The Advantages of Confident Body Language

Topic(s): interviewing
Publication: Psychological Science (2010)
Article: Power Posing: Brief Nonverbal Displays Affect Neuroendocrine Levels and Risk Tolerance
Authors: D.R. Carney, A.J.C. Cuddy, A.J. Yap
Reviewed by: Scott Charles Sitrin

Before an interview, you review your CV and letter of intent and familiarize yourself with the company or school that you are applying to.  Do you also strike a pose?  If not, you could be negatively affecting how you come across to the interviewer.  According to research (Carney, Cuddy, & Yap, 2010) posing in a position of power may increase your levels of testosterone, decrease your levels of cortisol, and leave you feeling more powerful and tolerant of risk. In contrast, posing in a non-power pose may decrease your levels of testosterone, increase your levels of cortisol, and make you feel weak and nervous.

In their study, 42 male and female participants were randomly assigned to the high-power pose or low-power-pose condition.  A high power-pose involves taking up a lot of physical space and making the body and limbs open, whereas a low-power pose involves taking up little physical space (e.g., fetal position) with limbs closed and close to the body.  Saliva samples measured levels of testosterone and cortisol, a gambling task evaluated participants’ willingness to take risks, and self-reports assessed feelings of power.


Carney, D. R., Cuddy, A. J.C., & Yap, A. J. (2010). Power posing: Brief nonverbal displays affect neuroendocrine levels and risk tolerance. Psychological Science. Advanced online publication.