Date of Award

Spring 2024

Degree Type



Theatre and Dance

Director of Thesis

André Megerdichian

Second Reader

Michelle P. Brown


John H. Riskind’s “appropriateness hypothesis” states that posture, positions, and gestures can be emotionally self-regulating if an individual holds a posture that is appropriate for its context. A litany of studies on power posing suggests expansive postures could increase Feelings of Power. One meta-analytic review demonstrates the “robust” significance for evidence of “power feelings, emotion, or self-esteem” due to postural feedback while cautioning researchers on the empirical invalidity of evidence for behavioral and physiological variables. A qualitative description of individuals’ experiences as they change posture, gesture, and position would direct future research on postural feedback. The current project qualitatively examines focus group and survey responses to postural feedback during creative movement exploration. Sixteen undergraduate students were recruited from Betsy Blackman Dance Program. Analysis revealed participants reported at least one instance of each main code: Body Awareness, Change of Emotion or Thought due to Change in Body (Contraction, Expansion, or Other Physical Change) and Application to Own Patterns. Some themes are unique while some are reoccurring, highlighting the complexity of postural feedback. The varying themes include, but are not limited to, Feelings of Power. Results discourage future research from narrowing its focus to Feelings of Power and suggest the possibility of intentional postural adjustment as an emotional self-regulation tool.

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© 2024, Mary C. Matthews