Tag Archives: TED

The Psyche on Automatic by Amy Cuddy

Warmth and competence. That is what social psychologist Amy Cuddy says we use  in our automatic judgments of others and allows us to group people into one of four categories:



Cuddy also discusses nonverbal cues and indicates that we feel very weary of others when their verbal and nonverbal cues aren’t synchronized.

Cuddy delivers a very interesting TED talk in which she says that just a couple minutes of a “power pose” can raise our testosterone and lower our cortisol levels. These open and expansive postures indicate dominance and competence and lower our stress levels. There is a back and forth interaction where our perceived dominance affects our hormones but our hormones also affect our perceived dominance. If an alpha is somehow removed, within days the next highest alpha will undergo these hormonal changes.

She finishes with the following advice, “…it’s rarely a good idea to strive to show everyone that you’re the smartest guy in the room: that person tends to be less creative, and less cognitively open to other ideas and people…the goal should be connecting. When people give a speech or lead a meeting…they tend to exaggerate the importance of words. They care too much about content and delivering it with precision. That makes them sound scripted. It is much better to come into a room, be trusting, connect with the audience wherever they are, and then move them with you.”

This article is well worth the read if you’re at all interested in how to become more confident, how to better utilize verbal and nonverbal cues to indicate competence and warmth, understand how and why others instinctively judge you and how to avoid incorrectly grouping and stereotyping people.

My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey by Jill Bolte Taylor


  1. Jill Bolte Taylor’s My Stroke of Insight discusses the “chronological documentation of the journey I took into the formless abyss of a silent mind, where the essence of my being became enfolded in a deep inner peace.” She suffered a massive hemorrhage in the left hemisphere of her brain and due to her unique position of being a neuroanatomist, had deep insight into her deterioration to the point where she could not walk, talk, read, write or recall any parts of her life. However, this book is not truly about her stroke but more about the beauty and resiliency of the human brain.
Key Takeaways
  1. Warning signs of STROKE – Speech, Tingling, Remember (lack of memory), Off balance, Killer headache, Eyes (problem with vision)
  2. The two hemispheres of our brain work synergistically in order to mesh together two different perceptions of the world. The right side exists only in the present and the border between yourself and the world is “softer” on this side, is more creative and is where joy is experienced, no inhibitions; left side is more organized, linear, detail oriented, divides time, it lives to weave facts and details into a story, is your ego center and is where that “voice in your head” stems from, determines our likes and dislikes, is the judge of everything
  3. She came to understand that her body functioned like a portal through which the energy of who she was was beamed into a 3D external space. “I wondered how I could have spent so many years in this body, in this form of life, and never really understood that I was just visiting here.”
  4. Without the judgmental left hemisphere, she was able to perceive herself as the perfect, whole and beautiful being that she was
  5. I paid very close attention to how energy dynamics affected me. I realized that some people brought me energy while others took it away
  6. “It still blows my mind (so to speak) that I could not see color until I was told that color was a tool I could use…the same thing was true for seeing in three dimensions.”
  7. One of the greatest lessons I learned was how to feel the physical component of emotion. Joy was a feeling in my body. peace was a feeling in my body…and most remarkably, I learned that I had the power to choose whether to hook into a feeling and prolong its presence in my body, or just let it quickly flow right out of me…Paying attention to what emotions feel like in my body has completely shaped my recovery…Nothing external to me had the power to take away my peace of heart and mind. That was completely up to me. I may not be in total control of what happens to my life, but I certainly am in charge of how I choose to perceive my experience.
  8. “My stroke of insight is that at the core of my right hemisphere consciousness is a character that is directly connected to my feeling of deep inner peace. It is completely committed to the expression of peace, love, joy and compassion in the world”
  9. You have the power to respond or not respond to any situation. Anything can trigger your anger response or whatever but after that it is your decision if you keep “hooking into this neurocircuitry” or not
  10. Take responsibility for what you attract into your life
  11. There has been nothing more powerful than realizing that I don’t have to think thoughts that bring me pain
  12. Seeing this moment, any moment, as a perfect moment is always a choice
  13. When I become conscious of what cognitive loops my brain is running, I then focus on how these loops feel physiologically inside my body. Do I feel alert? Does my chest feel tight? etc.
  14. Paying attention to your own self-talk is vitally important for our mental health
  15. Be harshly honest with yourself – how your mind and body are feeling and do not be ashamed or try to resist it. If you’re tired sleep, if you’re anxious, ask yourself why and address it
  16. Step one to experiencing inner peace is the willingness to be present in the right here, right now
What I got out of it
  1. Dr. Taylor speaks often about shutting down when she felt people were “energy vampires” or were too loud or anxious. I truly believe that everybody subconsciously registers all this and might be why we instinctively like and dislike certain people. Our subconscious tendencies such as facial expressions, body language, nervous ticks or energy, etc. can have a huge effect on how we are perceived and liked by others

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