Access the publisher's website Journal of Applied Psychology 100, 4 (2015) 1286-1295
The authors tested whether engaging in expansive (vs. contractive) “power poses” before a stressful job interview—preparatory power posing—would enhance performance during the interview. Participants adopted high-power (i.e., expansive, open) poses or low-power (i.e., contractive, closed) poses, and then prepared and delivered a speech to 2 evaluators as part of a mock job interview. All interview speeches were videotaped and coded for overall performance and hireability and for 2 potential mediators: verbal content (e.g., structure, content) and nonverbal presence (e.g., captivating, enthusiastic). As predicted, those who prepared for the job interview with high- (vs. low-) power poses performed better and were more likely to be chosen for hire; this relation was mediated by nonverbal presence, but not by verbal content. Although previous research has focused on how a nonverbal behavior that is enacted during interactions and observed by perceivers affects how those perceivers evaluate and respond to the actor, this experiment focused on how a nonverbal behavior that is enacted before the interaction and unobserved by perceivers affects the actor’s performance, which, in turn, affects how perceivers evaluate and respond to the actor. This experiment reveals a theoretically novel and practically informative result that demonstrates the causal relation between preparatory nonverbal behavior and subsequent performance and outcomes.