Video: Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges
>> This, I was just, I was just told by our speaker, that this is the universal sign for victory. [LAUGH] And that's what I feel after getting this thing to project. It's like, victory. Welcome, everyone. Thanks for your patience. I'm Ron Mangan, I'm the Dean of Social Sciences here. And especially with this talk, I wanna say, I'm also a Professor of Psychology. It's my honor to introduce Professor Amy Cuddy, who will deliver our key note address. Titled Presence, Bringing Your Boldest You're Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges. Did I get the title right? Okay. Professor Cuddy is a very well-known social psychologist and is currently a professor at Harvard Business School.
Her study of posture and presence shows that simply standing in a dominant or powerful pose can make us really feel that way. This is why I'm often seen on the quad like this. [LAUGH] One more. [LAUGH] It's usually when I'm on my way to meet with the chancellor. [LAUGH] Her 2012 TED Talk on these subjects is one of the most viewed Ted Talks of all time and her book on the subject, Presence. Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges will be published by Little Brown and Company this fall. Is that alright? In 2008, she won the Alexander Early Career Award from the Society for Psychological Study of Social Issues. She received a Rising Star Award from the Association for Psychological Science in 2006, 2011. And her joint research with Dana Carney and Andy App was named one of the top ten psychology studies of 2010 by psychology today. Her research has been covered on CNN, MSNBC, by the New York Times, Time Magazine, the Wall Street Journal and many, many other outlets. Time Magazine named Amy as one of 2012's game changers.
And a year later, Business Insider named her one of 50 women who are changing the world. Another one is Linda Katehi, but that's our chancellor. So we always plug her first. We're delighted that she agreed to visit UC Davis and to share her research and her knowledge with us. Please help me in welcoming to UC Davis, Amy Cuddy. [APPLAUSE] >> Thank you. Thanks for waiting. Sorry about that. I, I wanted to power post it into submission, but it didn't seem to work. So all right. So, I, I'm gonna do something a little bit different today. This is sort of in between my very broad audience talk and a proper academic talk. So, I wanna, I wanna talk about kind of the combination of some of the findings that we have and some of the findings that others have, have generated in their labs.
But also, the interaction between kind of the public space and the academic world. So what happens when your research gets out there? You know, how do you interact with people? Do you do you, you know, do you hide away? [LAUGH] Do you, do you jump over the fence? I mean, there's so many different ways to go and I wanna talk about some of the opportunities. And also some of the challenges that come up when your, when your research gets a lot of exposure as mine did. And I don't normally have a picture of myself giving the TED Talk but one of the things that happened as a result of this is that I, what I said to people at the end of this talk, share the science. And I have to say, when you give one of these talks, you first of all, you don't know if it will be posted. And you also don't think 25 million people will watch it, even if it is posted. And so I probably would not have said that if I knew so many people would watch it, because there's a fraction of that number that writes to me.
And so when I said, share the science, people also took that as an invitation to write and tell me how they shared the science. So, I know how the whole different email box, inbox for, for these emails. But I've heard from about 15,000 people in these last couple of years. And, and actually the stories are beautiful and they're from over 110 countries, men and women young people, old people. People with a lot of power, people with no power using this in ways that I never could have imagined when I, when I gave that talk. And I just wanna give you one example, because it sort of sets the stage for what I think this work ultimately is about. And let me just say, I think, you know, having grown up in the lab of Susan Fisk and trained as a classic stereotyping researcher, involved in research that had been going on for decades. You know, jumping into a new area is a little bit scary.
You know, you're putting out something new and hoping that evo, it evolves and develops into a bigger body of research. But, you know, there's, there's, there's a smaller foundation for you to stand on. And so that means there are a lot of questions, which is great. And al, also a lot of questions, which is bad. But, but here's a typical kind of interaction that happens. So this is at my favorite coffee shop in Boston. A coffee shop, bookstore, The Trident and I work there pretty often, writing. Sit at the counter and and one, one night, I was drinking my coffee and, and the server came up to me her name is Fatame and she said I just wanted to tell you that I loved your TED Talk and it really meant a lot to me and it changed my life. She said, I I, I'm from Texas. I'm, I'm from I, you know, I grew up part of my life in Iran. I'm, I never felt comfortable there. She told me, you know, a story about not feeling like an insider.
She graduated from the University of Texas, moved to Boston, became a waitress and then decided that she wanted to go to medical school after seeing this talk. She decided that she, she could do that, that she deserved to do that. And she said I power-posed before I took the MCAT and I totally nailed it. Now here's what, so she said, thanks. And that's sort of how it goes. It's a stranger who approaches me and they usually say something like, I felt like you were telling my story or I felt like you were talking to me. And the power of that is enorm, first of all, I'm a crier and I just start crying instantly when I hear that. But it reminds me there's this Dave Grohl quote, that goes something like, the great, great thing about singing a song to 85,000 people is that they'll sing it back to you 85,000 different ways and that's what I feel like I get. You know, I sang my song and I get all of these different versions. But here, I think is the essence of it.
Everyone feels like an outsider. If people say they've never felt like an impostor, they're lying. Or they should just leave now, cuz they're done, you know, they're cooked. Everyone feels like an imposter. And, and, and, and they all have reasons for feeling like an imposter. So they have a story about how why they don't fit in and they're different from everyone else. And they all have these challenged that they actually have the skills to rise to. I mean, they, they, they've got the skills necessary to engage with these challenges, but something holds them back from doing it and it's this feeling of powerlessness. The thing about Fitame's story is that And what I love about it, is that it's not like power posing gave her some knowledge of stem cells, or whatever it is that you need to do to do well on the MCAT. I mean, she had that. Right? It just unblocked something. It allowed her to be who she was.
It allowed her to be the best version of who she was. And that, that's what I thought was so beautiful about it. So people sometimes say to me, because I said in the talk, you know? Don't fake it till you make it, fake it till you become it, they think oh it's, she's teaching people to fake it. Well you can't fake your way into a good MCAT score, right, it's there. You can fake yourself out of a good MCAT score, you can't really fake yourself into one, right. So, so, it really was who she was, that's who she was presenting. Now, i'm not gonna go through these, this is just to give you a sense of the range of, of emails that I get. And from the different kinds of people. So, i'm just going to read a, a couple of them. So. Power imposing for firefighters. Now I wonder, I get so many emails from firefighters, I wasn't sure why.
And it's because is anyone a firefighter? There's a, there's a big sort of theme of fake it til you make it in firefighting. And, and, this is said over and over again, but with not a lot of information about how to do that. So, firefighters are approaching these incredibly huge challenges. And, if they have a strong stress response, they need to figure out, how do they sort of, how do they reframe that and overcome that to go into it. I got the job, thanks. Lots of those. How power posing is helping veterans to overcome PTSD. That's one of the most common themes I see. Application of power posing in the service industry, adults with disabilities kids who are bullied. This old man had lost his pride, power posing helped me get it back. That was one of the first ones that I got. That was from a World War II veteran. Power posing helps my fifth grade students take tests. You helped a shy student, in all of these countries.
I did get this one, thanks for helping me land a $2 million contract in South Africa. Not sure about that, but and I'm gonna end with this at the, at the end of the talk with one that, that. That had this subject line, Becoming Badass, How I'm using power posing in my horse training. And there's even a UC-Davis link, which is pretty, pretty interesting. But you get this wide range. Now when I look at this, I go. There's no way that power posing is working in the way that we're looking at it in the lab for all of these people. I'm sure there's other stuff going on. Are there placebo effects? I'm sure there are. But it certainly opens up this huge bucket of questions about what is working, what are the boundary conditions, when is it a placebo? And is a placebo you know, is a placebo effect an effect? Cuz I would say it still is.
But when did something become a placebo effect? When does the popularity of it in the public eye turn it into a placebo. As opposed to the, the, you know, initial thing that you were looking at. So, I want to start by, sort of, telling my own little story about, a big challenge. And I'll call this section the spirit of the stairs. And you'll see why in a minute. Okay. So in the fall of 2004. And all of the Social Psychologists will know what I'm talking about in here. They won't know this story but they will have had some similar story. So in Social Psychology, if you have a good advisor, who likes you, and is kind and generous. She will take you to this conference in the fifth year of your Doctoral program. And it's like your, it's like you are, it's where you are, are debuted, right? It's like a, it's like a coming out party for all the rising fifth year students. And it's very stressful.
You kind of prepare for this for your whole time in grad school. It's where all these, your idols, and your sort of academic, academic idols will be. And you're kind of ready. I mean, the idea is that you go, you know, dressed in your academic attire, whatever that is. And they come dressed in their stuff that they wear every day. And you're, you know, for you it's this opportunity to meet people who might be hiring. For them they can kind of check out the new talent. But really they're there to see their friends, which is what I discovered now. But there's this real imbalance, right? You go in so stressed out, this is this thing you've been working toward. They actually don't care that much, you know. So I, I come in and, and I had practiced my 90 minute you know, summary of my whole research program and findings, what I'm gonna do for the next ten years. That's sort of how it is, how you do that in 90 seconds and we call this, as in other fields, the elevator pitch. Right, so, it's short enough to hold their attention and also short enough to not accidentally disrespect them by thinking that they're more interested than they actually are. So, I get there and on the first night, I get into the elevator and there are three people in the elevator who are like rock stars to me.
I mean, I am like you know, the rhythm guitarist from a bad college band with a homemade CD. Stepping into the elevator with like, you know, Jenny Paige and, and Jack White and, and Jimmy Hendrix or something. It's just this crazy collection of people. And nobody say's anything. And then one of them just looks at me and says, okay, we're in an elevator, give us your pitch. [LAUGH]. And, I was it was a disaster. I mean I just started like, words were coming out of my mouth, I don't know what they were. I was completely in this meta meta hyper vigilant state of trying to figure out what they were thinking by their micro expressions. And sure that they hated it, and I knew that it was going really badly, and and I kept going. I heard myself saying things like, oh wait first I have to explain this. But, and I kept trying to start over. I was getting no feedback from them at all. The dinner was on the top floor of the hotel. I'm sure it was not a long elevator ride, but it It felt like one.
My heart's like racing even telling this story. And I don't even get nervous giving talks anymore, but this one's, it's very, nerve, nerve-wrecking. So, I get to the top and I think, Oh God please let it not be as bad as I thought it just was. So the doors open. Two of the people like swiftly flee. << [LAUGH] << And it, without making eye contact and the, the guy that had said that to me gets out of the elevator, I'm not kidding. Like, to him, I wonder, was this, like, a great moment for him? Because he turned around, he had crossed the threshold of the elevator and right before the doors closed, he said this. [NOISE] That was the worst elevator pitch I have ever heard. [LAUGH] The doors closed. [LAUGH] And, I kind of fell back into my little cell. And let it lower me down to the lobby and thought, this is where I belong, you know? And, and I got out and I thought, I had this very fleeting moment of relief. Like a second. And that turned into three days Of the conference of me going over this.
Like, you know, dissecting it and taking every cross section and poking and prodding at it and replaying it and going, what if only I could do this. I even had the urge when I got off the elevator cause then of course things kind of got clear, and the pitch was back in my head. I thought, Oh, I should go chase them and tell them what I wanted to say. But you can't do that, it's gone, the moment's gone. And it haunted me. As you can tell it still haunts me. It haunted me. And, and I was telling my very good friend about this, she's a Social Psychologist, her name is Elizabeth Haynes, and I know some of you know her. And she said oh, that's that's called the spirit of the stairs. She, she's, she's much better read than I am, and and I said, what. what are you talking about? And she said, it's this.
She, it's from this, this this 18th century French philosopher Diderot. She said, he went to this party, at the dinner, at the house of this this, this famous politician. And he got involved in this, this debate. That, it was something that he really cared about and knew a lot about. And he, he didn't have a response. Like he just somehow clammed up and didn't have a response. And he, he left because he felt so uncomfortable. He felt like, why am I here? And I probably shouldn't, it was the same kind of stuff. He, he left, and he's walking down the stairs going over this in his head again and again. And he finally comes up with the perfect retort. And he says, a sensitive man, such as myself, overwhelmed by the argument leveled against him, becomes confused and can only think clearly again when he reaches the bottom of the stairs.
And so he coined the phrase, the spirit of the stairs. It's this thing that haunts you, it's the orphaned retort. You know, it's the thing that you never get to say and you wanna go back up and do it again. There's a Seinfeld episode about this, too. But, but you see this theme again and again. So again, it's a moment that you look forward to for so long and then you go through it and it is a moment and then you're haunted by it. There's no sense of relief, there's only a sense of regret and wanting a do over. The funny thing though is that these same moments that hunt us after the fact, haunt us before we get there. And Alan Watts, who wrote The Wisdom of Insecurity, you know, one of the, I think, 20th century kind of mindfulness gurus, said, described these moments, these anxiety-laced an, the, the anxiety-laced anticipation of these moments is like the pursuit of a constantly retreating phantom.
Because it's something that you can't really control. What happens in these moments is really out of your control. It's about these other people, you don't know who they're gonna be or how they're gonna feel on that day. You really don't know very much about what's gonna happen. So you're haunted before and after. And and, and I started to really realize that these situations like taking the NCAT test for the student or giving a talk or going to a job interview, those are very high stakes, big challenges. These are moments that haunt us before, that haunt us after, and that I would, you know, argue to some extent haunt us during, because instead of being in them, we're haunted by our fear about what might be going wrong, and that ends us, ends up throwing us off. And so that's really what I have now become interested in. It's not what I was, when I first started doing this work on power posing I was thinking about one situation, and it was speaking in a classroom.
It was looking at these female students at HBS where participation is half your grade, clamming up, not saying anything, I read their written work. I know how smart they were, and I'm thinking, what can I do to get them to talk. I didn't think it would generalize to so many other things, but it's, it's, it's you know, where my training was very much about you know, knowing theory very well and building that way and I think that's still a, probably the best way to do research. This has given me an opportunity to do it kind of the other way. You know, you put something out there and you get this feedback, you get, it's kind of an echo chamber and you hear, hear all of this, this this, from like all these different voices saying sort of the same thing. So I got interested in these moments, these big challenges. But I want you to, before we go on, think about what that big challenge is for you.
So this should be a moment that you walk into with a sense of fear and dread. That you execute with anxiety and distraction. And that you walk away from with regret and maybe rumination. You know, going over it and over it in your head. So what is that moment for you? Does it, will anybody actually volunteer what that is? Someone's pointing back there, and I'm not sure if they've got their hand out to volunteer? Darn, I thought you were gonna volunteer a big challenge. Ok. Anyone else? So, what is it for you? What really scares you? Yes. >> [INAUDIBLE] >> Qualify, oh my, yeah, me too, I remember that. PhD qualifying exam, yeah, ok, so an exam. Is that an oral exam or a written exam? Oral. Other, others. Cuz one of the good things is just to know that everybody has these. In the back yeah.
