Highlights - October 2017

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In 2010, Dana Carney and Amy Cuddy from Harvard University, concluded that holding so-called “power poses” can make you more likely to succeed in life, especially if you are “chronically powerless because of lack of resources, low hierarchical rank or membership in a low-power social group.”

Cuddy’s June 2012 TED talk on the subject of “power poses,” has received more than 42 million views.  In it, she argued that “power posing”—or standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident—will boost feelings of confidence and will have an impact on one’s chances for success, such as in a job interview.

When you’re alone before the interview, Cuddy recommends, hold a power pose for two minutes, whether that’s standing with hands on hips, leaning over a table with your fingertips on the surface, or perhaps seated with your feet on the table and your arms folded behind your head.

She encouraged watchers to, “Share [this science] with people, because the people who can use it the most are the ones with no resources and no technology and no status and no power.  Give it to them because they can do it in private. They just need their bodies, privacy and two minutes, and it can significantly change the outcomes of their life.”

However, new research from Michigan State University seems to contradict Cuddy’s claim.  The MSU research finds that holding power poses makes people feel more powerful, but that’s where the effect ends.

Feeling powerful may feel good, but on its own does not translate into powerful or effective behaviors.  These new studies show—unequivocally—that power poses have no effects on any behavioral or cognitive measure.

For example, in several of the experiments, participants watched Cuddy’s TED talk, held a power pose and then completed a negotiation task with another participant. The participants who held the power poses did no better than their partners.

Furthermore, all seven power pose studies that appear in a special issue of Comprehensive Results in Social Psychology, fail to replicate the power pose effects.  As the MSU researchers put it, “Based on the papers in the special issue, and prior replication attempts, one...

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