Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Ambivalence and Body Movement

Schneider et al. make interesting observations about circulation correlations between our thoughts and body movements. We sway more from side to when we feel ambivalent about a choice or situation, and if we apply a swaying motion to our bodies, that makes us feel more ambivalent about a topic on which we are already uncertain.
Prior research exploring the relationship between evaluations and body movements has focused on one-sided evaluations. However, people regularly encounter objects or situations about which they simultaneously hold both positive and negative views, which results in the experience of ambivalence. Such experiences are often described in physical terms: For example, people say they are “wavering” between two sides of an issue or are “torn.” Building on this observation, we designed two studies to explore the relationship between the experience of ambivalence and side-to-side movement, or wavering. In a first study, we used a Wii Balance Board to measure movement and found that people who are experiencing ambivalence move from side to side more than people who are not experiencing ambivalence. In a second study, we induced body movement to explore the reverse relationship and found that when people are made to move from side to side, their experiences of ambivalence are enhanced.

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