We can accurately predict in a first impression that someone is wealthy from their body language

We can accurately predict in a first impression that someone is wealthy from their body language. New research:
How we unknowingly reveal our socioeconomic status using nonverbal behaviors
Later, the authors coded the get-acquainted interaction for signs of engagement cues (e.g., head nods, eyebrow raises, laughter and gazes at the partner) and disengagement cues (e.g., self-grooming, fidgeting with objects and doodling). As predicted, higher SES significantly predicted disengagement cues. The students from wealthier backgrounds were more likely than their poorer cohorts to exhibit these “rude” displays of relative indifference. (Indeed, this SES effect occurred even after controlling for participants’ gender, since women are generally more engaged listeners than men.)

What’s more, the authors asked a group of other undergraduate students to watch the tape and to make their best guess about the SES of the people shown on the video. Based only on the participants’ nonverbal behaviors in these brief videotaped exchanges, the observers were able to make better-than-chance estimates of the participants’ family income and even their mother’s level of education, an indirect measure of SES (though they were not as accurate in judging paternal education). Kraus and Keltner conclude their report by stating that, “SES imbues the briefest interactions, influencing both what people signal nonverbally and how they are perceived.”

As for me, I think I may have inherited that same mildly disingenuous blue-collar smile as my father. Having said that, unlike my dad I’m also a pecuniary numbskull, and I have a hunch these types of engagement cues might flare up in my social behaviors every time I burn a new hole in my pocket.
In this new column presented by Scientific American Mind magazine, research psychologist Jesse Bering of Queen's University Belfast ponders some of the more obscure aspects of everyday human behavior. Ever wonder why yawning is contagious, why we point with our index fingers instead of our thumbs or whether being breastfed as an infant influences your sexual preferences as an adult? Get a closer look at the latest data as “Bering in Mind” tackles these and other quirky questions about human nature. Sign up for the RSS feed and or friend Dr. Bering on Facebook and never miss an installment again.
Patti Wood, MA, Certified Speaking Professional - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at http://PattiWood.net. Also check out the body language quiz on her YouTube Channel at http://youtube.com/user/bodylanguageexpert.