It hurts when I do this (or you do that): Posture and pain tolerance
Two articles on PainSci cite Bohns 2012: 1. Does Posture Matter? 2. Mind Over Pain
PainSci notes on Bohns 2012:
Here’s an easy science-powered pain relief tip: Stand tall! Assume a bold, confident posture. Or, as a mentor of mine liked to put it, “Tits up!” This research showed that “power poses” actually reduce pain sensitivity. It was inspired by other research (Carney et al) showing that “power poses” make people feel and act more powerfully, complete with hormonal changes.
original abstract †Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.
Recent research (Carney, Cuddy, & Yap, 2010) has shown that adopting a powerful pose changes people's hormonal levels and increases their propensity to take risks in the same ways that possessing actual power does. In the current research, we explore whether adopting physical postures associated with power, or simply interacting with others who adopt these postures, can similarly influence sensitivity to pain. We conducted two experiments. In Experiment 1, participants who adopted dominant poses displayed higher pain thresholds than those who adopted submissive or neutral poses. These findings were not explained by semantic priming. In Experiment 2, we manipulated power poses via an interpersonal interaction and found that power posing engendered a complementary (Tiedens & Fragale, 2003) embodied power experience in interaction partners. Participants who interacted with a submissive confederate displayed higher pain thresholds and greater handgrip strength than participants who interacted with a dominant confederate.
This page is part of the PainScience BIBLIOGRAPHY, which contains plain language summaries of thousands of scientific papers & others sources. It’s like a highly specialized blog. A few highlights:
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- Effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of universal school-based mindfulness training compared with normal school provision in reducing risk of mental health problems and promoting well-being in adolescence: the MYRIAD cluster randomised controlled trial. Kuyken 2022 Evid Based Ment Health.
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