Powerful postures versus powerful roles: which is the proximate correlate of thought and behavior?

Powerful postures versus powerful roles: which is the proximate correlate of thought and behavior?

By
Li Huang, Adam D. Galinsky, Deborah H. Gruenfeld, Lucia E. Guillory
Psychological Science. January
2011, Vol. 22 , Issue 1, Pages 95-102

Three experiments explored whether hierarchical role and body posture have independent or interactive effects on the main outcomes associated with power: action in behavior and abstraction in thought. Although past research has found that being in a powerful role and adopting an expansive body posture can each enhance a sense of power, two experiments showed that when individuals were placed in high- or low-power roles while adopting an expansive or constricted posture, only posture affected the implicit activation of power, the taking of action, and abstraction. However, even though role had a smaller effect on the downstream consequences of power, it had a stronger effect than posture on self-reported sense of power. A final experiment found that posture also had a larger effect on action than recalling an experience of high or low power. We discuss body postures as one of the most proximate correlates of the manifestations of power.