Can power poses boost your confidence? The idea behind such poses is simple: you can hack your brain and make it think and feel you are powerful by adopting a physical position of power. The “normal” cycle is that you first feel powerful and that influences your body language, ending up in a power pose. The brain does not know which of the two conditions was met first, and it tries to adapt by fulfilling the other one.
Body posture influences your mindset the same way as laughter does. They are both a very simple yet powerful tool you can use on a daily basis.
Power Poses Research
Back in 2012, Amy Cuddy’s TED talk on the benefits of power posing went viral, generating more than 45 million views. It created quite a hype, and everybody was talking about power poses and how to use them before an interview or an important meeting. Not long after she was attacked by other social psychologists calling her research on power posing as pseudoscience.
A 2014 study 1)Assessing the Robustness of Power Posing: No Effect on Hormones and Risk Tolerance in a Large Sample of Men and Women; Eva Ranehill, Anna Dreber, Magnus Johannesson, Susanne Leiberg, Sunhae Sul, Roberto A. Weber
Roberto A. W contested the results. The main reason for this was based on the p-curve statistical method. It basically says that if the majority of the studies on a subject barely meet the test criteria, it means the conclusions are not legit. They analyzed Cuddy’s research and other research papers on this subject and concluded they did not pass the p-curve test.
Amy Cuddy published another study in Psychological Science, as a reply to Simmons and Simonsohn 2)P-Curving a More Comprehensive Body of Research on Postural Feedback Reveals Clear Evidential Value for Power-Posing Effects: Reply to Simmons and Simonsohn (2017); Amy J. C. Cuddy, S. Jack Schultz, Nathan E. Fosse. She provided ample evidence concluding that adopting an expansive posture makes you feel more powerful.
Can Power Poses Influence Your Hormone Levels?
The initial study had two claims: power poses can make you feel more powerful and they increase the testosterone levels while decreasing the cortisol ones.
If true, decreasing your cortisol levels and boosting your testosterone would have a huge impact. Unfortunately, it turns out there were not sufficient replication tests to back up the hormonal impact of the power poses. I’m sure there will be more research on this matter and we will have new information in the future. For now, though, it is better to ignore these claims.
How to Practice Power Poses
Perhaps the most representative power pose is the comic hero Wonder Woman standing with her arms on her hips.
Depending on the situation, there are different positions you can use.
For example, during a negotiation, when you are close to closing a deal, if you are standing and have a desk near, you can put your hands on the desk and lean forward. leaning forward shows you are engaged in the conversation and that you are in a dominant position.
Another example is a posed you can use before an interview or a meeting. All you need to do is widen your feet a bit, and raise your hands in a V-shape. You can do this while in the elevator (if you are alone), in the restroom or anywhere you will not be seen. Maintain this pose for at least two minutes, and after that head to the meeting.
The bottom line is to open your body and occupy more space. Beware not to overdo this, as you will get into the manspreading zone.
Avoid Weak Poses
In contrast to power poses we have the so-called weak poses. These poses make you feel powerless and weak. Avoid poses where you have slumped shoulders and the head tucked in.
We live in a digital age, and we spend a significant amount of time using our mobile devices. The normal position you have when browsing your phone is a weak pose. You have a collapsed chest, your head is leaned forward and you are slumped over. Simply put you are hunched.
We all spend a lot of time looking at our phones and that time will most likely increase with time. The solution is to keep your spine long and hinge from the hips. This is one of the first things you learn when you start doing yoga.
Even though there is not enough evidence that posture directly influences your hormones, this does not mean it can’t. If they “only” influence your mind and mood, power poses are still a great tool you can use as often as possible to boost your confidence.
|↑1||Assessing the Robustness of Power Posing: No Effect on Hormones and Risk Tolerance in a Large Sample of Men and Women; Eva Ranehill, Anna Dreber, Magnus Johannesson, Susanne Leiberg, Sunhae Sul, Roberto A. Weber|
Roberto A. W
|↑2||P-Curving a More Comprehensive Body of Research on Postural Feedback Reveals Clear Evidential Value for Power-Posing Effects: Reply to Simmons and Simonsohn (2017); Amy J. C. Cuddy, S. Jack Schultz, Nathan E. Fosse|