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To Strike a Pose: No Stereotype Backlash for Power Posing Women

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

Power posing, the adoption of open and powerful postures, has effects that parallel those of actual social power. This study explored the social evaluation of adopting powerful vs. powerless body postures in men and women regarding perceived warmth, competence, and the likelihood of eliciting admiration, envy, pity, and contempt. Previous findings suggest that the display of power by women may have side effects due to gender stereotyping, namely reduced warmth ratings and negative emotional reactions. An experiment (N = 2,473) asked participants to rate pictures of men and women who adopted high-power or low-power body postures. High-power posers were rated higher on competence, admiration, envy, and contempt compared to low-power posers, whereas the opposite was true for pity. There was no impact of power posing on perceived warmth. Contrary to expectations, the poser’s gender did not moderate any of the effects. These findings suggest that non-verbal displays of power do influence fundamental dimensions of social perception and their accompanying emotional reactions but result in comparably positive and negative evaluations for both genders.

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Examples of the stimulus photographs in the four experimental conditions (top: high-power postures; bottom: low-power postures).
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Figure 1: Examples of the stimulus photographs in the four experimental conditions (top: high-power postures; bottom: low-power postures).

Mentions: To rule out that inherent differences in apparent dominance and power among the posers affect results, we conducted a pilot study (N = 36). The analyses revealed that the selected models did not differ with regard to their level of perceived power when adopting a neutral posture, F(5,175) = 1.24, p = 0.29. To validate the experimental manipulation of perceived power through body posture, we piloted a second study with an independent sample (N = 30). The manipulation was successful: high-power postures were perceived as more powerful than low-power postures, t(29) = 12.46, p < 0.001, d = 2.29. Samples of high- and low-power photographs appear in Figure 1; for the complete stimuli, see the Supplementary Material.


To Strike a Pose: No Stereotype Backlash for Power Posing Women
Examples of the stimulus photographs in the four experimental conditions (top: high-power postures; bottom: low-power postures).
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC5037219&req=5

Figure 1: Examples of the stimulus photographs in the four experimental conditions (top: high-power postures; bottom: low-power postures).
Mentions: To rule out that inherent differences in apparent dominance and power among the posers affect results, we conducted a pilot study (N = 36). The analyses revealed that the selected models did not differ with regard to their level of perceived power when adopting a neutral posture, F(5,175) = 1.24, p = 0.29. To validate the experimental manipulation of perceived power through body posture, we piloted a second study with an independent sample (N = 30). The manipulation was successful: high-power postures were perceived as more powerful than low-power postures, t(29) = 12.46, p < 0.001, d = 2.29. Samples of high- and low-power photographs appear in Figure 1; for the complete stimuli, see the Supplementary Material.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

Power posing, the adoption of open and powerful postures, has effects that parallel those of actual social power. This study explored the social evaluation of adopting powerful vs. powerless body postures in men and women regarding perceived warmth, competence, and the likelihood of eliciting admiration, envy, pity, and contempt. Previous findings suggest that the display of power by women may have side effects due to gender stereotyping, namely reduced warmth ratings and negative emotional reactions. An experiment (N = 2,473) asked participants to rate pictures of men and women who adopted high-power or low-power body postures. High-power posers were rated higher on competence, admiration, envy, and contempt compared to low-power posers, whereas the opposite was true for pity. There was no impact of power posing on perceived warmth. Contrary to expectations, the poser&rsquo;s gender did not moderate any of the effects. These findings suggest that non-verbal displays of power do influence fundamental dimensions of social perception and their accompanying emotional reactions but result in comparably positive and negative evaluations for both genders.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus