Amy Cuddy TED Talk Review

Author: Alyssa Hui

In this particular talk, Amy Cuddy focused on her research of body language and how it changes people’s perceptions of us and also the outcomes that occur in our lives. But most importantly, body positioning can shape the way we see ourselves and how that may impact our confidence levels.

She conducted an experiment where participants were to act out different body positions. The positions were referred to as high-power positions and low-power positions. Participants that conducted high-power positions revealed higher levels of testosterone and lower levels of cortisol (stress). Those that conducted low-power positions revealed lower levels of testosterone and higher levels of cortisol (stress). This experiment revealed that just by standing in a high-power position (like a superwoman stance) for about two minutes, a person can feel a lot more confident, assertive and dominant in certain social situations.

Cuddy also shared another research experiment revolving around these poses. She focused on an interview situation. Participants would do either a high-power or low-power pose before the interview. Those that did high-power poses before the interview showed more confidence, optimism, enthusiasm and authenticity during the interview whereas those who did not do high-power positions did not show this as much. Therefore, based on these responses, the interviewee was more likely to choose/hire those that did high power poses before the interview.

She shared her personal experience with the audience which drove the whole message home. When she was younger she was in a traumatic car accident which put her out of college for a few years. She had to catch up to her peers during this time and had to prove to those around her that she belonged wherever she was. She always felt like she was a fraud or a fake. Her message was to fake it till you become it. That is what she did and she realized that as she continued to fake it, she slowly became whatever it was that she wanted. Whether it was a sense of belonging in a particular institution or a sense of belonging in social atmospheres.

By doing high-power poses, which are small tweaks in our lives, we can make huge changes in the way we present ourselves and how we feel about ourselves. Doing these poses can allow us to feel more confident, assertive and optimistic.

I would agree with Amy Cuddy, I think her message is very powerful and her research clearly demonstrates change. I could relate to her experiences and emotions of not belonging in certain situations. What is important to take away is to understand how your actions are impacting the way you see yourself. By having a more dominant position, you can feel more confident in situations like group projects or an interview. I enjoyed listening to Cuddy’s TED talk. I learned about who she is, what she does and why her research is important for students like myself to be engaging in.