Back in 2010 we told you about how “power poses”—open, expansive positions of the body—actually made test subjects feel more powerful, leading them to be more self-confident and presumably more successful. At the time we pointed to even earlier research that the process of raising our arms upward resulted in more positive thoughts, which again presumably is a milepost on the track to success.
Now, thanks to CNN’s Rose Hoare, we’ve been reminded of an excellent example of such “embodied cognition”: Usain Bolt. His so-called lightning pose, with one arm pointing to the sky like a nocked arrow ready to fly and rendered after decisively winning Olympic gold, is really the ultimate power pose.
Of course, Bolt’s move comes after he’s vanquished all his competitors, and not before, as are most ames-raised displays of athletic achievement (can we count the upright arm in Tebowing?). Perhaps just the anticipation of being able to strut offers a form of pre-embodied cognition. Now, if I just can get some research funding, I’ll be booking tickets to the Rio Olympics for my field work exploring this power gloat concept.