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Paranoia is theorised to build upon feelings of inferior social rank. Power posing has been shown to increase feelings of power, and hence could reduce paranoia. One hundred participants with current paranoia and 50 individuals without paranoia were recruited. Using a double-blind randomised controlled experimental design, participants twice held powerful or neutral postures before entering neutral virtual reality social environments. In the paranoid sample, those who held a powerful pose did not significantly increase in feelings of power by the end of testing in comparison to controls (group difference = 0.67, C.I. = -1.12; 1.46; p = 0.098), or decrease in paranoia (group difference = -0.23, C.I. = -1.17; 0.72; p = 0.634). In the non-paranoid sample, there was a small significant increase in powerful feelings by the end of testing in the powerful group (group difference = 1.13, C.I. = 0.23; 2.02; p = 0.013), but no significant decrease in paranoia (group difference = -0.71, C.I. = -2.16; 0.74; p = 0.338). Paranoia status was not a modifier on the relationship between condition and feelings of power. We conclude that power posing results in only very small changes in self-reported feelings of power and has no subsequent effect on paranoia.

Original publication




Journal article


Behav Res Ther

Publication Date





Delusions, Paranoia, Power posing, Virtual reality