The Face of Power

Klatt, Wilhelm K.; von Weissenfluh, Francine; Lobmaier, Janek S. (5 April 2016). The Face of Power (Unpublished). In: Meeting of the European Human Behaviour and Evolution Association (EHBEA). London, UK. 05.-08.04.2016.

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Objective: In humans and other animals, open, expansive postures (compared to contracted postures) are evolutionary developed expressions of power and have been shown to cause neuroendocrine and behavioral changes (Carney, Cuddy, & Yap, 2010). In the present study we aimed to investigate whether power postures have a bearing on the participant’s facial appearance and whether others are able to distinguish faces after “high power posing” from faces after “low power posing”.
Methods: 16 models were photographed 4-5 minutes after having adopted high and low power postures. Two different high power and two different low power postures were held for 2 minutes each. Power-posing sessions were performed on two consecutive days. High and low power photographs of each model were paired and an independent sample of 100 participants were asked to pick the more dominant and the more likeable face of each pair.
Results: Photographs that were taken after adopting high power postures were chosen significantly more often as being more dominant looking. There was no preference when asked to choose the more likeable photograph (chance level). A further independent sample rated each photograph for head tilt, making it unlikely that dominance ratings were caused merely by the posture of the head. Consistently, facial width-to-height ratio did not differ between faces after high and low power posing.
Conclusions: Postures associated with high power affect facial appearance, leading to a more dominant looking face. This finding may have implications for everyday life, for instance when a dominant appearance is needed.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)


07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Cognitive Psychology, Perception and Methodology > Biologische Psychologie (SNF) [discontinued]

UniBE Contributor:

Klatt, Wilhelm and Lobmaier, Janek


100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology




Wilhelm Klatt

Date Deposited:

08 Jun 2016 12:04

Last Modified:

08 Jun 2016 12:04




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