Power Poses Exhibit

People go through moments where they feel self-conscious or powerless. What they don’t know is that they can change how they feel. A TED talk by Amy Cuddy addresses what people can do to feel more powerful.

This project embodies the talk, but as an interactive exhibit concept. Ultimately, this aims to demonstrate the placebo effect and show people that they have control over how they feel.

  • skills focused on
  • UX Design
  • UI Design
  • Prototype Animation
  • Storytelling



Testosterone —  the dominance hormone
generates feeling of power

Cortisol —  the stress hormone
generates feeling of nervousness

A group of researchers at Harvard University conducted an experiment on how personal body language affects people’s minds.

Different poses affected our brain’s production of chemicals.

High Power Poses —  

Increase in testosterone
Decrease in cortisol

Low Power Poses —  

Decrease in testosterone
Increase in cortisol

"As evidence has come in over these past 2+ years, my views have updated to reflect the evidence. As such, I do not believe that 'power pose' effects are real."

Dana Carney

However, the experiment was heavily criticized.

Other researchers disapproved of their subjects’ reports being a significant part of the data and of having too small of a sample size.

One of the original researchers even declared later that the experiment did not prove anything.

User Flow

Even though the experiment was a failure, it still worked for some people. For those who will benefit from this message, I want to make a museum experience that ultimately mirrors the experiment, but people will be given all of the knowledge so they can see and understand what is happening to them.


Changing your body by doing poses can temporarily change the chemicals produced by your brain.

Doing powerful poses can give you a confidence boost. On the other hand, holding poses that are considered “weak” can make you feel weaker.

Users should be aware of what kind of poses they make and how powerful they feel. Then understand that they can control it by changing their body language.


  • Introduction
  • Initiate
  • Fetch Data
  • Closing Statement

I wanted to create an experience that stresses the user's agency and self reflection. To do this, the user, themself, is displayed on the screen and they control the exhibit through full-body interaction.

Within a few moments after the user has been recognized, the main display transitions in and the exhibit starts recording data from the user.

As users pose their body to match the ones displayed on top of the screen, they will see corresponding experiment data as well as how they are responding to the pose.

After cycling through all poses, the exhibition reveals that the experiment did not necessarily prove anything. Any reactions in the user's body happened because of the placebo effect.

Hover over a highlighted area for more details

This first sentence aims to hook users by addressing the problem immediately.

A mirror image of the user is displayed when they step into frame.

Floating energy particles represent the user's testosterone and cortisol levels.

Matching the displayed poses will bring up the experiment data corresponding to that pose.

The user's testosterone and cortisol levels are recorded and displayed in real time.

Simple slope graphs show the difference between each subject's hormone levels before and after the experiment.

A visual change in the user's image signifies whether their current pose is a high or low power pose.

Poses that were not used in the experiment bring up fake data, emphasizing the presence of the placebo effect.

The user's hormone levels are recorded throughout their experience showing how they are reacting to different poses.

This last sentence aims to leave the user feeling more powerful and in control.

All energy particles are in the high power color to visually empower the user.


The exhibit should look like a high-tech experience to catch visitors passing by. Other visuals should empower the user but still give space for reflection.

  • vivid
  • kinetic
  • contemporary
  • pensive

Final Design


After researching the experiment, this project evolved to a degree I never would have expected. I had to prove the placebo effect, which required putting more thought into the interactions and overarching narrative of the experience. And because that's an abstract goal, I had to put more effort into creating a means to get the message across.

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