Teaching in a giant lecture hall. Yeah. First date, right. So that's they're both professional and personal and I think people forget about the personal ones. I mean for a lot of people it's just a difficult conversation. Or I hear from so many executives when I ask them this, and I think they're gonna say, giving a talk or something like that, they say firing someone. That's their biggest challenge. So it's this thing that we think about over and over again and we just are not able, in any way, to be present. So when we walk into it, we're not present. When we're there we're not present and when we leave, we're not present. We're projecting ourselves into something that's gone wrong. We're in, in our heads instead of the moment, and then we're back, we're just, kind of, projecting, trying to, to get this do-over. So how can you become present? How can you approach it with excitement? Execute it with a, kind of, comfortable confidence. And and lead with a sense of satisfaction, or maybe even a sense of joy.
So how can you actually be present in these moments? And what's it really about? Now I think this kind of summarizes for me, what's interesting about this idea of presence in the moment. Now I, I know that, that, that has, that has two layers. Of course, presence has to be in the moment, but what I'm talking about really is momentary presence. I don't think presence is a state that anyone can achieve permanently. I think it's something that you can learn to get yourself to in moments. But you've got to focus on it moment by moment. And when we are present, the funny thing that happens is that we become more convicting. So not just to other people, but also even to ourselves. So when we're able to just be there, we start to trust ourselves more, we start to believe ourselves more. We start to feel like we deserve to be there. Now I started thinking about this idea actually about five years ago.
There was a student from Boston College Lakshmi Bellashondra Who was presenting in a lab meeting. Max Bazerman who's in my department, has a, has a lab meeting that's open to people from different schools. And Lakshmi was presenting this data. And she had, collected, video from 185 actual venture capital pitches. So these were real VC pitches, and she had the ultimate dependent variable: who got the money? So that's what she was looking at. And, and they were sort of Shark Tank kinds of pitches, very stressful. And, and, so she had these 185 pitches, and what she wanted to know was who, what predicted it. Now, this was, the funny thing about this presentation was that she studies nonverbal behavior and other things. But what she found was that the best predictors of who got the money were these thi, four things.
Enthusiasm, confidence, passion, and lack of awkwardness. Now here's what's interesting about this. The reaction in the room, people fell into one of two camps. Either they were disappointed, they, I think she was disappointed cuz she thought she'd find something I don't know, bigger, or more, or this confused her, or it was disgust. Some people were like it's the end of the world. This, people are investing their money based on things like this that are so soft. I mean this is really scary, right? If, if it's really not about competence, but it's about th is, this is scary. And I remember thinking, this is actually a really good signal of who you should be investing in. I mean if people are able to portray or convey these traits, enthusiasm, confidence, they're comfortable, they're passionate. Now the lack of awkwardness is not the same as not anxious. People do show some anxiety. And when you talk to venture capitalists who are successful, they will say, I expect anxiety.
If you don't show anxiety, I kind of wonder what's wrong cuz this is a big deal. But what I want to see is that you believe what you're saying. I want to know that you believe your story. If you don't believe your story, if you don't believe in your idea, why on earth would I buy into it? I mean, it's, and I, probably some of you had to do this at some point in your lives, sell something that you don't believe in. It's terrible. It's a horrible feeling. And, and people pick up on that. And I remember seeing these traits when I actually presented them, and thinking, this makes perfect sense, and this is actually presence. And people only can communicate these things, really unless they're incredibly gifted actors. When they actually feel present and confident about what they're talking about.
That does not mean they're not open to feedback. When people are in this state, they're more open to feedback. And the venture capitalists will say, I'm not saying that I I want people to think they have all the answers. I just want them to believe in the core of the idea. I wanna see that they love it. Because that's gonna make them more open to feedback. So anyway, this ended up being the best predictor and I thought that was pretty, pretty interesting. So recently, we, we ran a, a, a study where we had people just go through the, the Trier Social Stress task, which I'm sure many of you are familiar with. But it's, the you know, this sort of mock job interview. People go in and they are told they are going to be interviewing for their dream job, they are given a few minutes to prepare, and they are told that they will be answering the question why are you the best candidate for this job.
Now they're told they can't misrepresent themselves, so they can't lie. And and they've got to speak for the entire five minutes. They can pause but they can't end early. There will be two judges watching them and then there will be a video, that will be videotaped and there will be other judges judging their performance later on. All those things are true. The judges on top of it are trained as in the study that I talked about in the TED Talk. They're trained to give no, they're made, they're trained to be stoic, to give no feedback, no prompts, no nods or smiles, no laughter, not even disapproval. They're just stone faced, and that makes people even more nervous. Mary Ann La France who is eh, at Yale and and studies facial expressions, focuses really on smiling.
She says that this experience of getting no feedback, kind of like my elevator experience, is like standing in social quicksand. It's that, you just feel like you grab at anything to get out of it, it's very stressful. So we put through, people through this experience, and we then had them rated by three separate sets of judges. Okay. So one pair of judges rated them on presence: enthusiasm, confidence, captivating, and comfortable. Two other judges rated them on authenticity. So just how, how much do you think this person is authentic? Do you believe them? do you find them to be genuine? And then another set rated them on overall evaluation, and do you want to hire them. These people did not talk to each other, the intercoder reliabilities were high. But we wanted to make sure that these were independent sets of ratings that we were getting. We also, after the job interview asked them how satisfied were you with your performance? And how satisfied do you think the judges were with your performance? So this is what we found. And I, I would have a lot of data aids on other slides but This is new. So we, we, first of all we find that Presence is a very strong predictor of this concrete outcome, hiring and evaluation.
That's what we found in the, the power of posing study as well, so that's not surprising to us. But this observed authenticity fully mediated this relationship between presence in this concrete outcome. So what was happening is that the more they were showing this enthusiasm and passion and, and, and confidence, the more people perceive that, the other set of judges saw them as authentic. They thought, I believe this person and I wanna hire them. Now, interestingly, this was obviously, not, not significant. But we, we do find there is this, a little bit of a relationship here between presence and leaving feeling satisfied. So, when people are present they leave feeling like, I did a pretty good job, but it is completely, presence is totally unrelated to, how do you think they felt you did. Right? So people people were more interested in how they felt than be, worrying about how, how other people might have felt. So this is, I think, you know, some initial evidence that this authenticity piece is part of what's happening there.
So, okay. The next, next time I just briefly talk about this idea of how does presence link to power. The kind of presence that I'm talking about, which is this, you know, connecting with yourself so that you can connect with others in this situation. So, writing the book, I I, I started to talk to people who, who I think are really good at being present. And and one of them was Julianne Moore who I met at a little conference, and, and got to talk to her a bit about, about presence. I mean, she's certainly known for her ability to really bring herself to whatever role she's playing. And we, she was so engaged and interested in the topic that I said, can I interview you? And I went and spent a couple of days anging out in her kitchen. Which is a totally normal person kitchen with normal kids and normal life.
You know, she really keeps it, her, her life real and I think that's part of it. But, she, she she is talking about what this you know, the presence really is about being the authentic self. And how you can bring presence out of other people by being presence, present, by, you have presence kind of begets presence. But this, you know, at the end she sort of said presence is about power. You know, it's always, it's always about power, isn't it? And she went on to say really ultimately it was that when people felt powerless, they didn't feel safe to be present. This is what we were talking about, what happens if you go to a, to a set and you're ready to do a scene, and the actor you're working with is not present, they're not there. They're scared, maybe they're nervous because they're working with you but for whatever reason they're not there.
