Student Research

Can Power-Posing Mitigate the Decreased Performance Effects Associated With Stereotype Threat?

Stereotype threat involves experiencing judgment based on common stereotypes associated with ones group (Spencer, Steele, & Quinn, 1999). Research shows that it is associated with increased anxiety, which can lower test performance particularly for minority members (Beilock, Rydell, McConnell, 2007). Social psychologists have been developing and testing various interventions to mitigate the negative effect of stereotype threat (Henderson, Rheinschmidt, Mendoza-Dento, 2014). Many of these intervention are time consuming and expensive to implement (Marx, 2012). The current research will examine whether a simple intervention involving changing ones body posture “ power posing - can mitigate the deleterious effects of stereotype threat. High power posing is an expansive open posture, which involves spreading limbs and occupying large areas of space. Research has shown that this pose may help people to experience feelings of high power (Huang, Galinsky, Gruenfeld, Guillory, 2011), and may increase testosterone and decreases stress levels (Carney, Cuddy, Yap, & Carney, 2015). Since stereotype threat is associated with anxiety, we are hypothesizing that power-posing can reduce the anxiety associated with stereotype threat, thereby, potentially bolstering math performance.