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Power Pose: body language shapes who you are

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Want to nail that job interview? Stand tall with your head high, lift your chest and prop your arms on your hips.

There is new evidence that adopting a more assertive stance like this - a power pose - can actually change your brain, increase your confidence and improve your performance.

And recent studies show striking powerful postures - like leaning forward over a desk with hands planted firmly on its surface, for example — actually lead to higher levels of testosterone and lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

These physiological changes are linked to better performance and more confident, assertive behavior.

It sounds too good to be true. But in a recent study, researchers from Harvard Business School and Berkeley led an experiment that showed similar results.

In the experiment people were directed to adopt either high-power or low-power poses for two minutes. Then, participants were asked if they wanted to gamble.

The results were striking: 86 percent of high-power posers opted to gamble, compared with only 60 percent of the low-power posing group.

And there were also physiological differences between the two groups. People who posed in high-power positions showed an 8 percent increase in testosterone, while low-power posers had a 10 percent decrease in the hormone.

The reverse happened with stress cortisol. High-power posers experienced a 25 percent decrease in cortisol levels. Low-power posers saw a 15 percent boost in stress.

The Wall Street Journal reports  that high-power poses are even inked to better test scores and better job prospects.

The Journal also cites a 2010 study in the journal Psychological Science, which found that over time simple changes to the way you sit and stand could actually improve your general health and well-being, too.

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