Giving a nod of approval or shaking your head in disbelief does more than tell others what you’re thinking. Nodding your head makes you more confident in your thoughts, whether positive or negative, according to recent research.
In the study at Ohio State University, subjects were told they were testing headphone sound quality, particularly during movement such as dancing or jogging. Study participants were told to either nod their head up and down or shake it side to side while listening to a taped program that included music and an editorial.
They then rated the headphone sound quality, and shared their opinion about the music and editorial. Head movement did affect whether they agreed with the editorial, but it’s not as straightforward as you might think. Nodding your head up and down tells yourself that you have confidence in your own thoughts, regardless of whether those thoughts are positive or negative. On the other hand, shaking your head no reduces your confidence in your own thoughts.
Need to gain confidence before speaking to a crowd? Nod your head up and down while you affirm, “I am prepared with the right information for my audience. I successfully answer any questions or concerns.”
Have something wonderful occur and catch yourself re-playing it in your mind? Nod up and down!
Being aware of such influences allows us to better understand our own thought processes. Smile and nod if you agree.