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  • Irina Ketkin - Learning and Development Specialist

Power Posing - science or hoax?

Last week I attended a wonderful training aimed at people who 'start fires', who inspire change and are champions of transformation. One of the modules and key take aways was around how we appear to others. And, inevitably, the question of body language was raised.

If you're anything like me, meaning someone who doesn't take things at face value and a believer in the body language movement, you would have extensive research. Which at one point or another brought you to Amy Cuddy's Power Posing TED talk (one of the most popular talks of all time!). If you haven't seen it before or you'd like to refresh your memory, here's a chance to watch it:

Inspired? I bet! Amazed? Oh, I'm sure of it!

And just like in the training, I am going to deflate your mood just a little bit.

Normally, every scientific study needs to be peer reviewed and replicated at least once to be considered valid. Unfortunately for all of us, Amy Cuddy's study did not withstand this test. More specifically:

[The] results [of the replication study] showed a significant effect of power posing on self-reported feelings of power. However, no significant effect of power posing on hormonal levels or in any of the three behavioral tasks [was found].

I know what you're thinking - "what a waste of 20+ minutes of me watching the video and it was all a hoax?!" But you'd be wrong! Beside being a person who double-checks her facts, I am also a subscriber to the "fake it till you make it" theory.

Think about it this way - true, her study wasn't successfully replicated, but her talk made you more aware of your body, and in turn, of the possible perception others have of you. Is being aware a bad thing? Of course not (and if you think it is, this is clearly the wrong place for you to be)! In everything we start, the first step is perception.

So what if our hormone levels are affected? We can make ourselves feel more confident when needed. And let's face it, that's a neat trick to have in your toolbox!

Do you use any power poses? What effects have you observed when using them?

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