Amy Cuddy

Power posing

Amy Cuddy is an American social psychologist known for her studies of the relations between stereotyping and behavior. She is Associate Professor in the Negotiation, Organizations & Markets Unit at Harvard Business School. Cuddy studies the origins and outcomes of how people judge and influence each other.

She has conducted experimental and correlational research on stereotyping and discrimination against various groups (e.g., Asian Americans, elderly people, Latinos, working mothers), the causes and consequences of feeling ambivalent emotions (e.g., envy and pity), nonverbal behavior and communication, and hormonal responses to social stimuli. She is a sought-after speaker on the psychology of power, influence, nonverbal communication, and prejudice.

Cuddy holds a PhD in Social Psychology from Princeton University, a MA in Social Psychology from Princeton University and BA in Social Psychology from the University of Colorado. Prior to joining Harvard Business School, Professor Cuddy was an Assistant Professor at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, where she taught leadership in organizations in the MBA program and research methods in the doctoral program; and an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Rutgers University, where she taught undergraduate social psychology. At Harvard Business School, she has taught MBA courses on negotiation, and power and influence, and in numerous executive education programs.

Along with Susan Fiske (Princeton University) and Peter Glick (Lawrence University), Cuddy developed the Stereotype Content Model (SCM) and the Behaviors from Intergroup Affect and Stereotypes (BIAS) Map, which focus on judgments of other people and groups along two core trait dimensions, warmth and competence, and how these judgments shape and motivate our social emotions, intentions, and behaviors.

Cuddy’s research with Dana Carney (UC-Berkeley) focuses on how nonverbal expressions of power (i.e., expansive, open, space-occupying postures) affect people’s feelings, behaviors, and hormone levels. In particular, their research shows that ‘faking’ body postures associated with dominance and power (power posing)– even for as little as two minutes—increases people’s testosterone, decreases their cortisol, increases their appetite for risk, and causes them to perform better in job interviews. In short, as David Brooks summarized the findings, ‘If you act powerfully, you will begin to think powerfully.’

Cuddy grew up in a very small Pennsylvania Dutch town. She is a classically trained ballet dancer and worked as a roller-skating waitress when she was an undergraduate at the University of Colorado at Boulder. When she was a sophomore in college she sustained a serious head injury in a car accident. Her doctors told her she was not likely to fully recover and should anticipate significant challenges finishing her undergraduate degree.

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