Study co-author Richard Petty, professor of psychology at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio; Pablo Brinol, a former post-doctoral fellow at Ohio State now at the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid in Spain; and Benjamin Wagner, a graduate student at Ohio State studied 71 students at Ohio State.
When they entered the lab for the experiment, the participants were told they would be taking part in two separate studies at the same time, one organized by the business school and one by the arts school.
They were told the arts study was examining factors contributing to people's acting abilities, in this case, the ability to maintain a specific posture while engaging in other activities.
While holding their posture, students listed either three positive or three negative personal traits relating to future professional performance on the job -- as part of the business study.
The study, published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, found students who held the upright, confident posture were much more likely to rate themselves in line with the positive or negative traits they wrote down.