And she said it's usually because they feel powerless. You know, if you can give them a sense of power, she said, I'm not saying that I can give them status or resources, but if I can give them a sense of power or remind them that they have power, they open up, they become present. And she said, and when both people are present and interacting, she said, then you elevate everything. And I loved that idea, that what happens when both people are bringing their authentic selves, is that the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts. And now, sorry, this is, this is my, another really text heavy slide, and I normally don't do this. But when you think about what are the effects of power? Now this is, Pam Smith and Adam Galinsky have done an enormous amount of work on power. Other people have too.
This is one of the reviews that I like a lot. And there are others. But you find these themes that end up looking again, very much like presence. So when people feel socially powerful. So that's when they have power over others, or were recalling a time when they had power over others, they feel more optimistic, more hopeful, happy, confident, and satisfied, they feel less fearful and anxious, less worried and desiring of social approval, so they're more able to just be there. And less self doubt, more confidence. Cognitive benefits, better at abstract thinking. So they're able to be there and extract the gist instead of worrying about all the little details. Like I was in the elevator thinking of all the little details instead of what's the big picture, you know, of what's going on here.
I mean, in order to give an elevator pitch you have to be able to go, okay, here's the big picture, I'm gonna put it out there, and I, and I will, I will talk about some of the details of it afterwards. Executive function and creativity. So, all of these are demonstrated effects of feeling powerful. Behavioral, risk tolerance and just approach and action orientation. So again, these are things that are, I think very close to what happens when people are present. And so you know I think that presence liberates the self to feel powerful, and vice versa. But it's about power to, not power over, and that's where I think this moves away from the social power. The social power work also shows a lot of, of, of, you, you know, potentially destructive side, especially to other people. And I, I think, I think that this power too is closer to these ideas of self efficacy. So it's sort of, I think, an intersection of two different areas of psychology that I'm starting now to explore.
All right. So now to the power posing. I'm going to talk a little bit more about, about why this. So why power posing as opposed to these other kinds of power manipulation. One is that as I said I'm much more interested in the power to and not the power over, right. So how do you get people to feel the power that they have to do things to bring themselves forward, not to dominate other people and, and looking at body language gives us some insight into this. Because it's, and I do not use this term lightly, it's a bit hard wired, some of it is. So let me, let me show you espe, especially where I think it is. But you gotta look at the animal literature if you're gonna study body language and, and, I know you've seen some of these images before, but when, when animals have power or status in their hierarchy, they do show much more open and expansive posture. They take up more space and that's true for primates, and it's also true for non primates.
I mean this is just one example, but if animals want to demonstrate power or status or dominance, they make themselves bigger. And people do the same thing, and when they're trying to demonstrate power, this is my husband and, I swear to God, but, and I actually met him because he posed to this picture. He's actually a super nice nerdy guy and didn't even get that this picture would maybe be seen as weird. But it turned out his sister worked for a friend of mine who is a social psychologist and it ended up in my news feed. And he was in Australia and I was in the US. And we, and anyway we're now married. He lives in the US. All because of the blue pants picture. [LAUGH] But, but it certainly, you know, gets all of the characteristics of the human power pose. [LAUGH] Yeah, and certainly the, kind of, peacockery part of it.
But here you see other animals that do the same thing. You think about the classic, you know, the American, iconic superheroes, and they're in the exactly the same pose. Right? They're standing with their hands on their hips, their feet apart and their chins up. I love this. You see this more and more now, I think. In, in sort of women's leadership circles where women are not afraid to show poses like this. So this is Sophia Amorusa who started Nasty Gal and is worth I'm sure tens of millions of dollars at something like 28 years old and her great book called Girl Boss. Don Draper certainly a, a, an iconic, power figure and this is in here because at the same conference where I met Julianne Moore, I did not have Don Draper in my slide deck and a guy came up to me afterwards, he was wearing a baseball cap and he said, why don't you put Don Draper in? And it just seems so obvious that you'd have Don Draper. Why didn't you have Don Draper? I was like, I don't really watch it and, but, yeah, that sounds, you knowthhat that sounds good, and of course, he walked away, and my husband's like, that was Don Draper. And, I was like, what do you mean? He's like, that's Jon Hamm, he plays Don Draper on the show, Mad Men.
[LAUGH] Anyway, later he got onto the bus for dinner. He's like, Cuddy. You know who I am now? You're going to put that picture in? So I always feel like I gotta have it in just in case he's standing in the back of the room. Okay, so, for, my parent's generation, I mean, you, these, these, I call them cowboy poses for a reason, right? It's this very, like, open comfortable swaggering kind of posture you know exactly what that means when you see that. Now these are some of my favorites. This one of President Obama was actually published, it, along with 17 or 18 other photos. I think it was in Slate and it was with the caption, it was some kind of click bait, but the, the idea was that he's too aggressive as a president and then, of course, people quickly dug up pictures of other presidents and guess what? When you have the most power in the world, you do this. Right. It doesn't matter who you are but clearly there was this underlying, I would say sort of racial tone to that. That it wasn't okay for him to be demonstrating power like this.
But it was okay for other Presidents to be demonstrating power like this. So you get into these, also, I think, very interesting issues around gender, and race, and culture, and what scene is acceptable for this person versus that person. This one I think is, is interesting, cuz it's so subtle. But, you know, she's, kind of, known for holding this pose. And they call this steepling, when you have your fingers like this. Now, it's not very broad but your fingers do not naturally want to be like this, right, it's not like you walk around with your fingers I should put this down so I can start demonstrating but it's not like you walk around with your fingers like this. This is actually correlated with feeling confident. So when people feel more confident they start spreading their fingers like this, and you see people do this in a way that seems scripted as well.
here you see it, back to the venture capitalists, and it, and someone recently said you'd better be careful cause you don't wanna teach people to do that because you also get this. [LAUGH] And, that was an excellent point. Very scheming. So, so that's another one. And then you see it in performance all the time. Mick Jagger, Oprah I think is one of the few women, well-known women who can demonstrate power physically in such a comfortable way. And one of the things I notice that she does often is there any way, can we lower the lights at all because it's okay. All right, so she'll maybe be sitting down and have her arm draped across the back of the couch, or resting at the, on the podium, and I think that's really a clever way to spread out without, you know, just spilling space that's empty and seeming strange when you can't go in like this. But, you know, having your hand like this, that's forcing your body to spread out. This I love, all of the, this is from Albanelli. So I used to be a professional ballet dancer and, I did all of the classical ballets like Swan Lake and Giselle, and in classical ballet, the female characters don't get to do things like this really, unless they're evil like the evil alter ego or, you know, somehow they've been overcome by a demon or something.
And, and the, the main female characters in classical ballets and that sort of crumpled on the ground like the dying swan. But you see in more contemporary ballet these themes of liberation and freedom and power. And they're all demonstrated through this openness, this really expansive posture. This is now one of my favorite people, Misty Copeland from American Ballet Theatre, who is now probably become the most well known ballet dancer of all time. And she has, you know, overcome many, many obstacles to get to where she is told many times that she would not be a dancer. She was too short, she was too athletic, she was not white enough. And there she is. And when you see her, this is what she's doing, you know?She is not being bashful about her success. Usain Bolt, who's kind of a master of the power pose, and we'll come back to him. Now, I wanna spend a minute on this one. There's any, any, anyone from New Zealand? Okay, so this is The all blacks. So these are the, this is the, the New Zealand rugby team, the all blacks and they're doing the Haka. And so the Haka is this Māori war dance.
