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Size Matters

It’s true. The size of your device impacts your sense of personal power.

Amy Cuddy, social psychologist, and presenter of the second most popular TED Talk of all time, Your Body Language May Shape Who You Are, conducted some fascinating research demonstrating that device size matters. Research subjects were divided into three groups. Each group was asked to perform the same task but on different-sized devices -

1) big desktop computer,

2) tablet-sized device, and

3) a little smartphone.

Each subject was told that the experimenter would return at a certain time. They didn’t return as indicated. The scientific query, does the size of the device affect the assertiveness of the user?


94% of the desktop users not only sought out the experimenter to say they wanted to

leave but did so more quickly than the mere 50% of smartphone users who acted.

The explanation for the increased assertiveness of the bigger device operators was that

their instrument allowed more expansive postures whereas the smaller devices required

user contraction. Simply put, we naturally feel more powerful when our bodies are

expanded and powerless in a shrunken condition.

Posture check. What’s your body language telling your brain right now about your personal power level? If you’re taking up less space, slouching with your head hanging forward, arms in tight, hands close to your body, and legs together then you have assumed the iHunch.

Indeed, the low power, shrunken state assumed when poking away on your smartphone has been scientifically labelled “iHunch”.

Coined by Cuddy and her team of researchers, the concern with the iHunch is that the

use of our tiny devices may be decreasing our levels of assertiveness and negatively

impacting the very productivity that we hope to enhance.

Their research shows that we naturally feel more powerful when we expand our bodies.

The problem then, I would argue, is not really the size of the device but rather its

unconscious use. Consumed by the digital environment, we lose our sense of self,.

Reclaiming power is to reclaim the physical space of our bodies. Withdraw from full

immersion in the world around. Be mindfully aware of your body.

The mindfulness practice of the complete breath can support your return to rule. Focus

on breathing into the space below your belly button. Allow this breath to expand upward

into the side ribs and continue rising to the collarbones. Relax on the exhale.

Don’t overdo it. Gently expand from the bottom up, comfortably rising to your full height.

Watch here how Clark Kent reveals Superman in as little as 11 seconds. Who are you

hiding within?

Feeling the presence of life, the breath, in all the nooks and crannies of your body is the

base fare to awakening your full potential.

“Stand up straight and realize who you are, that you tower over circumstances.” ~ Maya


Paul Larmer is a mindfulness coach, personal trainer and professional speaker. Book a

session for yourself or your team at

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