Imposters: The psychology of pretending to be someone you’re not: Matthew Hornsey at TEDxUQ

Imposters: The psychology of pretending to be someone you’re not: Matthew Hornsey at TEDxUQ

Translator: Ivana Krivokuća
Reviewer: Denise RQ This photo is of someone
that I went to university with here at UQ. Her name is Helen Demidenko, and she became famous
for writing this novel, “The hand that signed the paper,” which went on to win
Australia’s number one literary award. Helen said that novel was based
on conversations she’d had with her Ukrainian militants
about their experiences in World War II. Helen made quite a big deal
about her Ukrainian heritage. She’d go to multicultural festivals
in traditional dress, do Ukrainian dances.
and sing Ukrainian songs. etc. What was extraordinary about this story was that a couple of years
after the book got released, it became apparent that Helen Demidenko
was in fact Helen Darville. She wasn’t Ukrainian at all, and in fact she just completely fabricated
her entire ethnic heritage. When that news broke, she became the latest in a long
and scandalous list of imposters, people who have faked who they are
in order to get some kind of advantage. History is full of these people: women who’ve tried to pass as men, paupers who have tried to pass
as members of the royal family, and also people who have tried
to fake their race. It could be that you’re old enough now to be able to reflect
on a time in your life where maybe you’ve just stretched
the truth a little bit about your past, where you’ve allowed someone to think
that you’re someone that you’re not. If that has happened to you, you might want to just think
about that moment for a while, while I make three very quick points
about imposters. The first thing that I want to mention
was that a lot of imposters seem to be able to get away with their lie
for an extraordinary period of time, despite what seems at times
to be a smoking gun evidence that there’s something wrong. So Helen Darville was 21 before she started faking
her Ukrainian heritage. Among people who knew of her,
including myself, it was the cause of quite a bit
of puzzlement and discussion that this person suddenly had
a different name and suddenly had this never
before detected Ukrainian heritage. There must have been
literally hundreds of people who suspected her secret. All personally knew
her very British parents, and yet it took two years
before that lie got exposed. This one is called “imposter blindness.” An extraordinary example
of imposter blindness relates to the strange case
of Billy Tipton. Billy Tipton was a very talented
and successful jazz musician for many decades. It was only after he died that people
found out that he was in fact a she. This is despite the fact, mind you,
that she had four wives, None of whom suspected
that they’re in fact married to a woman. Billy went to extraordinary lengths
to protect her secret. She said that she had
this terrible accident when she was younger, and that helped to explain
the need for the bandages around the chest all the time, and it helped to explain
the need for a prosthetic penis. But all the same, this is
an incredibly exposable secret. How could you get away with a lie
of that magnitude for your entire life? Probably my favorite example
of imposter blindness relates to this woman, Hannah Snell. Hannah was a sailor and a soldier
in the British Navy in the 19th century. For most of her time,
for about four or five years, she masqueraded as a man, James Gray. And there was this dramatic anecdote
where at one point she’d been caught drinking and rabble-rousing
with mates on this naval ship, and as punishment,
she got sentenced to the lash. And of course, the lash
is delivered to a bare back. Afterwards, the captain
of the ship wrote in his log about the strange breast-like shapes
on this man’s chest, and yet, still the paint
didn’t drop, right? (Laughter) Presumably, it just lays so far outside
the realm of this guy’s imagination that a soldier in the British Navy
could possibly be a woman, that he couldn’t trust
what he was seeing with his own eyes. In some ways, I think imposter blindness speaks to a rather
charming aspect of modern society. Despite our self-image just being
really quite cynical and skeptical, people are incredibly trusting that other people are
who they say they are. As one author wrote, “It doesn’t occur to us to ask
whether that masked figure poised over our naked unconscious body
with a knife is in fact a doctor.” Just says that probably
hasn’t occurred to you to question that I am in fact an academic
at the University of Queensland. We tend to trust these things implicitly. I’ve spoken about imposter blindness. Now I want to talk
