Would Kneeling or Bowing Before Someone Make That Person More Likely to Do a Favor for You?

That’s an interesting question because it involves relative heights between two people, which we did not test. Relative heights may be an important factor in interpersonal relationships.

Of course, kneeling or bowing before someone is also commonly used to indicate respect or submission, among other things, so that could have additional influences on behaving prosocially—for instance, you may like other people better when you are being treated respectfully or you may feel obliged to do something nice when others are displaying reverence or appreciation by kneeling or bowing.

Lawrence Sanna is a professor of psychology and the director of the Better Decision Making Laboratory at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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