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We decided to bring people into the lab and run a little experiment, and these people adopted, for two minutes, either high-power poses or low-power poses, and I'm just going to show you five of the poses, although they took on only two. As a follow-up to our November 2017 #NCTEchat, Using Mentor Texts, we asked our social media community to share some of their favorite mentor texts with us. tells the class they get to write an opinion, Stella gets excited. by Karen Kaufman Orloff, illustrated by David Catrow Writing letters to his mom convinced her to let him get his pet iguana, so Alex puts pencil to paper again, this time determined to get his own room.
Is it possible that we could get people to fake it and would it lead them to participate more?
So my main collaborator Dana Carney, who's at Berkeley, and I really wanted to know, can you fake it till you make it?
So you have people who are like caricatures of alphas, really coming into the room, they get right into the middle of the room before class even starts, like they really want to occupy space. Women feel chronically less powerful than men, so this is not surprising.
When they sit down, they're sort of spread out. You have other people who are virtually collapsing when they come in. You see it on their faces and their bodies, and they sit in their chair and they make themselves tiny, and they go like this when they raise their hand. But the other thing I noticed is that it also seemed to be related to the extent to which the students were participating, and how well they were participating.
And this is really important in the MBA classroom, because participation counts for half the grade.
So business schools have been struggling with this gender grade gap.You get these equally qualified women and men coming in and then you get these differences in grades, and it seems to be partly attributable to participation.So I started to wonder, you know, okay, so you have these people coming in like this, and they're participating.So what happens, okay, you take a role change, what happens if you do that at a really minimal level, like this tiny manipulation, this tiny intervention? We don't want to prime them with a concept of power. We decided that the one that most people could relate to because most people had been through, was the job interview. "For two minutes," you say, "I want you to stand like this, and it's going to make you feel more powerful." So this is what we did. This one has been dubbed the "Wonder Woman" by the media. You know, so we were of course horrified, and said, Oh my God, no, that's not what we meant at all. Again, this is not about you talking to other people. They also tend to be able to think more abstractly. Physiologically, there also are differences on two key hormones: testosterone, which is the dominance hormone, and cortisol, which is the stress hormone. You're going to stay, and this is what you're going to do. You're going to do every talk that you ever get asked to do.So what we find is that high-power alpha males in primate hierarchies have high testosterone and low cortisol, and powerful and effective leaders also have high testosterone and low cortisol. When you think about power, people tended to think only about testosterone, because that was about dominance. They're being judged also, and the judges are trained to give no nonverbal feedback, so they look like this. So for five minutes, nothing, and this is worse than being heckled. It's what Marianne La France calls "standing in social quicksand." So this really spikes your cortisol. You're just going to do it and do it and do it, even if you're terrified and just paralyzed and having an out-of-body experience, until you have this moment where you say, ' Oh my gosh, I'm doing it. I am actually doing this.'" So that's what I did.You know, we're interested in, like, you know — (Laughter) — an awkward interaction, or a smile, or a contemptuous glance, or maybe a very awkward wink, or maybe even something like a handshake.Amy Cuddy: So a handshake, or the lack of a handshake, can have us talking for weeks and weeks and weeks. So obviously when we think about nonverbal behavior, or body language — but we call it nonverbals as social scientists — it's language, so we think about communication. And there's a lot of reason to believe that this is a valid way to look at this.So I want to start by offering you a free no-tech life hack, and all it requires of you is this: that you change your posture for two minutes.But before I give it away, I want to ask you to right now do a little audit of your body and what you're doing with your body. So I want you to pay attention to what you're doing right now.