Body Language and Signalling Power

If we are prompted to recall a time in which we had power, we temporarily behave in the exact same way as those who have been given actual power (or ‘resource control’) and believe we currently have power, too. Interestingly, this method doesn’t signal power to others: observers are able to differentiate, despite the fact that we behave in an identical manner.

The solution: subtle body language changes have been shown to make people believe they currently have power while also effectively signalling power to others.

[Researchers have] found that open, expansive postures (widespread limbs and enlargement of occupied space by spreading out one’s body), compared with closed, constricted postures (limbs touching the torso and minimization of occupied space by collapsing the body inward), increased feelings of power and an appetite for risk. […]

More impressively, expansive postures also altered the participants’ hormone levels. […] Expansive postures led individuals to experience elevated testosterone (T) and decreased cortisol (C). This neuroendocrine profile of High T and Low C has been consistently linked to such outcomes as disease resistance and leadership abilities.

via @mocost