Psychologist Amy Cuddy conducted an experiment to determine how non-verbal power poses impact how they are received by others and respective changes to our own biochemistry. She utilized two types of nonverbal poses, high power poses and low power poses. Each participant was told to hold or high or low power poses for roughly 2 minutes and following this to measure risk aptitude, she asked the participants to gamble. She then took saliva swabs of each person to measure their levels of cortisol and testosterone following their given poses. She hypothesized that certain poses which make us feel smaller such as crossing our arms or hunching (low power poses), actually have an impact on our performance in any given situation. She also examined how non-verbals impact us directly at a biochemical level, specifically within hormones.
She found that 86 percent of people who maintained a high power pose would follow this by gambling as opposed to people who used a low power pose. This seemed to indicate that people felt an internal change or increase of confidence while holding a power pose.
Only 60 percent of participants using a low power pose ended up gambling after their 2 minutes was up. She found that in general powerful people tend to be more assertive, confident and optimistic. They tend to think more abstractly and are able to take more risks. She also found the nature of these poses and instilling this feeling over someone, subsequently gave them the confidence to gamble.
She also examined how people going into job interviews often sit hunched over in a low power pose for several minutes leading up to their interview. Subsequently, she recommended that people take this concept and ultimately apply it to their lives while taking time out of their day, even if for 2 minutes to sit and maintain a power pose. This will help maintain low cortisol levels and increase your confidence to take charge in given situations. Overall it is important to note how impactful your non-verbal body language is on yourself and how others receive information when you are talking to them.
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