Researchers at the University of Cambridge think that feeling like you have a lower social status might have an adaptive quality that affects the way you perceive the physical world. They surveyed volunteers to find out how much social power they felt they had, then asked them to guess the weight of various boxes. Those who felt less powerful thought the boxes were much heavier than those who felt more powerful did. Even assuming a weak, submissive posture led to overestimations of weight versus taking on a dominant power pose. The study authors posit that the perception changes could protect us from taking on more than we can handle, leading us to exercise more caution and to conserve our own resources.

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