Ron Friedman, assistant professor of psychology at Hobart and William Smith, recently took on Pat Riley as a research subject – or at least his most common sideline posture. Riley’s frequent cross-armed pose on the sidelines led Friedman to consider whether crossing one’s arms impacts subconscious thinking. In a number of publications in the U.S. and Canada, Friedman’s conclusions, as printed in the European Journal of Social Psychology, were reported. The full text of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel article appears below. The study was also written about in the following publications, among others: Calgary Herald, Edmonton Journal, Times Colonist, Leader-Post,Winnipeg Free Press, Montreal Gazette and Saskatoon Star Phoenix News. Friedman’s main area of interest in research is studying the role of conscious and nonconscious processes in motivation related to persistence and performance. He received his B.A. in political science from City University of New York, an M.A. and a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Rochester. His dissertation was completed in Social-Personality Psychology.
South Florida Sun-Sentinel Postgame IRA WINDERMAN, May 6, 2008 What’s a thinking man’s posture? Arms folded, like Pat Riley on the sideline, of course. Pat Riley hasn’t formally made it to the Basketball Hall of Fame, with his induction scheduled in September, but he has made it into the European Journal of Social Psychology. Sort of. Struck by Riley’s familiar pose of arms folded while on the sidelines during a successful coaching career that ended last week, Ron Friedman, a professor at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, N.Y., led a study to see how “arm crossing” impacts subconscious thinking. “We were interested in determining if body movement doesn’t just convey our thoughts and feelings to others, but that they also inform us, ourselves, about our own psychological states,” Friedman said in an article published by Canwest News Service. In the study, University of Rochester undergraduates randomly assigned to sit with their arms crossed spent more time on an impossible-to-solve anagram and came up with more correct solutions to solvable anagrams than those told to sit with their hands on their thighs. The study says the posture offers an indication of “I am going to persevere.” Riley’s sideline perseverance ended with this past week’s Heat coaching handoff to Erik Spoelstra.