Americans spend an average of 58 minutes per day on their
smartphones with 26% of time spent talking and 74% spent
texting, e-mailing, social networking, and surfing the
The non-talking time is spent hunched over a little screen
and herein lays the potential problem.
The body posture required to operate small gadgets affects
not only your back, but also your behavior according to a
new study by Maarten Bos and Amy Cuddy, professors at the
Harvard Business School.
Their research has shown that operating a relatively large
device inspires more assertive behavior than working on a
Operating a small device such as an iPhone results in a
slouching posture that causes us to constrict our neck,
pull in our arms, and hunch our shoulders, all of which
can affect our demeanor.
In a previous study, Cuddy proved the positive effects of
adopting expansive body postures such as hands on hips,
feet on desk, etc. Deliberately positioning the body in
one of these “power poses” for just a few minutes actually
affects body chemistry, increasing testosterone levels,
and decreasing cortisol levels. This leads to higher
confidence, more willingness to take risks, and a greater
sense of well-being.
Cuddy also proved that contractive body postures such as
folded arms have shown the opposite effect, decreasing
testosterone and increasing cortisol.
The results of the two studies indicate that expansive
body postures lead to power-related behaviors, even in
cases where the posture is incidentally induced by the
size of the gadget.
HR POINTER: It may be a good idea to avoid using your
smartphone immediately before and during a meeting.
Yes, using your smartphone will show your boss and
everyone else that you are a busy person. However, if the
purpose of the meeting is to solicit ideas from attendees,
those people who use smartphones and smaller devices like
iPads immediately prior to a meeting might have a tendency
to be more quiet during the meeting.
If you are the facilitator or leader of a strategy or
creative problem solving meeting, you will need to utilize
meeting strategies that will draw out ideas from members
of the group, assuming this research is correct.
As such, prior to an important meeting, it may be a good
idea to turn off your smartphone, put away your iPad, and
engage in some “power poses.”