Amy Cuddy

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Amy Cuddy
Amy J. C. Cuddy. Photo by Evgenia Eliseeva
Born 1972 (age 42–43)
Nationality American
Institutions Rutgers University
Kellogg School of Management
Harvard Business School
Alma mater University of Colorado
Princeton University
Thesis The bias map: behavior from intergroup affect and stereotypes (2005)
Doctoral advisor Susan Fiske

Amy Joy Casselberry Cuddy (born 1972) is an American social psychologist known for her research on stereotyping and discrimination, emotions, power, nonverbal behavior, and the effects of social stimuli on hormone levels. She is an Associate Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, in the Negotiation, Organizations & Markets Unit.[1] Her TED talk, delivered at TEDGlobal 2012 in Edinburgh, Scotland, and posted in October 2012, has been viewed more than 27 million times and ranks second among the most-viewed TED talks.[2][3]

Cuddy studies the origins and outcomes of how people judge and influence each other. She has done experimental and correlational research on stereotyping and discrimination (e.g., against 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 speaks about the psychology of power, influence, nonverbal communication, and prejudice.[4][5][6]


Cuddy holds a PhD in Social Psychology from Princeton University, an MA in Social Psychology from Princeton University and a BA in Social Psychology from the University of Colorado.

Prior to joining Harvard Business School, Cuddy was an Assistant Professor at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University,[7] 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, as well as executive education courses.


Along with Susan Fiske and Peter Glick (Lawrence University), Cuddy developed the Stereotype Content Model (SCM) [8] and the Behaviors from Intergroup Affect and Stereotypes (BIAS) Map. [9] These are used to make judgments of other people and groups within two core trait dimensions, warmth and competence, and to discern how these judgments shape and motivate our social emotions, intentions, and behaviors. [10] This work has been cited over 9000 times.

Power posing[edit]

Cuddy carried out an experiment with Dana Carney and Andy Yap [11] (UC-Berkeley) on how nonverbal expressions of power (i.e., expansive, open, space-occupying postures)[12] affect people’s feelings, behaviors, and hormone levels. [13] In particular, they claimed that adopting body postures associated with dominance and power (“power posing”) for as little as two minutes can increase testosterone, decrease cortisol, increase appetite for risk, and cause better performance in job interviews. This was widely reported in popular media. [14] [15] [16] David Brooks summarized the findings, “If you act powerfully, you will begin to think powerfully.” [17]

This and related research has been published in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Trends in Cognitive Sciences, Psychological Science, Research in Organizational Behavior, Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, and Science.

Replication efforts[edit]

In 2014, Eva Ranehill and other researchers tried to replicate this experiment with a larger group of participants and a double-blind setup.[18] Ranehill et al. found that power posing increased subjective feelings of power, but did not affect hormones or actual risk tolerance. They published their results in Psychological Science.[19]

Carney, Cuddy, & Yap responded in the same issue of Psychological Science,[20] with an overview of 33 published studies related to power posing, including the Ranehill et al. study. Almost all had reported significant effects of some kind. The overview noted methodological differences between their 2010 study[11] and the Ranehill replication, which may have moderated the effects of posing.[21]

Two statistics researchers at the Wharton School, Simmons & Simonsohn, later shared a meta-analysis of the same 33 studies on their statistics blog.[22] Based on the distribution of p-values reported across the studies (the 'p-curve'), they concluded that studies so far have demonstrated little to no average effect of power posing.[23] This remains a point of contention among other researchers.

Awards and honors[edit]

  • World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, 2014[24]
  • TEDGlobal Speaker, 2012[25]
  • TIME magazine ‘Game Changer’, 2012[26]
  • PopTech Annual Conference, 'Talk of the Day' October 21, 2011[27]
  • Rising Star Award, Association for Psychological Science (APS), 2011[28]
  • Psychology Today, The Top 10 Psychology Studies of 2010 (Carney, Cuddy, & Yap, 2010)
  • Cover story, Harvard Magazine, Nov-Dec, 2010
  • The HBR List: Breakthrough Ideas for 2009, Harvard Business Review[29]
  • Michele Alexander Early Career Award, Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues
  • Distinguished Alumni Award, Conrad Weiser High School, Robesonia, PA

Personal life[edit]

Cuddy grew up in a very small Pennsylvania Dutch town, Robesonia, Pennsylvania. 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.[30][31][32][33] Her doctors told her she was not likely to fully recover and should anticipate significant challenges finishing her undergraduate degree. Her IQ fell temporarily by two standard deviations,[34][35] which is about 30 points in IQ test.[36] She eventually completed her undergraduate studies and went on to earn a PhD at Princeton. Cuddy has often tweeted of her love for live music, and spent a number of seasons following the Grateful Dead. She has one son. In August 2014, in Aspen, Colorado, she married Paul Coster.


