Amy Cuddy Profile

  • Cuddy is a social psychologist who earned a P.h.D. at Princeton University.

  • Cuddy's 2012 TED Talk, “Your Body Language May Shape Who You Are,” is the second-most popular of all time, with more than 70 million views.

  • NYT bestselling author of Presence, which has sold more than half a million copies and been published in 35 languages.
  • Dr. Amy Cuddy is a social psychologist, bestselling author, and acclaimed keynote speaker. Her writing, research, teaching, and speaking focus on how we can take control of our own thoughts and feelings to affect presence and performance under stress, the causes and outcomes of feeling powerful vs. powerless, our own prejudices and stereotypes, nonverbal behavior, and the delicate balance of projecting both our trustworthiness and our strength.

    Cuddy earned her Ph.D. from Princeton University in 2005. Rutgers University from 2005 to 2006. She served as a full-time professor at Harvard Business School (2008-2017), Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management (2006-2008), and Rutgers University (2005-2006). As a Harvard Lecturer in 2018, she won an Excellence in Teaching award.

    Her 2012 TED Talk, “Your Body Language May Shape Who You Are,” has more than 65 million views and is the second-most viewed of all time. Her NYT bestseller Presence, described in the NYT Sunday Book Review as “concrete and inspiring, simple but ambitious – above all, truly powerful,” has sold more than half a million copies and been published in 35 languages. In 2025, she will publish her next book, Bullies, Bystanders, & Bravehearts (HarperCollins), on the psychology of adult bullying — and how we find the courage to stop it.

    For over 20 years, she has rigorously researched stereotyping and prejudice, nonverbal behavior, and presence and performance under stress. Cuddy’s doctoral dissertation at Princeton University presented a paradigm-shifting scientific model that has become one of the most cited theories in social psychology — and has ultimately changed psychologists’ understanding of the nature and mechanics of prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination and even more broadly, how we form first impressions of each other. In short, her research revealed that (1) people immediately evaluate each other on two dimensions: warmth/trustworthiness and competence/strength; and (2) these evaluations, accurate or not, powerfully direct how feel about and interact with each other. This theory has changed both academic and popular thinking on leadership, marketing, and diversity and inclusion. In 2022, Amy and her co-authors on this work, Profs. Susan Fiske and Peter Glick, were honored with the Scientific Impact Award, which is given annually to the most impactful paper in social psychology over the previous 25 years.

    Her highly-cited research has been published in top academic journals, including the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences  (PNAS), Science, and Psychological Science, and a range of internationally-known publications, like The Economist, The Guardian, Wall Street Journal, Wired, and Fast Company. She has been a guest on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert, The Today Show, CBS This Morning, and BBC World News, among others. Cuddy also has written for The New York TimesThe Boston GlobeHarvard Business Review, and CNN.

    Early in her college career, at age 19, the gifted Cuddy suffered a traumatic brain injury in a car accident. Doctors said she would struggle to fully regain her mental capacity and finish her undergraduate degree. She proved them wrong, eventually going on to earn her doctorate from Princeton in 2005.

    Her remarkable road to recovery, battle against imposter syndrome, and ultimate ascension has become a foundational part of her journey as a social scientist. It’s also a facet of her life that resonates powerfully with a strikingly broad range of people.

    Cuddy has been honored with numerous awards over her esteemed career. Among the most prominent, she has been named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, one of 50 Women Changing the World by Business Insider, a Top 50 Management Thinker by Thinkers50, and one of the BBC 100 Women, honoring inspiring and influential women around the world. She has also received the Harvard Excellence in Teaching Award and the Scientific Impact Award from the Society for Experimental Social Psychology.

    Cuddy is currently writing her second book, Bullies, Bystanders, and Bravehearts, which delves into the psychological causes and consequences of bullying among adults – a pervasive and often devastating problem. Propelled by extraordinary new insights, she’ll share the concrete steps that we must all take to move toward social bravery in our daily lives and broader culture, concluding that we all have the power to become bravehearts.

    Amy is an avid skier and roller skater (In fact, she worked as a roller-skating waitress when she was an undergraduate), was a serious classically-trained ballet dancer, and remains a loyal Deadhead and lover of live music. She most enjoys spending time with her husband and son in the mountains, on the ocean, and at live music concerts.

    Amy Cuddy Speaking Videos

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    Amy Cuddy's Speech Descriptions

    Personal Power & Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges

    Many of our biggest challenges call for us to be calmly confident, focused, and open to hearing others. Too often, we approach these high-pressure interactions with fear, execute with anxiety and distraction, and leave with regret. Based on her best-selling book Presence, Amy draws from psychology and neuroscience research, personal narratives, and her own challenges, focusing on:

    - What holds us back from being present and effective in these challenging situations?
    - How does feeling powerless (vs. powerful) affect our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, in turn undermining our ability to be smart, creative, attentive, and effective when we most need to be?
    - How do we retrain our nervous systems to liberate us — rather than inhibit us — in these moments?
    - How does our own presence help others to be present — and facilitate the building of trust in stressful interactions?
    - What does powerful vs. powerless body language look like?
    - Can we adapt our own body language — breathing, speech patterns, simple and complex posture, and movement — to directly affect how powerful we feel (and how powerful we appear to others)?

    Audiences will be moved and inspired, leaving Amy’s keynote with a fresh, life-changing perspective on themselves and their interactions, and a concrete and immediately-actionable set of simple techniques to harness their own personal power and presence, freeing them to perform and interact at their very best — and empower others to do the same.

