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What Not to Do If You Want to Be Powerful


A few +1s ago, we talked about Amy Cuddy’s research on how quickly you can build your power and presence by simply expanding your body. We’ve also talked about the research on The iPhone Effect—which tells us that simply having a phone in sight diminishes the quality of your interactions.

Did you know there’s also research into something called the “iHunch”?

Yep. It’s fascinating.

Imagine researchers bringing people into a lab and splitting them into a few different groups. One group is asked to do something on a big desktop computer. Another is asked to do the same thing on a smaller tablet-sized device and a third group is asked to do that task on a little smartphone.

Then, the real experiment begins. The experimenter says they’ll be back in a certain period of time but they don’t return in that period of time.

The researchers wanted to see whether the size of the device would affect the assertiveness of the participants.

And, guess what?

That’s exactly what they found. Only 50% of the smartphone users got up to get the experimenter. But 94% (!!!) of the desktop users went to fetch the experimenter.

As Amy Cuddy says in Presence: “The bigger the device, the more likely subjects were to assert themselves.”

Why is this relevant? Well, as Amy says: “We concluded that the smaller the device, the more we must contract our bodies to use it, and the more time we spend in these shrunken, inward postures, the more powerless we feel.”

Amy tells us that the cruel irony here is that all that time we spend poking away on our tiny devices might actually be DECREASING our levels of assertiveness and “potentially undermining our productivity and efficiency.”


Today’s +1: If you want to Optimize your power, don’t curl up into a ball iHunch style.

Notice how often you drop into iHunch-mode. Catch yourself. Stand or sit up straight.

And, maybe swap out all that smartphone iHunch work for a bigger computer—using your phone exclusively for phone calls if you’re really feeling it. 😃

iHunch begone!