Power Poses & Why Methodological Criticism ≠ Bullying

A recent in-depth article in the New York Times dug into the controversy surrounding Amy Cuddy, the research on ‘Power Poses’, and subsequent failures to replicate the research. The piece by Susan Dominus was nuanced and provided a decent summary of the criticisms leveled at the research and how it was oversold. However, the primary goal of the article seemed to be in offering a sympathetic profile of Cuddy, detailing her sincerity/professionalism, and highlighting that some of the attacks she had received veered into abuse, bullying, and misogyny.

The article raises valid concerns about the treatment of women online and in male dominated academic circles. However, where I think it misses the mark is in the tendency to equate thorough methodical critique with vindictive bullying. I was heartened to see that I was not the only person to think so, as this excellent article in Slate by Simine Vazier makes clear. Vazier’s article is worth reading in full but for some personal highlights: (more…)