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 … They come in, they spit into a vial, we for two minutes say, “You need to do this or this.” … We want them to be feeling power, right? So two minutes they do this. We then ask them, “How powerful do you feel?” on a series of items, and then we give them an opportunity to gamble, and then we take another saliva sample. That’s it. That’s the whole experiment.
So this is what we find. Risk tolerance, which is the gambling, what we find is that when you’re in the high-power pose condition, 86 percent of you will gamble. When you’re in the low-power pose condition, only 60 percent, and that’s a pretty whopping significant difference.
Here’s what we find on testosterone. From their baseline when they come in, high-power people experience about a 20-percent increase, and low-power people experience about a 10-percent decrease. So again, two minutes, and you get these changes.
Here’s what you get on cortisol. High-power people experience about a 25-percent decrease, and the low-power people experience about a 15-percent increase.
So two minutes lead to these hormonal changes that configure your brain to basically be either assertive, confident and comfortable, or really stress-reactive, and, you know, feeling sort of shut down.