Is self-esteem embodied? The influence of vertical orientation on self-esteem and domain specific sociometers.
Todd, Neville Lawson
Combining sociometer theory’s assumption that self-esteem (SE) is a reflection of our relationship with the social world, and embodiment theory’s proposition that this relationship is influenced by the body, it was predicted that SE should be malleable via manipulation of the body and/or its physical relation to the world. Three studies tested whether differences in vertical spatial orientation (high versus low chair height) would influence explicit and implicit SE (Study 1), and SE related social comparisons relevant to domain specific sociometers (Studies 2-3). While effects on SE were inconclusive, participants seated in high chairs preferred higher status mates than participants in low chairs, suggesting activation of a sociometer specific to the mating domain. Possible explanations for these findings, how they compare with previous research on the embodied self-concept, and suggestions for future research are discussed.
Advisor: Halberstadt, Jamin Brett
Degree Name: Master of Arts
Degree Discipline: Psychology
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: self-esteem; embodied cognition; sociometer; mate choice; height; attraction; verticality; spatial orientation; power
Research Type: Thesis