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Matthew Snyder
Margaret Stewart
March 8th 2016
Your Body language Shapes Who You Are
How one reacts to any given situation, says a lot about who you are,
as an individual. In this 21 minute TedTalk delivered by Amy Cuddy, an
American social psychologist, author and lecturer, discusses the issue of how
your body language is able to shape your personality. She includes graphic
pictures throughout her speech that clearly explains whatever it is shes talking
about and studies that back up her facts. Her overall purpose of coming out to a
TedGlobal in June of 2012, was to both inform the audience on both basic and
complicated non-verbal gestures, and secondly to persuade them to assert
confidence in themselves throughout everyday life.
Amy begins by involving her audience by asking them to evaluate
themselves how their posture. She goes through the basic body positions such
as: crossing of the ankles, the grabbing of your own arms, an ankle rested on the
knee etc. Next, she discusses how, as a society, we enjoy to study and critique
the interactions between people through the Internet. We can relate language to
those certain interactions, which in turn allows us to communicate with each
other in non-verbal actions. These non-verbal interactions have the ability to
create judgment; these judgments can be a factor in whom we hire or even who

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we ask out on a date. Her main point is that how you speak is just a tiny fraction
of who you seem to be through someone elses eyes.
With a topic involving the reviewing of body movements and their
universality, studies must be presented to validate information. Amy discusses a
case from Nalini Ambady, a social psychologist and a leading expert on

nonverbal behavior and interpersonal perception, where she studied 30second soundless clips from interactions between their patients. These
studies concluded that physicians were sued based off the niceness towards
their patients rather that their incompetence. She reminds us the people judging
your non-verbal actions, arent the only ones doing so. We ourselves are
influenced by our non-verbals, which include our thoughts, feelings, and
physiology. She speaks briefly about her current jobs and studies, mainly to
move in to her topic of personal interest.
The animal kingdom and how it reacts to power is something that clearly
interests her. She shows her interest through a high verbal pitch and a bit more
of a pace when she speaks. Mainly, she focuses on the animals and their
similarities in how us humans react to situations. Animals, whether small or large,
tend to open up to express themselves. This is true for humans as well. She
proves this through several photographs of mammals to amphibians. When given
power or feeling powerful, you open up to feel confident and give yourself the
sense of feeling larger than others. Olympic runners, for example, have had a
universal celebration when crossing the finish line of the biggest win of their

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careers. They lean out; arms extended in a V formation with their head tilted
back, and chin up strong proving dominance. This has even been proven with
blind people completing a physical activity. Individuals, who have never even
seen a celebration, give off the same response as those that have competed in
competitions for centuries. As you would expect, the reaction is opposite when
feeling small. The body tenses up and shortens as if you were attempting to be
untouched or unseen.
Amy showed many strengths and weaknesses. When discussing
informative facts, she frequently used filler words such as um, uh and like as
if she struggled to remember a script. A noticeable breath through the nose was
obvious but understandable. It was clear that she gained confidence when she
spoke about topics she had passion for. When confident, she had more
movement and used her hands frequently to get her point across. On the other
hand, her hand movements were excessive and served little to no purpose at
times.
Amy Cuddy has endless qualifications and terrific credibility of her speech
given in June of 2012. Mistakes were few, some even unnoticeable. She made a
topic of great complexity; seem easy, which is no easy task. References were
made to personal assumptions and actions of the crowd and were backed up
with proven studies of everyday life. Her presentation may have been bland but
moved the point across in a professional manner with no distractions. This

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particular speech is currently ranked second on most viewed TedTalks of all time,
sitting at 32 million views.

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Bibliography
https://www.ted.com/talks/amy_cuddy_your_body_language_shapes_who
_you_are

http://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Pages/profile.aspx?facId=491042

http://ambadylab.stanford.edu/ambady.html