Power Posing

Research Report, published in Association for Psychological Science, 2010

By Dana R. Carney, Amy J.C. Cuddy, and Andy J. Yap

Abstract

Humans and other animals express power through open, expansive postures, and they express powerlessness through closed, contractive postures. But can these postures actually cause power? The results of this study confirmed our prediction that posing in high-power nonverbal displays (as opposed to low-power nonverbal displays) would cause neuroendocrine and behavioral changes for both male and female participants: High power posers experienced elevations in testosterone, decrease in cortisol, and increased feelings of power and tolerance for risk; low-power posers exhibited the opposite pattern. In short, posing in displays of power caused advantaged and adaptive psychological, physiological, and behavioral changes, and these findings suggest that embodiment extends beyond mere thinking and feeling, to physiology and subsequent behavioral choices. That person can, by assuming two simple 1-min poses, embody power and instantly become more powerful has real-world, actionable implications.

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