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Sunday, February 10, 2013

TED talk reviewed: "Your body language shapes who you are"

My mom's been infatuated with TED videos lately. She sent me this one a few days back and said I should definitely watch it. I obligingly did, and it was one of the best TED talks I've seen. 

The speaker in the video, Amy Cuddy, is a highly qualified professor and researcher at Harvard Business School (source: ted.com) She studies how "non-verbal behaviour and snap judgements affect people from the classroom to the boardroom", which she referred to immensely in her TED talk.

Cuddy discusses how body language is  one of the strongest indicator in confidence or insecurity. If you're feeling particularly powerful, you might have your chest out, feet apart and facing outward, chin up, etc. Sure, we've all heard this before. But what makes Cuddy's case so intriguing is that the relationship between body language and self-confidence works both ways. She observes that putting your body in a "power pose" for a couple of minutes will increase testosterone (upping your confidence) and decrease cortisol (lowering your stress levels). Accordingly, positioning yourself in a low-power pose (shoulders hunched, body caving inward  arms together) for a few minutes will have the opposite effect on your testosterone and cortisol levels.

Cuddy advices that before a stress-inducing event such as an exam or a job interview, you should place yourself in these power poses (discussed in the video below) as it will noticeably improve your self-confidence. Personally, I found this to be a fascinating link between our physical bodies and the way our brain works. It is incredible the sort of research Cuddy has done and I definitely hope she and other researchers further their experiments to find more relationships between body language and our psyche.

Feel free to check out an earlier post of mine regarding a TED talk on "The art of choosing"! It is another amazing talk that you can't miss. 
Happy watching!

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