This article is part of the Research Topic The role of body and environment in cognition

Original Research ARTICLE

Front. Psychol., 07 December 2012 | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00536

How body balance influences political party evaluations: a Wii balance board study

  • Institute of Psychology, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, Netherlands

Embodied cognition research has shown how actions or body positions may affect cognitive processes, such as autobiographical memory retrieval or judgments. The present study examined the role of body balance (to the left or the right) in participants on their attributions to political parties. Participants thought they stood upright on a Wii Balance Board, while they were actually slightly tilted to the left or the right. Participants then ascribed fairly general political statements to one of 10 political parties that are represented in the Dutch House of Representatives. Results showed a significant interaction of congruent leaning direction with left- or right-wing party attribution. When the same analyses were performed with the political parties being divided into affiliations to the right, center, and left based on participants’ personal opinions rather than a ruling classification, no effects were found. The study provides evidence that conceptual metaphors are activated by manipulating body balance implicitly. Moreover, people’s judgments may be colored by seemingly trivial circumstances such as standing slightly out of balance.

Keywords: embodied cognition, conceptual metaphors

Citation: Dijkstra K, Eerland A, Zijlmans J and Post LS (2012) How body balance influences political party evaluations: a Wii balance board study. Front. Psychology 3:536. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00536

Received: 01 August 2012; Accepted: 13 November 2012;
Published online: 07 December 2012.

Edited by:

Dermot Lynott, University of Manchester, UK

Reviewed by:

Rick Thomas, University of Oklahoma, USA
Michiel van Elk, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands

Copyright: © 2012 Dijkstra, Eerland, Zijlmans and Post. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited and subject to any copyright notices concerning any third-party graphics etc.

*Correspondence: Katinka Dijkstra, Institute of Psychology, Erasmus University, Burgemeester Oudlaan 50, 3062 PA Rotterdam, Netherlands. e-mail: k.dijkstra@fsw.eur.nl

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