According to new research from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, posture plays an important role in determining whether people act as though they are really in charge. The research finds that “posture expansiveness,” or positioning oneself in a way that opens up the body and takes up space, activates a sense of power that produces behavioral changes in a person independent of their actual rank or hierarchical role in an organization.
Although not anticipated by the researchers, they consistently found across three studies that posture mattered more than hierarchical role — it had a strong effect in making a person think and act in a more powerful way. In an interview situation, for example, an interviewee’s posture will not only convey confidence and leadership but the person will actually think and act more powerfully. “Going into the research we figured role would make a big difference, but shockingly the effect of posture dominated the effect of role in each and every study,” Huang noted.
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