Formerly believed relation between expansive body postures and power actually depends on the person's posture and his or her cultural beliefs, discovers a combination of four studies.
The four studies, which were conducted by researchers at three different universities on 600 plus men and women from USA or East Asia, was led by University at Buffalo's psychologist Lora E. Park, www.buffalo.edu reported.
The study was undertaken to determine the psychological experience of viewing and enacting expansive as compared to constricted body postures, like sitting with hands under thighs or standing with arms wrapped around one's body.
Park said that the findings suggest that expansive postures have both universal and culturally specific effects on people's thoughts, feelings and behavior.
Park asserted that some postures, such as the expansive-hands-spread-on-desk and expansive-upright-sitting poses, make people across cultures feel more powerful.
On the contrary, expansive postures that violate cultural norms, such as putting one's feet on the desk, do not make all individuals feel powerful, she said.
While summarizing the four studies, Park said that it is the symbolic meaning of a posture, rather than the posture itself, that influences the psychological experiences of individuals from different cultures.
The study is published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.