That's done before all, All Blacks rugby matches. And it's really something to behold. It's a source of pride. It's, I mean, this is a tiny country of 4 million people, and let me just, as a side note, say it's one of the few places that was colonized that ended up actually keeping indigenous parts of the culture and integrating them into, into the mainstream culture, with, which I think is really, really quite beautiful. But what happens in, in the Haka, and by the way there, there are many different versions of the Haka that, that are linked to different tribes. As they go through this series of very powerful postures, it's almost like powerful Tai Chi. So they move through them. It's not exactly a fluid dance, they move through them, they use their faces, they use their voices, there's a chant that goes along with it, and and I want you to watch what this looks like.
Hm, let's see. >> [SOUND] [INAUDIBLE] [NOISE] >> [INAUDIBLE] >> Come on. >> [INAUDIBLE] >> [NOISE] [APPLAUSE] >> So guess who won, [LAUGH] and that was the World Cup a few years ago, against France. Its, so New Zealand did win. And when people first see this, they get, I often here sort of awkward laughter. It's, it's unusual, it's strange to watch. And you, the first time I saw it, I thought oh it's really primitive. Like it's all about intimidating the other side. And the more I dug in, and really started to learn about the Haka, and the more I watched it, the more I realized that it was very much about the effect it was having on them, on the, on the All Blacks. So, it wasn't as much about intimidation, as it was about groundedness and pride, and getting themselves in the moment. And so I, I had gotten a chance to talk to some of these guys and one of them said, you know, there's there is a hierarchy on the team.
Like, of course there is, you know, when we sit on the bus, everyone knows where certain guys sit. But when we're in line doing the Haka, it's gone. I look down that line and these are my brothers. It doesn't matter where they're from. It doesn't matter who's been there longer. We are just all one, we are moving together. So I just think that idea that this, this powerful postures in this competitive situation are still maybe not primarily about intimidating the other side, but about getting yourself into that very stressful moment is it's just a beautiful example of that. Certainly you see it in other sports not everyone's favorite guy, but pretty good at what he does. Yoga, and yoga is, you know, is, is full of powerful postures. People often say to me, well, don't you just think people should do yoga? And I think of course! Yes, like I would never say they shouldn't do yoga. So I think that's an interesting thing too that comes up when you put a finding out there.
People think you're saying this is better than all of the other things. And I am not saying that. I am saying you can't do a 60 minute yoga class before every stressful situation. But maybe you can go hide away and do this for two minutes. But yoga I think certainly, you know, this is a much, much older discipline and it's grounded in the same ideas. I wanna spend a minute on this pose. Because this is, I think really a lot of the, a lot of the evidence for how universal this is comes through our understanding of this pose. So this is a gymnast. This is what she does before she begins. So she goes out, she stands in front of the judges like this. She does her routine. Even if she falls off the beam. You know, she pops back up and does this again. But why, of all of the poses, you know, she doesn't do this. She doesn't do like Usain Bolt or some other thing. She does this. Why, why this pose? Your dean gave it away at the beginning. It's the victory pose, right? It means you win, you've won. So that's why you do it.
You do it first because it indicates that you've won. But when you look at different cultures, and this work was done by a really wonderful psychologist Jessica Tracy, who's at University of British Columbia. Did she go to UC? She did. She got her PhD here. Has done amazing work on this. She calls it the pride pose, so Jess has studied universal expressions of emotions like pride and shame, which are not just facial expressions. They involve the whole body. And she's looked at now more than 30 different cultures including ones that, I think when she was a student here, she hiked into the middle of nowhere, and met people who had never met anyone from the outside, and found that everywhere when people win, this is what they do. You know, when they come in first, when they're feeling proud, when they're feeling victorious, they raise their arms in a V, they lift their chin, and they smile.
And I'm gonna show you a whole bunch of different sports, and these are all first place finishers. So that's what you do. It's really, really hard to stop yourself from doing it. Now I am stopping on this photo not just because I'm from Boston and this was a good year, but but this is, I think, a really interesting part moment because, so this is David Ortiz, who's like our, now our local folk hero, and who, you know, released us from the curse, and he's running the bases after a home run. He's already in the victory pose, and what is also happening is this, so I don't, oh it's hard to see in the dark, but I mean it, it, because it's so bright in here, but this is a, a Boston police officer, it's at Fenway Park, he's, he's going like this cuz of the home run while an outfielder from the other team is diving over, possibly injuring his brain, you know, to catch the ball.
So we feel proud and victorious on behalf of our teams, our kin, other people as well. Here's a whole stadium full of people doing it. And back to Usain Bolt, and, and I bring him up because you think, when you really think about this, does it really make sense that after you've run, you know, 50 meters or 100 meters faster than any human in the history of the world, you would want to go around like wasting resources? It doesn't really make sense. You know, you should wanna go into the fetal position and recover. But instead, you prance around it's, you know, doing like the high-step and stuff. It doesn't really make sense. But it does, if you think about it as, satisfying a social need or a social goal. That when you have power you want everyone to know it, because it's not gonna last, and you better show them right now. So that seems to be what's happening, but I think the strongest evidence that this is hard-wired is this. Jess, Jessica's work has also shown that even congenitally blind people do this. So people who have never seen anyone else do it do the same thing when they've won.
So, that posture is very closely associated in our brains. With feeling victorious, feeling proud, with winning, with feeling powerful. Now when we come in second, we tend to feel pretty bad, even if we've beaten like 6.5 billion people, because we didn't beat one. And this is what you see when you see Olympic silver medalists. They are the least happy and old research by Vicky Medvec showing that Olympic silver medalists are less happy than gold medalists or bronze medalists. The bronze medalists are doing, you know, a downward social comparison. They're just like I am so glad to be here. The gold medalist can only do a downward comparison. But the silver medalist, although again, they can do like six and a half billion downward comparisons. They're doing the one upward comparison to the one person they didn't beat. It's not really based on their performance. It's based on their performance relative to one other person, who they chose. So, I think that gets at the extent to which we have some control over how we frame our feeling of power. More images of what happens as people are losing, feeling more and more powerless.
You see more, not only more contraction. The hands start coming towards the neck and toward the face and covering the eyes. My grad grad student Lizzy Belling-Wolfe has done some work now looking at what happens when you watch your team losing. And the more your team is losing, the more you start covering your face, and covering your eyes. So you've got some images of your own team you, and watching your team on television or in the stands you see the same thing. You see these same types of contractive poses poses when people have experienced a feeling of powerlessness after a fight. And you see primates doing the same thing. When they have low power they contract, they bring themselves in, they wanna be invisible. And they also don't want to cross the wrong individual by showing power that they shouldn't be showing.
And I think that gets at how powerlessness can start to beget powerlessness. It reinforces it. Dogs, the tail between the legs is associated with increases in cortisol, the stress hormone. So the more dogs are stressed out, particularly in dog parks. Which are, it's a social setting for dogs. The higher their cortisol, the more their, their, their tail comes between their legs. But what do people tend to do before these big challenges that I was talking about before? Do they do that? No they do this. So if you look up, you know, job interview waiting room under stock photos, this is what you'd find. You don't find people looking comfortable or relaxed. You look at, you find people who are making themselves tiny. You know, crossing up, they're looking at their phone or reviewing in their head what they wanna say, projecting themselves into a situation that's already gone badly. So that, you know, the question really about the class participation and now for me, more generally is, what happens when you do this kind of thing before you go in. In private, you're free from the cultural constraints that might limit what, what's seen as acceptable.
