Lying Down Makes You Open-Minded

January 25, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. open-minded /ˈoʊ pənˈmaɪn dɪd/ (adj.) – being open and understanding of the opinions of others
Example: A good parent is open-minded and supportive.

2. justify /ˈdʒʌs təˌfaɪ/ (v.) – to try to prove that something is right
Example: He tried to justify his mistake, but no one listened.

3. go hand in hand /goʊ hænd ɪn hænd/ (idiom) – (for two things or ideas) to be connected or related
Example: Being a liar goes hand in hand with being mistrustful.

4. supine /suˈpaɪn/ (adj.) – lying on one’s back and facing upwards
Example: He likes to read comics while supine on the roof of his house.

5. defense mechanism /dɪˈfɛns ˈmɛk əˌnɪz əm/ (n.) – an unconscious reaction of a person who tries to avoid undesirable feelings about a difficult situation
Example: Crying is her defense mechanism when being blamed or scolded.


Read the text below.
The key to be less defensive and more open-minded is to lie down, psychological researchers claim.

A recent study determined how posture influences one’s desire to favor an option and one’s need to justify that decision. According to researchers, the desire to favor one option to another goes hand in hand with justification. They found that if people lie down, their desire to favor one option from another reduces and, consequently, so does their need to justify why they made that decision.

Two experiments were conducted in the study. In the first experiment, the researchers found that both an upright posture and a supine posture lower the need to justify. However, the two postures have different impacts in the second experiment. In the second experiment, participants were required to choose between two decisions that they equally like.

After choosing, participants in the upright position focused more on the benefits of the decision they chose and the drawbacks of the decision they rejected. This tendency thus increased the need to justify and defend the chosen decision against the rejected decision. Those in the lying down position did not feel the need to justify their choice.

The researchers stated that the need to justify and defend one’s decision, even if the decision is wrong, is a defense mechanism. People who rely on this defense mechanism fail not only to admit their mistakes but also to learn from them. Contrary to the participants in upright position, those who were lying down depended less on this defense mechanism.

The researchers added that the study’s findings may be connected to why therapists ask their patients to lie down on a couch during sessions. 

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         How can this research be useful? Please provide examples.
·         Why do you think people justify their opinions? Please explain your answer.

Discussion B

·         Why do you think it is hard for people to admit their mistakes? Please explain your answer.
·         How would you help a person admit their mistake and learn from it? Please explain your answer.

January 25, 2015