Dominant or upright postures can help people feel confident

If you stand like Superman or Wonder Woman, would you feel stronger?


Early research on body positions suggested that engaging in specific nonverbal displays can lead to changes in self-report, behavioral, and physiological variables. Still, there has been intense criticism regarding the replicability of these effects. 

Needless to mention, posture and body language can help people feel secure and experience positive feelings. However, many of these studies are inconclusive and were conducted with small samples. Moreover, studies sometimes have contradictory results.

Therefore, scientists from Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU), the University of Bamberg, and The Ohio State University conducted a meta-analytic review on body position studies. Their study confirmed previous studies- dominant or upright postures could help people feel – and maybe even behave – more confidently.

For this study, scientists combined the data of around 130 experiments from published and unpublished studies. They used complex statistical methods to re-assess the data on nearly 10,000 people. They determined whether posture influences a person’s self-perception, behavior, and hormone levels.

There was a connection between an upright posture and power posing and a more positive self-perception.

Personality researcher Professor Astrid Schütz from the University of Bamberg said“A dominant pose can, for example, make you feel more self-confident.”

A similar correlation was found between task persistence and antisocial behavior, but these effects were less robust. Besides, the study denies the affirmation that previous studies had offered- certain poses boost the production of physiological effects, for example, hormones, such as testosterone and cortisol.

Schütz said, “The findings on the physiological effects of power posing are not robust and have not been replicated by independent research groups.”

Journal Reference:

  1. Körner, R., Röseler, L., Schütz, A., & Bushman, B. J. Dominance and prestige: Meta-analytic review of experimentally induced body position effects on behavioral, self-report, and physiological variables. Psychological Bulletin (2022). DOI: 10.1037/bul0000356 


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