And of course there are limits on what's acceptable. I don't know if anyone has seen, meet the new, New York City public public service campaign about subway travel. Have you? Do you know what it's called? Stop the spread. Right, so there's, there's an image of a, cartoon image, sort of of a guy with his knees apart on the subway. And they're saying stop taking up so much space, it's not cool dude. It's very funny, I showed that to some people in some countries, they're like, that's, you just made that up. Like, no, that's New York, it's real. But so, so, you know, there are all kinds of, there are all kinds of cultural sort of limitations around what's seen as acceptable. In the situation, what you do before in the privacy of your own, well, elevator or bathroom stall or whatever it is, that's up to you, right? Like, imagine, and here's I think a, a great one. Conference calls that are stressful, and you're in your office alone. Put your feet up on the desk.
I mean, you know, you can do whatever you wanna do in that situation. If you have privacy, do what you wanna do. So what happens if you do this before you walk in. So you know, I know that if you've seen the TED talk the gist of the studies. And I'm not going to go through the ones that we, that I already talked about in the, in the talk. But, but just to review what we do generally. And this is, no, there have been many studies done since then, mostly by other labs, not by our lab. And this is the, the paradigm changes a bit. It's, this is the general idea, but I do wanna get at where there might be moderators that, that are boundary conditions on, on this effect. Generally, what happens is that people come in and they're assigned to adopt either high or low power poses for some short period of time. Between, so far, I've seen 30 seconds up through six or seven minutes. I can tell you now that shorter seems better.
Longer seems to, what I think happens is that people just start feeling like this is really weird and awkward. Right? So, two minutes I think is, is, is not as good as one minute. There's a paper that just came out by Eva Rein Hill a group of economists in Switzerland. They had people adopt them for six minutes. And also told them exactly what the study was about before the study. They got effects on power, powerful feelings and not on hormones. So I think that there's a lot of work to be done around figuring out, what are these boundary conditions? How do you set this up? Also, what happens now that people know about this effect? So, we now have a question at the end of our studies Saying, do you know what this study was about? And they say, Amy Cuddy's Ted Talk. And, and, so we have to now look at whether or not that's affecting what happens.
You know, does that introduce a kind of demand characteristic? Okay. So they come in. They adopt these either high or low power poses. Another part that's important is, are they looking at a picture of somebody else doing it and being, are they told to just copy it? Or are, or is it explained to them? We explain it to them. Because we don't want to just prime them with the concept of power by showing them a picture of a person in a high-power pose. That's another important potential moderator. Or they adopt these low power poses. Here are just a couple of, a few examples. And and then we look at various outcomes, we've looked at testosterone and cortisol, salivary levels. We've found an increase in testosterone after high power poses and a decrease in cortisol and the reverse for the low power posers.
There is a, another study on looking [INAUDIBLE]. In a medical journal, looking at yoga poses that are high power. It finds the same effect using blood serum levels. So, there they looked at the cobra pose. Which I think is interesting because as the [INAUDIBLE] yoga people in the room know, it's not a really comfortable pose. So, it's not about being comfortable, but it's very expansive. They found when they had people hold the, the cobra pose for two to three minutes. They found a 16 percent increase in blood serum levels of testosterone and a ten percent decrease in blood serum levels of cortisol. They also looked a bunch of other hormones, did not find effects. This is a tiny sample. But, they found effects for every single, every single person showed that pattern of changes. So, we've got some cor, converging evidence, and then we've got the Swiss study where you do it for six minutes and you don't find an effect.
So, you 'know, figuring out what, what's going on there i think is, is a, an important question and one that I would put out to anyone who's Interested in studying it. Lots of research now. Not from our lab, but from others looking at the effects of power posing on mood. And I'm especially interested in the work that's looked at, at people from clinically depressed populations. Which is, as I'm sure many of you know through experience with family members, yourselves. Or, if you're treating clinical depression it's very difficult to treat. And, and, what, one of the things that happens is that your posture becomes more collapsed as you become more depressed. It's very, strongly negatively correlated with expansiveness. So depressive symptoms are, are correlated with this kind of hunching.
So in these studies, they, what they've been doing is getting people to just sit with their shoulders back and open. So your arms have to be at your sides, they cannot be collapsed inward. One of the ways they do this, is by literally, with physio tape, taping people to a chair, either in this posture, or this. Now, when I first saw that I thought that's a disaster, because who would feel powerful, when their, when their shoulders are taped to the chair like this. But you have people do all kinds of tasks in this position, and find differences in different measures of mood. Not just not just self report measures, but also things like having them go through the Trier Social Stress Test and giving a speech. And you find that when people have been sitting with their shoulders back, they use much more positive self descriptors. They remember many more positive things about themselves and fewer negative things about themselves.
So lots of work in that area of, of happiness Lee Kwang and Adam Galinsky, and Deb Gruenfeld, and, and some others did a series of studies looking at power poses compared to some of the more classic social power and manipulations. And found that the power poses did have stronger effects on everything except explicit measures of power. So when you actually say how powerful did you feel, then the social power manipulations like assigning people to a powerful role had a stronger effect. But, but, power poses in, influenced or increased ab, your ability for abstract thinking, and, and also in some other studies, executive function. There's a study showing that power posing buffers people against the negative effects of social ostracism in the workplace. Right? So it doesn't, it doesn't protect you from it completely, but what seems to happen is that people bounce back a little bit faster after feeling ostracized.
And I think again, that gets at that issue of presence where you're not so worried about what people think of you. There is a nice say by Scott Waltermuth and Vannesa Bond showing that power poses compared to neutral power, power poses increase pain threshold, and so I get a lot of emails from people around chronic pain management. And then of course the job interview work and, and what we've found in that, in that initial study, not the hormones study but the initial job interview study was that power poses did increase nonverbal presence, and that is what affected overall performance, job hiring, and overall job evaluation. Now, a couple of quick things. Caution, sometimes you're preparing when you don't think you are. I mean, think of all the time we send, spend just sitting, not, not necessarily thinking that we're being observed, so we're not monitoring our body language, like right now for example.
That could be hurting you in some way. So, here's one of the, one of the things that I think is is, is, potentially interesting. It, and, and that's the amount of time that we spend on our, our phones with our shoulders hunched. So, this picture is from, now, they're not especially hunched but they are all on their phones. This is from a South by Southwest interactive conference that I was speaking at. And they were so involved with their phones, has anybody been to South by Southwest? Okay, you wait in lines for hours, like to get into everything? It doesn't matter if it's good or bad, but they were waiting to get into my talk. And I walked by, took a picture and then nobody saw me and went in and gave the talk. And you know, I just, just to capture how involved people were with their technology. So is there an effect of spending so much time hunched over your little iPhone? So in this study, we brought people in and we had them work on either an iPhone or an iPad, or on a laptop or a desktop for five minutes, doing really just light filler tasks.
