Social psychologist Amy Cuddy, an assistant professor at Harvard Business School, uses experimental methods to investigate how people judge each other and themselves. Her research suggests that judgments along two critical trait dimensions – warmth/trustworthiness and competence/power – shape social interactions, determining such outcomes as who gets hired and who doesn’t, when we are more or less likely to take risks, why we admire, envy, or disparage certain people, elect politicians, or even target minority groups for genocide.
Cuddy’s recent work focuses on how we embody and express these two traits, linking our body language to our hormone levels, our feelings, and our behavior. Her latest research illuminates how “faking” body postures that convey competence and power (“power posing”) – even for as little as two minutes — changes our testosterone and cortisol levels, increases our appetite for risk, causes us to perform better in job interviews, and generally configures our brains to cope well in stressful situations. In short, as David Brooks summarized the findings, “If you act powerfully, you will begin to think powerfully.”
She has published her work in top academic journals and has received early career awards from the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues and the Association for Psychological Science. Her research has been covered on CNN, MSNBC, by the New York Times, Financial Times, Time Magazine, Boston Globe, and Wall Street Journal, among other news outlets. Cuddy and her research were featured in Harvard Business Review’s Top Twenty Breakthrough Ideas for 2009, and as the cover story in the Nov-Dec 2010 issue of Harvard Magazine.
Cuddy teaches courses on Power & Influence, Leadership, and Negotiations. In past lives, she was a ballet dancer, a Deadhead, a roller skating waitress, and a brain injury patient (independent events). In her current life, she continues to dance and to enjoy live music.