The Psychology of Confidence: Power Equals Confidence (And Vice Versa!)

Psychology of ConfidenceAre you interested in the psychology of confidence?

We long suspected that being powerful makes someone more confident, right?

How about the other way around? Yes – being confident does make you more powerful!

So power means confidence, and vice-versa.

A fascinating new report into recent psychological research studies show that when people are in positions of power, they feel more positive and speak more confidently.

These scientific trials, led by a social pyschology researchers at San Diego State University, have documented a shift in vocal quality as people move from positions of lower status to positions of higher status in their field.

So when we find way to feel more secure and self-assured, it affects how we sound.

The Psychology of Confidence Research

More from the researchers themselves:

Sei Jin Ko, a social psychology researcher at San Diego State University, explains that over a hundred college students came in to their lab to have themselves recorded, starting with a recording of their everyday voices. Then they were asked to imagine a scenario involving the purchase of a new car.

Some people were told they were in a position of high power — they had inside information or lots of other offers to choose from. Meanwhile, others were told they had very little power.

Both groups were then recorded reading the same text out loud. “It was something to the effect of, ‘I’m glad we’re meeting today to discuss this, we have a few differences that we’ll need to iron out before we come to an agreement,’ something like that,” Ko explains.

Researchers took the recordings and looked for differences between the two groups by analyzing acoustical features, such as pitch, resonance and intensity.

It turned out that feelings of power are reflected in people’s voices, says Ko. “When you put them in the situation, their voices change,” says Ko. “I think that’s very, very exciting and quite powerful, shall we say — no pun intended.”

Head on over here to read the full article or listen to the NPR piece from Nell Greenfieldboyce.


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ConfidentSpeak is a specialist S.T.E.M Communications & Coaching Consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland. We work with leading Irish and international companies and executives at home and abroad. Contact us for details on our range of  corporate/private programmes for executives, sales teams and technical professionals.

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