Bodily feedback: expansive and upward posture facilitates the experience of positive affect.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Most emotion theories recognise the importance of the body in expressing and constructing emotions. Focusing beyond the face, the present research adds needed empirical data on the effect of static full body postures on positive/negative affect. In Studies 1 (N = 110) and 2 (N = 79), using a bodily feedback paradigm, we manipulated postures to test causal effects on affective and physiological responses to emotionally ambiguous music. Across both studies among U.S. participants, we find the strongest support for an effect of bodily postures that are expansive and oriented upward on positive affect. In addition, an expansive and upward pose also led to greater cardiac vagal reactivity but these changes in parasympathetic activity were not related to affective changes (Study 2). In line with embodied theories, these results provide additional support for the role of postural input in constructing affect. Discussion highlights the relevance of these findings for the study of religious practices during which the postures studied are often adopted.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Van Cappellen, P; Ladd, KL; Cassidy, S; Edwards, ME; Fredrickson, BL

Published Date

  • August 2022

Published In

Start / End Page

  • 1 - 16

PubMed ID

  • 35924432

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1464-0600

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0269-9931

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1080/02699931.2022.2106945


  • eng