Posture and Social Problem Solving, Self-Esteem, and Optimism

  •  Sarah K. Nielsen    


When feeling powerful humans and other animals display expansive postures, but can posing in expansive and powerful postures also generate empowerment? Researchers have studied the “power posing effect” the concept that powerful expansive postures generate empowerment, and found conflicting evidence. Some evidence of power posing’s impact shows increased hormones and a variety of behaviors indicating greater confidence. Yet still others have found no effect on hormones or behaviors, and suggest the impact of power posing is overstated. The goal of this project was to replicate and extend previous knowledge and contribute to the debate as to the efficacy of power posing, specifically examining the impact on participants’ self-reported social problem-solving efficacy, self-esteem, and optimism. 119 participants were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: high power pose, low power pose, or a control group with a puzzle solving task, and asked to complete self-report measures of optimism, self-esteem, and problem-solving self-efficacy. Current findings suggest expansive posture demonstrates no measurable impact on psychological attitudes, and contributes to recent literature contradicting the power posing effect. Research and practical implications are discussed.

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