The secret of positioning

Posted by Oliver Koll on Aug 29, 2016

armposition“Tummy in, chest out”  – a saying which reminds us to correct our body position to signal increased self-confidence. For several years, academic research builds on the idea that body position and gestures also influence consumer behaviour. A recent study investigates whether arm posture impacts purchase quantities. The underlying logic is that extended arms signal avoidance behaviour and flexed arms signal approach behaviour.

In an experiment 100 shoppers had to move a shopping cart with either flexed (they had to place their hands on the underside of the handlebar) or extended (by placing their hands on the top of the handlebar) arm posture. In a shopping aisle they were presented an assortment of both vice (e.g., chocolate, chips, beer) and virtue (e.g. toothpaste, soap) categories.  Results show that those who moved the shopping cart with flexed arms purchased more than those who moved the cart with extended arms, in both category types. Want to control your supermarket spending? Check your arm position!

Source: Streicher, M. C. and Estes, Z. (2015). Shopping to and fro: Ideomotor Compatibility of Arm Postures and Product Choice, Journal of Consumer Psychology.