Powerful people believe they are tall, even if they aren’t
Plenty of research has shown that taller people are more likely to acquire power, taller people make more money, on average, and are more likely to be promoted. But new research is the first to show the reverse may also be true: power makes people feel taller.
A new paper published in Psychological Science explores research that says that people who feel powerful tend to overestimate their own height—they feel physically larger than they actually are.
“Maybe there’s a physical experience that goes along with being powerful,” says Jack A. Goncalo of Cornell University, who cowrote the paper with Michelle M. Duguid of Washington University. “For people who are less powerful, maybe other people and objects loom larger, and for the powerful everything else just seems smaller.”
“Given that height is associated with power, raising your height may make you feel powerful,” Goncalo says. In business, that may mean high heels and lifts for men, or offices on the top floor. Every day, however, you can standing up straight and walk “tall” with shoulders back and chest up to help enhance your own feeling of authority and power.