  1. ^ "Faculty and Research". Retrieved 4 April 2013. 
  2. ^ "TedTalks: Your body language shapes who you are". Retrieved 9 September 2013. 
  3. ^ "TedTalks: Most Viewed TEDTalks". Retrieved 7 August 2014. 
  4. ^ "What Your Sitting Style Says About You". TODAY Show. NBC. Retrieved 28 May 2012. 
  5. ^ "Game Changers: Amy Cuddy, Power Poser". TIME Inc. 19 March 2012. Retrieved 28 May 2012. 
  6. ^ "Body Language | Your Business". MSNBC. Retrieved 28 May 2012. 
  7. ^ "Kellog School of Management, Meet the new faculty". Kellog World, Alumni Magazine. Retrieved 23 June 2012. 
  8. ^ Cuddy, Amy J. C.; Fiske, Susan T.; Glick, Peter; Xu, Jun (June 2002). "A model of (often mixed) sterotype content: Competence and warmth respectively follow from perceived status and competition". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 82 (6): 878–902. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.82.6.878. PMID 12051578. 
  9. ^ Cuddy, Amy J. C.; Fiske, Susan T.; Glick, Peter (April 2007). "The BIAS map: Behaviors from intergroup affect and stereotypes". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 92 (4): 631–648. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.92.4.631. Retrieved 7 June 2012. 
  10. ^ Krakovsky, Marina. "Mixed Impressions: How We Judge Others on Multiple Levels". Scientific American Mind. Scientific American. Retrieved 28 May 2012. 
  11. ^ a b Carney, Dana R.; Cuddy, Amy J. C.; Yap, Andy J. (October 2010). "Power Posing – Brief Nonverbal Displays Affect Neuroendocrine Levels and Risk Tolerance". Journal of the Association for Psychological Science 21 (10): 1363–1368. doi:10.1177/0956797610383437. PMID 20855902. 
  12. ^ Venton, Danielle (15 May 2012). "Power Postures Can Make You Feel More Powerful". Wired. Retrieved 28 May 2012. 
  13. ^ "Boost Power Through Body Language". HBR Blog Network. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved 28 May 2012. 
  14. ^ Buchanan, Leigh. "Leadership Advice: Strike a Pose". Inc.Magazine. Retrieved 28 May 2012. 
  15. ^ Baron, Neil. "Power Poses: Tweaking Your Body Language for Greater Success". Expert Perspective. Fast Company. Retrieved 28 May 2012. 
  16. ^ Halverson, Ph.D., Heidi Grant. "Feeling Timid and Powerless? Maybe It's How You Are Sitting". The Science of Success. Psychology Today. Retrieved 28 May 2012. 
  17. ^ Brooks, David (20 April 2011). "Matter Over Mind". The Opinion Pages (The New York Times). 
  18. ^ Where the original experiment had 42 subjects (21 in each condition), Ranehill et al had 200. The experimenters were kept unaware of which condition each subject was in to avoid experimenter bias.
  19. ^ Ranehill, E.; Dreber, A.; Johannesson, M.; Leiberg, S.; Sul, S.; Weber, R. A. (25 March 2015). "Assessing the Robustness of Power Posing: No Effect on Hormones and Risk Tolerance in a Large Sample of Men and Women". Psychological Science 26 (5): 653–656. doi:10.1177/0956797614553946. ISSN 0956-7976. 
  20. ^ Carney, D. R.; Cuddy, A. J. C.; Yap, A. J. (3 April 2015). "Review and Summary of Research on the Embodied Effects of Expansive (vs. Contractive) Nonverbal Displays". Psychological Science 26 (5): 657–663. doi:10.1177/0956797614566855. ISSN 0956-7976. 
  21. ^ The overview concluded, "The work of Ranehill et al. joins a body of research that includes 33 independent experiments published with a total of 2,521 research participants. Together, these results may help specify when nonverbal expansiveness will and will not cause embodied psychological changes."
  22. ^ Simmons, J. & Simonsohn, U. (2015). Power Posing: Reassessing the Evidence Behind the Most Popular ted Talk.
  23. ^ They suggested publication bias as a possible explanation: "e.g., labs that run studies that worked wrote them up, labs that run studies that didn’t, didn’t."
  24. ^ "Young Global Leaders 2014 - World Economic Forum". Retrieved 2015-07-30. 
  25. ^ "TEDGlobal". Program Speakers, 2012. Retrieved 7 June 2012. 
  26. ^ Cuddy, Amy (19 March 2012). "Game Changers, Innovators and problem solvers that are inspiring change in America". TIME Specials (TIME, Inc.). Retrieved 23 June 2012. 
  27. ^ "PopTech Annual Conference". 'Talk of the Day', October 21, 2011. Retrieved 7 June 2012. 
  28. ^ "Rising Star Award, 2011". Association for Psychological Science (APS). 
  29. ^ "Harvard Business Review". The HBR List: Breakthrough Ideas for 2009. Retrieved 7 June 2012. 
  30. ^ "Amy Cuddy, Power Poser". Game Changers (TIME Inc.). 19 March 2012. Retrieved 29 May 2012. 
  31. ^ "What Your Sitting Style Says About You". TODAY Show, May 21, 2012. NBC. Retrieved 29 May 2012. 
  32. ^ Brooks, David. "Matter Over Mind". The Opinion Pages. The New York Times. Retrieved 28 May 2012. 
  33. ^ Lambert, Craig. "The Psyche on Automatic: Amy Cuddy Probes Snap Judgements, Warm Feelings, and How to Become an 'Alpha Dog'". Cover Story. Harvard Magazine. Retrieved 29 May 2012. 
  34. ^ "Ted Talks: Your body language shapes who you are". Retrieved 4 April 2013. 
  35. ^ Brooks, David (20 April 2011). "Matter Over Mind". The Opinion Pages (The New York Times). Retrieved 4 April 2013. 
  36. ^ Intelligence quotient

External links[edit]