Do ‘Power Poses’ Help Boost Self-Esteem?

power poses

Power Poses don’t work according to the co-author of the original study.

What are power poses?  Basically, it is just your hands on your hips.  Imagine you’re a superwoman (or Wonder Woman, maybe).  How might you stand?  Tall, with good posture, and your hands firmly on your waistline.  This is supposedly a power pose.

Six years ago, three authors came out with a study that suggested that ‘power poses’ help your self-esteem and confidence.  Their names would be Dana Carney, Amy Cuddy, and Andy Yap.  Not only would it boost your confidence, but the study claimed they would help with other things.  Among benefits were actually raising your testosterone levels, and overcoming risk aversion.  To do all that, all you have to do is put your hands on your hips?  That doesn’t sound like a problem at all.  Except for the fact that over half-a-decade later, one of the authors is denouncing their own study.

Dana Carney published a PDF on her website, effectively taking back what the three had published back in 2010.  The PDF stated: “…since early 2015 the evidence has been mounting suggesting there is unlikely any embodied effect of nonverbal expansiveness (vs. contractiveness)—i.e.., ‘power poses’ – – on internal or psychological outcomes.  As evidence has come in over these past 2+ years, my views have updated to reflect the evidence. As such, I do not believe that ‘power pose’ effects are real.  Quite the change of stance.

Carney continued in her report to describe that the original study had “flimsy” data.  Carney has a list of facts about the study, admitting that the sample size was tiny, and that the data wasn’t very trustworthy as a result.  Later on in her report, she even discourages the idea of studying power poses and their supposed effects.

Amy Cuddy, on the other hand, has talked about the power pose in a positive light as a means to help her career.  She even gave a TED talk on the subject back in 2012.  The idea of power poses has raised in popularity for the past six years since the original study was published.  The general public seems to really enjoy the concept, and Cuddy’s stance.  Carney didn’t claim that anything bad would happen if you kept along practicing power poses, but she’s convinced that it is a placebo effect.

What do you think?  Do power poses help you feel better?  Or is it just a silly idea?



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My name is Mariah, and I am a vast lover of people and arts. While my heart belongs to writing, I also love graphic design, taking video footage and editing videos. I have always wanted to be an author -- ever since I could hold a pencil. And now I'm working towards that. Photo of Myself Taken by