They came in, they had to hand over their device, so they didn't have their own phone. They went to a small room and they filled out these forms on the phone or whatever device they were on. The experimenter came in and said, I need to take that back because the next person is here. I'm gonna have you wait five minutes, but if I don't come back please come and get me because I don't want to waste your time and make you wait. They point to the clock on the wall and they say if I'm not back by this exact time, and the clock is right in front of these, these participants, if I'm not back by this time please come get me. And this is what happened. And our prediction, was that people would be less assertive if they worked on a smaller device because they would have been sitting in this less expansive posture, and that's exactly what we found. So what you see is the black bar indicates the percentage of people who came out to interrupt at up to ten minutes. So after ten minutes, only 50% of the iPhone users had come out, and they have nothing to do in that room. So we would come in and go, it's okay, you can go now, you know, it was, it was, it was almost like they were hovering, you know, sort of huddling in the corner.
And 94% of the desktop users came out and a lot of them would say, I'm waiting. And you're sort of annoyed. So you got, we got a really big difference in who came out and asserted themselves. The light gray bar indicates the amount of time that they waited to come out. The other one is and this is very preliminary. This is correlational. Because we don't have a sleep lab. But, is it possible that the way we sleep affects how we feel in the morning? So, when you look at, you know, sleep positions people tend to sleep in either something like a fetal position or something more expansive. And this is a basic distribution of, of sleep positions. I, I did not give them the titles, but about 40% of people sleep in something like a fetal position. And then you've got like Usain Bolt in the 5% top commission. And, and, and most people are more, you know, relatively expansive. So, what happens when you're sleeping? Is it possible that that's affecting you? What we found, these are self-report state anxiety measures that people fill out in the morning. So, they will immediately tell us what position they woke up in, and fill out the state anxiety form, and what we find is that, for the upper body, upper body expansiveness is associated with lower state anxiety.
So people who wake up with their, their arms kind of out, not pinched under them, are much less anxious. They're not going and checking their phone right away to look at their e-mail. And, and so we wonder. So this is kind of the winner. And this is like thanks to all my friends for their baby pictures. But the, the, the, you know, there's this complicated kind of question of intervention here. How do you change the way you sleep? And I think it's tough. But what you can do, is when you fall asleep, you know, try to before you fall asleep, be spread out. And when you get up, if you wake up all crunched up like I do, like with your hands in knots, spread out for a minute. You know, you don't have to get up right away. Just spread out before you put your feet on the floor and get your day started, cuz then you get up on the right side of the bed. So just a little bit more and then I'll, I'll be finished. I know we had to start late.
How are we doing on time? It's probably after 2:30, isn't it? Okay. All right. So, just a little more on sharing the science. So we've been doing, you know, other people have approached me and said, so, we've, I've, I think there's two kind of categories. People in other fields who want to, to, who are really interested in using their technology to interact with this research. And I'll explain that and people in outside of academia who want to, to figure out if we can develop intervention. So they are kind of two populations that I hear from. And here two, or a few sets of studies that have started as a result of those, those kinds of inquiries. The first is is from eye tracking. Which I know is not super high tech anymore. But somebody said well what are people looking at when you actually sit or stand in a higher low power pose. When you're in front of other people.
Like what do people do? Does it make them uncomfortable? Where are they looking? And is that different for men and women? And let me tell you first of all, we have found no gender differences. Right, so if a woman or a man is sitting or standing in a high-power pose, you get the same effects. What you do find are really big differences between high and low power that look exactly like non-human primates. So if you look at the non, non-human primates literature, what you find is that If, if the, if the high power primate is making eye contact or looking in your direction, you avert your gaze because it's dangerous to, to be making direct eye contact. It's confrontational. If they're not looking at you, it's okay for you to look at them. And, in fact, you look at them more cause you want to know what they're gonna do.
But if they're looking at you, you avert your gaze away from their face and down to their feet because you wanna see are they gonna run toward me? I better watch what's happening. This is exactly what we found when people looked at humans, the other primates and, and and you find the same kind of pattern and I'm sorry, the bars don't show up here very well but what you see, that the high power is on the left, the low power on the right. So you see more looking at the faces of the low power people, and, and more looking at the the, the lower body of the, of the high power people. And all of these pictures, the people are making direct, they're looking right at the camera. So that's, that's. We've done several studies like that. Here are some others. And these just this are the the, areas of interest that we've looked at.
And this is my faculty assistant who is actually very excited. He's like when does the paper come out? Not yet. But he's very excited to have his picture in the paper. So that was great, cause I felt kinda' bad about it, but, let's say you have the face, you've got the torso, and then the lower body, and you see these differences. Here's another one, and this, it was really neat because this is a, a guy whose work I've admired for a long time. His name is Nico Troje, and he is In Canada he runs the biomotion lab. He's a kind of everything, act it like a biologist, a physicist, and a computer scientist, and he's done some amazing work using motion capture and I always loved his site cause he's got this thing called the walker demo. Where it's, it's, it's, it's actually aggregated data across hundreds of or maybe thousands now of people. Where he sets them up with these motion capture sensors and has them walk.
And then he has other people rate the walkers on a bunch of traits. And then aggregates that data and you can see what somebody looks like when they're happy or sad on a sliding scale. Or relaxed Or, or, or anxious, so we said we wanna do power and and I'll show you we just got the data, he just sent this to me and I wanna show you sort of what it looks like. We've gotta go to that site. Okay. All right, so what I'm gonna do, I'm gonna first show you power. Now this is power raw, meaning that we've not subtracted gender out of it. So, this is what somebody looks like when they're, when they're, seen as very powerful. So, you see loosening. You see the, much more swinging. You see movement this way. They're walking faster. So, you see expansiveness vertically and horizontally and you know, you see more bounce in their step.
This is what they look like when they're powerless. Look at how tight that is, right? You can see the shoulders come up, the arms come in, and also what's really neat, you can actually rotate this, like this. By the way how many people see the walker walking toward you? How many people see it walking away? So it's about 20% away and 80% see it walking toward them. And it's correlated with all kinds of crazy things, which I, it's not, it's work that they've been doing. But I definitely think it's walking away. All right so here's, that's power. Now let me show you, all right, so let's go back to just the regular view, because I want to show you something kind of disturbing. So here's again, here's power. Now, let's look at gender. This is gender without power. Almost identical. So you see, that the, the perception of power is very closely correlated with the perception of gender.
Here's what power looks like when you get rid of gender. You can actually subtract it out. So then you can really get, at least, to the basic things that are going on there. There's powerful and there's powerless. But what, here's what we, we love about this tool. In Nico's work, one of the things he recently did is he used the happy sad walker, and he hooked people up to the motion capture sensors that you're walking on a treadmill. And you're looking at an image of your own motion capture, sort of, avatar And you're told there's a sliding scale that's not marked. It's just, you know, right side, left side. You're told walk so that you get that scale all the way to the right, or walk so that you get it all the way to the left. It turns out the right is happy and the left is sad. So it, as you walk and you start mimicking a happy person, you have no idea but you feel really darn happy after that.
If it, you move to the left again, not knowing, no label, you feel really sad. So we're wondering, can we get people to feel more powerful having them walk in this more powerful way. So I think the interface with technology, you know, there's just, there are a lot of opportunities there. I'm just about done here. And then I know that someone else in the room is doing some stuff on video games. So we were approached by a group of computer scientists who also are working on a kit with kids dealing with math anxiety. And so they said, could you help us develop a little video game, to get kids to power poise before math test, to see if it reduces their math anxiety and increases their math performance. So that's another group that we're, we're working with. And then recently we've gotten a lot of emails from veteran's hospitals, asking us if we would be willing to work with, populations of veterans with PTSD. And, you know, first I thought, it was a coincidence and I, then someone, a, a doctor from a VA hospital in Chicago contacted me and said, there's really something to this.
