Scientific American Mind:
In 1942, the mild mannered Clark Kent excused himself from his friend Lois Lane to take an important call. Clark slipped into a phone booth (remember those?), and moments later Superman emerged. Have you ever wished that you had ability to step into a phone booth or bathroom for a minute to shed your insecurities in favor of superhuman confidence? This would certainly be a handy trick before a job interview, public speaking engagement, or even a first date. New research suggests that power poses just might do the trick.
Throughout the animal kingdom expansive non-verbal expressions are used to communicate dominance and power to others. If you can imagine a silver back gorilla—or a corporate executive—pounding his (or her) chest, you get the idea. A recent series of papers by Dana Carney, Amy Cuddy and Andy Yap argue that these poses are not only an expression of power, but may also induce feelings of power.
If you are already lacking self-confidence, you might reason that the ends justify the means. Acting like a heartless jerk for a few minutes may be a small cost to pay for your dream job or a promotion, right? Although it is tempting to conclude that power posing might be a way to trick our nervous system into feeling powerful, research by Pablo Briñol, Richard Petty and Ben Wagner has shown that that this strategy might actually backfire among the people who need power the most.
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