participants answered estimation questions while standing on a Wii Balance Board. Posture was manipulated within subjects so that participants answered some questions while they leaned slightly to the left, some questions while they leaned slightly to the right, and some questions while they stood upright. Crucially, participants were not aware of this manipulation. Estimates were significantly smaller when participants leaned to the left than when they leaned to the right.

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Keywords cognition, decision making, embodiment, mental number line, posture
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Journal Psychological Science
Eerland, A, Guadalupe, T, & Zwaan, R.A. (2011). Leaning to the left makes the eiffel tower seem smaller: Posture-modulated estimation. Psychological Science, 22(12), 1511–1514. doi:10.1177/0956797611420731