Social psychologist Amy Cuddy gave a TED talk in which she claims that adopting certain postures:

can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain.

Business Insider Australia summarised it this way:

Her research showed that standing or sitting a certain way, even for two minutes, raises testosterone levels and lowers the stress hormone cortisol.

These immediate changes in your body chemistry can affect the way you do your job and interact with other people. They might even have an impact on your chances of success.

Is this true?

  • 1
    There is some information here vox.com/2016/12/26/14005484/bad-science-health-myths-dead under point #7 "Power posing’ will make you act powerful" it sounds like one study found this to be true but the results were never able to be replicated. I'd try to answer this myself, but I'm not very skilled at skepticism.
    – Celeritas
    Commented Dec 29, 2016 at 17:14
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    I find this sentence in the "myth-busting" study very suspect: " On the basis of the results of these first 100 observations, we decided to collect data from another 100 participants to further increase the reliability of our results. " WTF? They didn't like the results of the first 100 observations? I wonder if they'd be willing to disclose them, or whether they're in the supplementary data set. Commented Feb 7, 2017 at 3:26

1 Answer 1



There's been further research since this question was posed in 2015.

A randomized controlled study of power posing before public speaking exposure for social anxiety disorder: No evidence for augmentative effects. (J Anxiety Disord. 2017 Dec) concludes, as one might gather from the title:

this study provides no evidence to suggest that power posing impacts hormone levels or exposure therapy outcomes.

Winners, losers, and posers: The effect of power poses on testosterone and risk-taking following competition. (Horm Behav. 2017 Jun) similarly concludes:

Still, effects were small, multiple comparisons were made, and the results ran counter to our predictions. We thus treat these conclusions as preliminary.

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