The Power Pose Is Just Posturing, It Doesn't Actually Work


Dami Olonisakin

Editorial Assistant

Rob Bayer/Shutterstock

If you’re looking for a new way to feel confident, the power pose might not be the way to go. According to scientists, implementing this body position by sitting or standing will not make you feel powerful. Let's face it, it's just going to make you look like a posturing idiot. 

The study titled, “"Power vs. Persuasion: Can open body postures embody openness to persuasion?" and published in Comprehensive Results in Social Psychology, was carried out by Dr Sean Duffy from Rutgers University and Ioana Latu of Queens University, Belfast. 


"We found evidence showing that this claim is questionable both in terms of the subjective feelings of power or the ability to be persuaded," Dr Duffy said in a statement. “The study also adds to the understanding of the role that the body plays in cognition and what we know about how embodied cognition might be.”

In 2012, a Ted Talk video by Amy Cuddy, a Harvard Business School social physiologist went viral, gaining over 12 million views. Her topic? Body language and how it affects the way others see us. Within the 21-minute long video, Cuddy talks about the term “power posing”, described as standing in a position of confidence. 

Cuddy explained that placing your hand on your hips, with your legs slightly spread apart as if you were Wonder Woman, could “significantly change the way your life unfolds.”

Clinical phycologist Kirstin Bouse, co-signed her theory, last month saying, “the pose can have a huge impact on how we feel, increasing our confidence and our happiness, as well as improving how we are perceived by others.”


However, in this study 200 volunteers were asked to read out a message about junk food taxation, in a strong or persuasive message. Later on, the researchers then studied their attitudes on junk foods, their feelings towards power, confidence, and openness.

The study proved that no matter how far their feet were spread apart or how tightly they gripped their own hips, it did not have an affect on how persuasive their argument was, or make the speaker feel more powerful.

"Results failed to replicate the previously found effect of body posture on subjective feelings of power," the study concluded. "Compared to weak messages, strong messages led to more persuasion, higher subjective power, more thought confidence, and more openness. However, body posture did not affect these outcomes." 


  • tag
  • body language,

  • confidence,

  • power pose,

  • alternative facts,

  • Dr Sean Duffy,

  • Amy Cuddy,

  • TED Talk,

  • Persuation