Sunday, May 02, 2010

Embodyment: a two-minute powerful pose raises your testosterone levels

I pass on this fascinating item from a mindblog reader who has pointed out a number of other interesting articles to me. The article by Carnay, Cuddy, and Yap is titled "Power Posing: Brief Nonverbal Displays Affect Neuroendocrine Levels and Risk Tolerance."

Hey, I tried it, puffing up my chest and letting my shoulders rest back for two minutes left me feeling way more strong and assertive (now....where can I find a cheap saliva testosterone  home test kit...).

Here is the abstract:

Humans and other animals express power through open, expansive postures, and powerlessness through closed, constrictive postures. But can these postures actually cause power? As predicted, results revealed that posing in high-power (vs. low-power) nonverbal displays caused neuroendocrine and behavioral changes for both male and female participants: High-power posers experienced elevations in testosterone, decreases in cortisol, and increased feelings of power and tolerance for risk; low-power posers exhibited the opposite pattern. In short, posing in powerful displays caused advantaged and adaptive psychological, physiological, and behavioral changes — findings that suggest that embodiment extends beyond mere thinking and feeling, to physiology and subsequent behavioral choices. That a person can, via a simple two-minute pose, embody power and instantly become more powerful has real-world, actionable implications.
Click here for PDF of article to appear in Psychological Science

1 comment:

Shawn Fowler said...

This is very much the same idea behind yoga. You use physical postures as a backdoor to your psychological and physiological state. Except with yoga, the focus is primarily on maintaining a sense of calm by focusing on the breath while in the different poses. The impact of the deep, diaphragmatic breathing (aside from oxygenating the blood) is to stimulate the vagus nerve, which, in turn, stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system. It took me a couple of years of practicing yoga before I realized that I was essentially hacking my nervous system. It's pretty fascinating stuff.

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