• Researchers looked at whether certain poses and postures can affect people
  • They found links between self-perception and behavior
  • However, poses do not impact hormones

Being in a dominant posture can help people feel and even behave more confidently, a new study has found.

Previous studies have suggested that certain postures and "non-verbal displays" can result in "changes in self-report, behavioral and physiological dependent variables," the authors of the new study, published in Psychological Bulletin, said.

For instance, some studies have observed that the "victory pose," wherein one's arms are outstretched, may increase self-confidence, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) noted in a news release. There have also been claims that posing in a certain way may have physiological effects such as boosting hormones.

"In therapy, they can help people feel secure and experience positive feelings," one of the study authors, Robert Körner of MLU and the University of Bamberg, said about posture and body language in the MLU press release.

However, these studies have also faced "intense criticism." Many of them were "inconclusive" or had small samples, while some simply had contradictory results, Körner noted.

For their work, the researchers aimed to find whether posture actually has an effect on self-perception, behavior and hormone levels, according to MLU. They analyzed the data collected from 130 experiments, spanning some 10,000 participants.

"To determine what effects are valid, we conducted a meta-analytic review on body position studies," the researchers wrote. "We used the dominance–prestige framework and distinguished between high-power poses representing dominance and upright postures representing prestige."

Indeed, the researchers found a connection between posture and power poses and a more positive self-perception.

"A dominant pose can, for example, make you feel more self-confident," one of the study authors, Astrid Schütz of the University of Bamberg, said in the news release.

They also found a similar relationship with behavior, though the impacts were "less robust," MLU said. However, the researchers didn't find support for the previous claims that posing in a certain way can have physiological impacts, such as boosting hormones.

Simply put, they found that certain postures may, indeed, affect self-perception and behavior, but the work also disproves the supposed impact on hormones.

That said, the researchers noted that the studies were mainly done in Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich and Democratic (WEIRD) countries, so it's not clear if the results are applicable to other cultures.

"Future research should investigate whether high-power poses/upright postures increase effects and/or whether low-power poses/slumped postures decrease effects," the researchers wrote.

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Representation. Pixabay-Gerd Altmann