Far more than a patriotic act, the move could actually make you more likely to tell the truth, researchers say.
“Morality is a prominent guide of both action and perception. We argue that non-emotional gestures can prime the abstract concept of honesty,” said lead authors Michal Parzuchowski and Bogdan Wojciszke of University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Sopot in Poland.
To prove their point, the researchers carried out several experiments.
They found that people performing the hand-over-heart gesture provided more honest assessments of others’ attractiveness and refrained from cheating, as compared to persons performing neutral gestures.
The gesture also increased the honesty shown in one’s own behaviour.
In one of the experiments, the researchers gave participants an opportunity to lie about someone’s appearance.
They found people who put their hands over their hearts remained more honest even if it meant being impolite.
According to the researchers, raising one’s right hand while taking an oath would have a similar effect.
The findings were published in the Journal of Nonverbal Behavior.