It hurts when I do this (or you do that): Posture and pain tolerance
PainSci summary of Bohns 2012?This page is one of thousands in the PainScience.com bibliography. It is not a general article: it is focussed on a single scientific paper, and it may provide only just enough context for the summary to make sense. Links to other papers and more general information are provided at the bottom of the page, as often as possible. ★☆☆☆☆?1-star ratings are for negative examples, fatally flawed papers, junk science, suspected fraud. Ratings are a highly subjective opinion, and subject to revision at any time. If you think this paper has been incorrectly rated, please let me know.
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.
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.
These three articles on PainScience.com cite Bohns 2012 as a source:
- PS Help for Anxiety — Anxiety doesn’t respond to logic and reason, so what does it respond to?
- PS Does Posture Correction Matter? — Posture correction strategies and exercises … and some reasons not to care or bother
- PS Stiff, Tight Muscles, and Limited Range of Motion — Is your range actually limited, or do you just feel that way?