The concept of power pose originates from a Psychology study from 2010 which suggested that holding an expansive pose can change hormone levels and increase risk-taking behavior. Follow-up experiments suggested that expansive poses incidentally imposed by the design of an environment lead to more dishonest behaviors. While multiple replication attempts of the 2010 study failed, the follow-up experiments on incidental postures have so far not been replicated. As UI design in HCI can incidentally lead to expansive body postures, we attempted two conceptual replications: we first asked 44 participants to tap areas on a wall-sized display and measured their self-reported sense of power; we then asked 80 participants to play a game on a large touch-screen and measured risk-taking. Based on Bayesian analyses we find that incidental power poses had little to no effect on our measures but could cause physical discomfort. We conclude by discussing our findings in the context of theory-driven research in HCI.
The slides of the presentation can be watched here directly in a browser.
However, incidental body postures may only be leveraged in HCI if they can be reliably elicited. In 2015, a large-scale replication project (OSC 2015) re-opened the files on 100 published experiments and found that a considerable number of reported effects did not replicate, leading to the so-called "replication crisis" in Psychology. Neither the study by Carney et al. (Carney2010) nor the one by Yap et al. (Yap2013) was among the replicated studies, but multiple high powered and pre-registered studies have since then failed to establish a link between power poses and various behavioral measures (Ranehill 2015, Garrison 2016, Keller 2017, Ronay 2017, Bailey 2017, Bombari 2017, Jackson 2017, Latu 2017, Klaschinski 2017). While a Bayesian meta-analysis of six pre-registered studies (Gronau 2017) provides credible evidence for a small effect of power poses on self-reported felt power (Cohen d ≈ 0.2), the practical relevance of this small effect remains unclear (Jonas 2017).
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