Body language (Kinesics) is a remarkable means of communication that tells our environment a great deal about ourselves. But how to interpret the signs of this nonverbal behaviour? Arms or legs are crossed, backs hunched or extremities sprawled, hands rest upon hips, hair is twirled around fingers or clothes are being preened (imaginary lint brushed off) awkwardly. What do those signals and postures, that largely depend on an individual’s emotional state, express? Or give away…? In her talk, social psychologist Amy Cuddy explains the implications of power posing – how standing in a posture of confidence, even when we are feeling small – can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain. Body language not only affects other people’s perceptions about us. It may even influence our body chemistry and change our own view upon ourselves. Amy Cuddy’s Talk was viewed by more than 18 million people.
Amy’s career is none of the usual kind, and if the word perseverance is justified in any context, it’s with her! Even though she was rated intellectually gifted as a child, fate hadn’t meant for her to become a successful scientist just in her stride. In a car accident at the age of nineteen, she suffered a head injury so severe that doctors doubted she would fully regain her mental capacity to accomplish her undergraduate years.
She proved them wrong! Today, Amy Cuddy is a professor and researcher at Harvard Business School. She studies how nonverbal behavior and snap judgments affect people from the classroom to the boardroom. Classical dance, another skill she perfected after her injury, helped develop her fascinating work on power posing.
Copyright header photo: Christina Feyerke