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Larger desks make us more dishonest
Businessmen who sit behind enormous desks in cavernous offices are more likely to become greedy because their surroundings make them feel more powerful, a study suggests.

Having a sense of power can encourage a range of dishonest behaviour ranging from stealing and cheating to breaking traffic laws, researchers said.

Psychologists carried out four studies to assess how our physical surroundings, for example having a big desk at work or even large car seats, can affect how people feel and behave.

They found that although people tend not to notice minor changes in body posture, subtle alterations as a result of their surroundings can dramatically influence how they act.

Expansive postures caused by people's environment, such as spreading their work out across a large desk, can lead them to behave dishonestly and take more greedy decisions, the studies showed.

In one experiment which took place in a laboratory, researchers found that having a larger work space encouraged participants to cheat more often on a test.

A second study in a driving simulator found that people in larger drivers' seats were more likely to "hit-and-run" when encouraged to drive quickly.

Drivers of real cars in New York were also more likely to be found illegally parked if they had larger seats, researchers reported in the Psychological Science journal.

Andy Yap, a PhD student at Columbia Business School in New York, who led the study, explained: "In everyday working and living environments, our body postures are incidentally expanded and contracted by our surroundings — by the seats in our cars, the furniture in and around workspaces, even the hallways in our offices – and these environments directly influence the propensity of dishonest behaviour in our everyday lives."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk (nnhanh)
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