    The Science and Social Impact of Bravery — and How We Can Use it to End Bullying

    Social media is a rocket fuel for our worst impulses, says Amy Cuddy, exacerbating incivility and bullying among adults both online and offline. But the same psychological mechanisms that elicit bullying – tribalism, the influence of norms, and desire for status – can just as easily be used to decrease bullying and increase bravery. The same human tendencies that are activated for bad, argues Cuddy, can be activated for good.

    “Now, more than any other time, we have the science – and the stories – to build a brand-new program to fight against this menace,” Cuddy says.

    In this talk, based on her forthcoming book, Bullies, Bystanders, and Bravehearts (HarperCollins, 2025) she covers the staggering psychological, physical, and socio-economic costs of bullying to individuals, organizations, and societies – and the unprecedented and surprising opportunities we have to engage in and lead through social bravery. She compellingly demonstrates that when we understand the psychology of these dynamics, virtually all of us will have the power to be bravehearts, rather than passive bystanders.

    A renowned social psychologist, Cuddy shares an acute combination of scientific expertise and first-hand experience, drawing both from her personal journey and the stories of others to communicate important human truths.

    Identity and Intergroup Conflict: Exploring the Anatomy of Bias in a Divided World

    For more than twenty years, Amy Cuddy has been studying and writing about intergroup bias and the psychological underpinnings of how we judge and treat others.

    She breaks down who and why we envy, pity, admire, and hate. Why do we bend over backwards to help some people – while turning a blind eye to the mistreatment of others? Why do we assume some people will be allies and others, predators? And how do those feelings and interactions affect how we see ourselves, and how we feel and behave in the future?

    As her primary area of research, Cuddy draws from a deep well of knowledge and science to present a powerful and provocative evidence-based discussion that helps audiences understand how bigotry often plays a starring role in prejudice and workplace mobbing.

    Our biases – whether simple or complex – impact the quality of our interactions and our productivity at work, says Cuddy. With potency and warmth, she shares with audiences how to reject and transcend stereotypes that divide and disempower, so that we can band together to categorically reject harassment and bullying at work.

    What People are Saying about Seeing Amy Speak

    Rating Entries

    “Amy infused our Women@Goodwin event with energy, passion and levity as she talked about presence! She was such a gem and a pure joy to work with and was lovely to every member of our 200+ person audience – she took photos and signed books of every single person who was queued up to meet with her. We hope to have the opportunity to work with Amy again!”

    “She was great! People were raving about her for hours! She was super easy to work with, arrived early, hung out and really did a killer job!”

    “Amy was fantastic. She was great to work with beforehand and her closing keynote was a wonderful message with several ideas our attendees can implement in their school districts. She received a well-deserved standing ovation.”

    “I wanted to reach out on behalf of all of us at Automotive News to thank Amy Cuddy for a fantastic Automotive News Leading Women Conference. It was an outstanding event, with a sold-out, interested and engaged audience that really enjoyed her presentation. Words that kept popping up in relation to her and her presentation in our survey responses were “authentic,” “sincere,” “engaging,” and “real.” She knocked it out of the park. And the book signing afterwards was a huge success!”

    “So powerful to hear personal experiences from someone who is also so well versed in their field, and Amy just seems so down to earth and approachable. Everything she spoke about from imposter syndrome to bullying to being our best most confident version of ourselves resonated in some way.”

    “Amy was the perfect person for all of us to hear right now. These times have been challenging and her talking points were a good reminder of how we can stay strong and help others stay strong. Amy’s talk left me feeling energized and motivated to be my most authentic self and be present at work while helping others do the same.”

    “Amy Cuddy was a true inspiration to our audience and a joy to watch. Her work is interesting and relatable, and her presentation resonated with our attendees.”

    “WOW! Memorable, relevant, articulate, energizing.”

    “Amy Cuddy focused on her research of body language and how it changes people’s perceptions of us and also the outcomes that occur in our lives. But most importantly, body positioning can shape the way we see ourselves and how that may impact our confidence levels.”

    “Amy Cuddy was a true inspiration to our audience and a joy to watch. Her work is interesting and relatable, and her presentation resonated with our attendees.”

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    Books by Amy Cuddy:

    Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges

    Have you ever left a nerve-racking challenge and immediately wished for a do over? Maybe after a job interview, a performance, or a difficult conversation? The very moments that require us to be genuine and commanding can instead cause us to feel phony and powerless. Too often we approach our lives’ biggest hurdles with dread, execute them with anxiety, and leave them with regret.

    By accessing our personal power, we can achieve “presence,” the state in which we stop worrying about the impression we’re making on others and instead adjust the impression we’ve been making on ourselves. As Harvard professor Amy Cuddy’s revolutionary book reveals, we don’t need to embark on a grand spiritual quest or complete an inner transformation to harness the power of presence. Instead, we need to nudge ourselves, moment by moment, by tweaking our body language, behavior, and mind-set in our day-to-day lives.

    Amy Cuddy has galvanized tens of millions of viewers around the world with her TED talk about “power poses.” Now she presents the enthralling science underlying these and many other fascinating body-mind effects, and teaches us how to use simple techniques to liberate ourselves from fear in high-pressure moments, perform at our best, and connect with and empower others to do the same.

    Brilliantly researched, impassioned, and accessible, Presence is filled with stories of individuals who learned how to flourish during the stressful moments that once terrified them. Every reader will learn how to approach their biggest challenges with confidence instead of dread, and to leave them with satisfaction instead of regret.

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