‘Power Posing’- It Doesn’t Actually Work

With 12 million views, it’s the second most watched TedTalk to date. The idea that ‘power posing’ can dramatically improve your life. Yet as new studies suggest, it doesn’t actually work.

In June 2012 Amy Cuddy from Harvard University spoke at TEDx about research that found holding a ‘power pose’, i.e. one that makes your body more physically expansive, such as standing with your legs spread and hands on hips, can make you more successful.

She suggested that stances like these, or ‘power posing’, could help boost confidence and increase chances of success in a job interview, meeting etc.


But the latest research studies from Michigan State University are challenging every aspect of this talk (11 studies to be exact). All concluding that holding power poses don’t make a difference to people’s chances of success.

Joseph Cesario an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University co-edited the research studies. He found that even when he replicated the previous 2010 power pose research, none of the studies showed positive effects of power posing, such as success in a job interview.

Cesario also conducted four new studies with graduate students to test if holding more physically expansive stances before a business negotiation made any difference to the outcome.

Published in the Journal of Social Psychological and Personality Science in the United States, the research once again found no evidence that your body stance mattered at all.

Although power posing might make you feel more powerful and confident, the more recent studies show the effects end there.

“Feeling powerful may feel good, but on its own, it does not translate into powerful or effective behaviours” Cesario said.

In the experiments conducted by Cesario, participants watched the TedTalk, held the suggested power poses and then completed a negotiation activity with a partner. Those who held the pose did no better than their partners.

The new research was even reviewed over by University of California professor, Dana Carney, who was one of the authors of the original power pose research.

“As evidence has come in over these past 2-plus years, new views have updated to reflect the evidence. I do not believe that power pose effects are real” Carney states on her website.

So, keep holding the expansive body stances before important meetings for a confidence boost, but let your own skills do the rest.

Jasmin Singh-brar


Jasmin is a final year Journalism student at UTS. As well as a lover of all things coffee, health, fitness and beauty, Jasmin is addicted to seeking out the best lookout spots in Sydney and finding the next best story.

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