Thoughts Change Bodies, Bodies Change Minds, Roles Shape Hormones: “Faking Until It’s Real”

Amy Cuddy, Harvard Business School social psychologist, like Deborah Gruenfeld at Stanford Graduate School of Business, studies the impact of non-verbal behavior on perceptions of power.

Deborah Gruenfeld

Deborah Gruenfeld

She, like Gruenfeld, found that people who “occupy space” are viewed as more dominant and powerful by others.

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Cuddy takes the research further by demonstrating that non-verbal behavior like erect, “space-occupying” postures and selective smiling affect the way the person executing these behavior feels about his or her personal power, competence, and mood.

She also demonstrated that “power postures” affect secretion of hormones associated with dominance (testosterone) and stress (cortisol).

Cuddy noted that effective leaders, as well as those recently promoted into positions of authority and leadership show a hormone profile of high testosterone and low cortisol, indicating high dominance and low stress.

Individuals in low power role, not surprisingly, tend to have low testosterone and high cortisol, and this is more common among women.

She suggested that small changes in behaviors like posture can make a large difference in how people view themselves, how others see them, and their opportunities and outcomes.

Cuddy recommends that before a job interview or stressful interaction, assume a “big power posture” in private for several minutes.

-*What is your reaction to people who assume a “big power posture” at work?
-*How do you feel when you occupy more space in professional settings?

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5 thoughts on “Thoughts Change Bodies, Bodies Change Minds, Roles Shape Hormones: “Faking Until It’s Real”

  1. Pingback: Power of “Powerless” Speech, but not Powerless Posture | Kathryn Welds | Curated Research and Commentary

  2. Pingback: Executive Presence: “Gravitas”, Communication…and Appearance? | Kathryn Welds | Curated Research and Commentary

  3. Pingback: Women’s Likeability – Competence Dilemma: Overcoming the Backlash Effect | Kathryn Welds | Curated Research and Commentary

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  5. Pingback: Expansive Body Language Decreases Power for Some | Kathryn Welds | Curated Research and Commentary

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