In 2012, social psychologist Amy Cuddy delivered a TED talk in Edinburgh, Scotland. She discussed a 2010 study she co-authored that concluded “power poses,” basically standing like a superhero with your hands on your waist and your chest puffed out, actually produce feelings of power in the brain. The video of the talk has over 47 million views, making it one of TED’s most popular of all time. While some of Cuddy’s contemporaries doubt the effects of power posing, calling it pseudoscience, she stands by her research.
According to Cuddy, not only does body language communicate nonverbally to others, but it also has a strong influence on how we think of and feel about ourselves. She believes that our posture and gestures have an impact on our minds and by changing our body position, we can direct our mental state in a positive way. Cuddy’s study compared people sitting in high-power poses to those sitting in low-power poses and found that the high-power posers felt more powerful, had increased testosterone levels and had decreased cortisol levels.
While other social psychologists performed studies to refute Cuddy’s 2010 findings, she recently published a new paper that supports her theory about postural feedback and its emotional effects. Whether or not you’re fully convinced of the scientific evidence that a power pose will boost your feelings of power, it’s still worth a shot. Before your next interview, exam, presentation or meeting, find a private place to get your Wonder Woman or Superman on. Let us know if it works for you!