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Greenberg's study on power posing

Discussion in 'Other Health News and Research' started by Michiel Tack, Sep 3, 2021.

  1. Michiel Tack

    Michiel Tack Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I thought this was interesting, thanks to Cyrus (EDIT: and Matthew Dalby) for highlighting this on Twitter. I'll try to explain briefly what this is about and why it is relevant to ME/CFS.



    Power posing is the idea that taking a posture associated with being powerful, result in a feeling of being more powerful and behaving more assertively. This idea was popularized by Amy Cudy, who did Ted talks and sold books about. Her original study on power posing, however, was seriously flawed. It's generally seen as a case example of bad research and psychology in crisis.

    Now apparently, some researchers have nonetheless conducted a large online study on power posing and they found that it had a small effect (cohens' d = 0.25). They randomized 1002 participants to spend 60 seconds adopting either a power pose, a contractive posture, or a neutral posture, then asked them to rate their mood on a 1-7 Likert scale.

    In the discussion section, they mention that the difference may be due to response bias or a placebo effect, but in the rest of the article, they seem to happily ignore this and take their results as showing that power posing likely has a beneficial effect. For example, the authors write:

    "Since power posing costs nothing and takes almost no effort, the power posing technique may be worth experimenting with to see if you notice a large enough effect to make it worth applying in your own life..."​

    In my view, this is rather naïve and the study adds almost no information. Beforehand it was already clear 1) that power posing would not have a moderate to large effect and 2) that the authors would not be able to fully exclude response bias.

    So the situation is very similar to trials on behavioral interventions for ME/CFS. These studies are designed in such a way that we would expect to find a small effect of which we uncertain if it's due to the intervention or response bias. The authors, however, consistently act as if their study proves the intervention is effective while response bias is only mentioned briefly as a potential limitation.

    Full text available here: https://www.clearerthinking.org/pos...ts-of-power-posing-from-real-to-fake-to-small
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2021
  2. Michiel Tack

    Michiel Tack Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    In short, I think research on absurd ideas might be useful to show flaws in study designs that psychology accepts as valid.
     
  3. Michiel Tack

    Michiel Tack Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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  4. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Are we not all immensely grateful for the research on power posing? All those politicians making complete fools of themselves.
     
  5. Mithriel

    Mithriel Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    That's obviously where we are all going wrong. We are either drooping with exhaustion or cringing at the latest BPS absurdity.
     
    alktipping, Leila, JoanneS and 5 others like this.
  6. rvallee

    rvallee Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    How quickly would this attitude shift if you replaced "power posing" with, say, homeopathy. Or really any alternative medicine, for that matter.

    You know, at this point, I'm not even sure it would. It seemed that pseudoscience has creeped in so thoroughly that this idea may just take hold. It's basically irrefutable either way, which is the whole problem of course. If it's good for some BS, it's good for all BS. BS is a ladder.
     
  7. Trish

    Trish Moderator Staff Member

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    I found it entertaining a few years ago when all the politicians speaking at party conferences seemed to have had the same training. The looked like a bunch of toddlers standing with their legs apart because they had wet their nappies. I read somewhere at the time that they were supposed to do the power posing offstage beforehand to make them feel powerful, not on stage where they just looked silly.
     
  8. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I, too, thought they perhaps had incontinence problems.
     
  9. Michiel Tack

    Michiel Tack Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Question for moderators: perhaps it would be good to have a subforum/topic that focuses on trial methodology so that these discussion threads are separated from the general health news?
     
  10. Trish

    Trish Moderator Staff Member

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    Thanks @Michiel Tack. Mods and the committee are slowly working on a process of restructuring some sections of the forum, and have included such a forum in the plan.
     
  11. TiredSam

    TiredSam Moderator Staff Member

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    Some of my students have found Amy Cuddy's powerpose TED talk very helpful. One of them gave a presentation about it once. I tried to tell them that there was no evidence for it, but they are all studying a subject where evidence doesn't matter anyway (cultural studies) so there was just an awkward silence.

    If you click on the "25 most popular TED talks of all time" button, Amy Cudy's is still in 2nd postion. The following has been added to the description:

    Which I expect people skim over and ignore on their way to the interesting bit. Her book is advertised on the right of the screen. People love this stuff and it sells, even when proven to be BS in certain circles. It seems someone's worked out that there's still money to be made shamelessly flogging a dead horse.
     
  12. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Is that the slightly less powerful position?
     
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  13. Michiel Tack

    Michiel Tack Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Excellent, thanks!
     
    alktipping, Hutan and Trish like this.
  14. Grigor

    Grigor Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Mithriel likes this.

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