It's really hard to treat and remember that these people come home feeling totally powerless, feeling afraid and anxious, and having their identity completely destroyed. Right, so they come home Feeling they have no core sense of self and the, all of these complicated interventions that we're using don't seem to work as well as the more simple interventions that require less really high level thinking, because it, it seem that they fight against it. So we were wondering if we can do this. So we are just getting this started. I've not worked before with a clinical population and it's complicated, but I'm, I'm looking forward to seeing what, what happens there. Now just, I get pictures from all over the world, I'm gonna show you a few. This is one of my friends my stu, my former student's daughter, going to kindergarten on the first day, she was very, very scared and he got her into power pose before she went. These are people who have been out of work for a while, so they go to a, they meet once a week.
Try, you know, focusing on strategies to get back in the job market. These, these just, they send me pictures. Lots of coaches write who are using power posing before games and matches and meets. These are first year college students, freshmen at an orientation feeling really nervous and so they're power posing. Kids 14 years old going on an outward bound in British Columbia. Ballet dancers at Boston Ballet. I, I'm working with them on something else and totally unrelated to my own ballet past. And I was walking out one day and these two dancers said, hey, are you that wonder woman lady? It's, like, I guess so. [LAUGH] They said, oh, we do that all the time before we dance. This is Gabe Kapler who played major league baseball for about 12 years. He wrote about maybe in January and said, could you come and give the Dodgers a pep talk? And I was like, really don't know much about baseball but okay. But, you know, he said, he, he's really interested in the, in the body mind stuff and he said, the thing I love about this.
By the way they, athletes love it, right? They get this, right? They get this connection. They accept it. But he said, the thing I love [LAUGH] about, the thing I love about this with baseball is that they're already doing all kinds of crazy rituals before they play. You know, just now I'm gonna give them one that works. So, it layers like their belief that it works on top it actually working. This it recently showed up in three different shows, which I thought was, so one was Gray's Anatomy. The other was Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and this is the Unbreak, what's it? Tina Fey's new show, The Unbreakable Kimmy something. Kimmy Schmidt. And, but the, the Gray's Anatomy one was funny to me. Because, first of all, they got it right. They actually took a few sentences from an abstract, which I thought was great. They do it before a surgery.
But what happened afterwards was there was this interesting. There's a, there's a website called SmartGirls and, and it's, it's a place where they encourage girls to get into STEM fields. Now, somebody brought a power posing and attributed it to a, a man and that, I had no idea about this, when somebody looped me into this and I started reading the thread, which was hilarious. Because people got very upset, cuz they said, no, no, no. It's Dana Carney and Amy Cutty. It's women that did this work and you should be, you know? It was, here was this site about STEM and it's women. And first, first of all, I do have a male collaborator, Andy Yapp, but I was not particularly upset. I just thought it cool that it was getting out there. The funny turn happened when somebody said, it was not Amy Cutty and Dana Carney. I don't know who they are. It was Dr., whatever her name is.
[LAUGH] And so it was a woman, but not those women. [LAUGH] So I thought that was pretty funny. Like, do we have that few female doctors? Then my husband jumped on and said, actually, it was Dr. Cuddy from house. And people started going, oh, it was, I know it was. [LAUGH] So, a very funny thread there. These are some of my former students. These are 2,000 business leaders in Europe who were chosen to attend this conference. These are kids. This is from the SmartGirls site. Where they go around and take pictures of girls in cities standing like superheroes. These are kids at a youth homeless shelter in Las Vegas who wrote to me and I decided I was out there giving a talk at Zappos and I said, I'm gonna go meet them. And I have to say, they were amazing and I mean, talk about facing big challenges, every day is a big challenge.
You know, so they love to learn about this stuff. They absorb it, they, they use it. And I keep in touch with them. This is my high school, rural Pennsylvania, most of them don't end up going to college. Really kind of a tough place to get out of. They brought me back a little while ago. This is a fifth grade glass that we're working with around that math game. These are girls who were bullied, so we're seeing it show up in a lot of anti-bullying campaigns. And and here's my last story, this is the becoming Badass, how I use power posing in my horse training. And I received this email and I, I thought that it sounded a little crazy. But she said in the beginning of the email, you're gonna think I'm crazy.
And I know that when people say that, they're not crazy, because they've shown this sort of level of self-awareness. But she said, I'm a, I'm a horse trainer and I, I, my job is to work with Icelandic ponies who are really anxious and submissive and who won't come out of their shell. These are horses that are beautiful, splendid animals that, that we expected to do really well in competition, but we can't even get them to interact with other horses. So that's when I get brought in to work with these horses. So this horse is called Bafi and she said, I saw you, your talk and then I was reading this other thing about horse training and I thought this, this works. So let the horse be taught to hold his head high and arch his neck. By training him to adopt the very airs and graces, which he naturally assumes when showing off to his best advantage, you have a splendid and showy animal, the joy of all beholders. Under the pleasurable sense of freedom, with stately bearing and legs pliantly moving he dashes forward in his pride, in every respect imitating the airs and graces of a horse approaching other horses.
And so, I love that it's such an old idea, but she said, seeing this and seeing your talk made me think, I've gotta get Bafi to power pose. Okay? What's horse power posing? Well, she said, horses rear up and play, you know, they interact with each other in a sort of playful, aggressive way like, you, tiger cubs. And so, I made this giant cat toy. It's, it's a kinda ball of, you know, it's like a cloth covered ball with a, a stick and a string. She ran around for two days. She let Bafi in the afternoon chase this, cuz he wouldn't do it with the other horses. But he would, he would follow her and chase this toy. And this is pictures of Bafi as he's chasing it and he would kind of rear up and pounce and rear up and pounce. After two days, she put him back out with the other horses. That was 27 months ago and she keeps in touch. And she, she said, he became easily the most dominant member of the group. He never changed back. This is Bafi before and after.
You can really see the difference in his posture. He did go to competition and he won second place and I said to her, I'm really glad he didn't, he's not human, cuz he'd feel like a failure. >> [LAUGH] Cuz he's silver medalist. But he's, he's a, he, he interacts with the other horses. He's going to competition. This is Bafi today, but still I said that's a great story, but it's one horse. She just said, just give me some time and then she kinda disappeared for awhile. And then she she sent me this a few months ago and with no, no warning. So, of course, I was pretty taken, taken with it. I think, let me see here. Oh, my goodness. This is tiny. [MUSIC] There you go. [MUSIC] >> So Kathy's using this now. She's training other horse trainers to use it. She's finding that it actually that, that, that, she and other trainers are finding that the, the changes re, get reinforced through over time, so the horses continue to see more and more bold and proud.
I love it, I love to end with this, because, yeah, I kinda start with animals and telling you this is primitive. And you end with animals and I, and you can't tell a horse he's great and strong, but his body can trick him, you know, into believing that. And I think that's what we see there and, and it just kinda opens up the, the, the, the range of of possibilities for interventions. So, I will end with this quote from my probably favorite person. Maya Angelou, who overcame enormous challenges, stand up straight and realize who you are that you tower over your circumstances. Thank you. Thanks for waiting. [APPLAUSE] You don't need to do that, you'e already you know. >> I learned that 40 years ago as a power lifter. >> Well, there you go. >> That's because we couldn't move our arms any other way. >> Well, don't take all the power. [LAUGH] Come on.
>> This was a wonderful presentation. >> Thank you. >> I've enjoyed it so much. >> Please. >> I, I, let's give her a big hand and a big. [APPLAUSE] Thank you. >> Thank you..