about the motives for impostorism. Not all imposters are motivated
for fame or fortune, like Helen Demidenko. Some imposters are escapologists –
they’re running away from a flawed past, and they’re trying
to rehabilitate their image and atone context of a great shame. Some imposters
are just rampant adventurers. They’re really just getting off
on the thrill of living in the world where there’s literally no obstacles
to being whoever you want to be. Some imposters, I think,
are attracted to the idea of being part of a close-knit community
that offers solidarity and offers support, and perhaps gives you a touch of sympathy
from the outside world. So that might help to explain
the vast number of people who lay false claims to being
Vietnam War veterans, for example, or World War II veterans. But some imposters
are running away from persecution. Sometimes, that really requires very dramatic and inventive
forms of impostorism. There are examples, for example,
of Jewish people in World War II who would disguise
or literally change their physiology to be able to escape
detection from the Nazis. But quite often in life,
if you want to run away from persecution, you don’t have to do anything
quite as dramatic as that. If you’re gay, for example,
to not reveal your sexuality is frequently enough
to pass as being straight. So the gay person who is closeted
can find themselves living the life of an imposter not because of what they’ve said,
not because of what they’ve done, but because of what they haven’t said
and what they haven’t done. This can have a peculiar set
of psychological consequences. There was a great study
done by Deborrah Frable and others where she tracked
all these undergraduate students at Harvard University
for a couple of weeks. Some of these students
had mild stigmas that were visible. They’re conspicuous,
so maybe they’re physically disabled or they’re stutterers,
or they’re very obese, or they’re members of racial minorities
like African-Americans. Others had mild stigmas
that were concealable, invisible: people with eating disorders,
people who are gay, people who came
from very poor backgrounds. You might expect that people
who have concealable stigmas, who can pass quite easily
to the mainstream, should fare better in this new context,
but in fact, the reverse was true. It was the people
who had the invisible stigmas, who had the opportunity
of living a double life, who did significantly worse in terms of well-being,
in terms of self-esteem, etc. This dovetails
with a whole lot of research that suggested to live the double life
is a long, lonely, and difficult path. To be forced to be out and proud
about your situation presents its own challenges, but what it does give you is the opportunity
to live an integrated life, and also it gives other people who are
like you the opportunity to find you; and those people who are like you
become this incredibly important source of self-esteem, social support,
and well-being. Another point I want to make is
that even when imposters are rogues, even when they’re scoundrels or criminals, society often holds a degree
of admiration for them. This is fond fascination for the imposter. There are dozens of films
that have been built around real life imposter stories, and in many of these films, the imposter is portrayed
as the hero or as a semi-hero. And in some ways,
that’s not entirely surprising. We live in a world where often there are
obstacles to social mobility, and then you see these people
who take this crazy risk to catapult themselves
into the social world that they’d otherwise be denied. That’s a romantic, attractive notion. Imposters can also be attractive
in the way that they highlight the vanities, the pretensions,
and the prejudices of the society in which we live. We do live in a world
which is overly impressed by superficial characteristics
like your title or your uniform. Sometimes it’s really quite thrilling to see someone
take rampant advantage of that. My favorite example of this
is the so-called Captain of Köpenick. The Captain of Köpenick
was in fact this man, Wilhelm Voigt. He was a very poor cobbler in Berlin, and he was a petty thief
who has spent half of his life in jail. But his life turned around
when he found in a second hand store the discarded uniform
of a captain in the Prussian Guards. Of course, he discovered
that once he wore this uniform, people in the street
would snap to attention, and that automatically,
offer him the kind of respect that typically he was denied. Emboldened by this,
he hatched what probably remains, I think, one of the ballsiest
criminal conspiracies of all time, where he put on this uniform,
he went to a local army barracks, he barked orders
at these soldiers in the barracks, and formed a little squad
of about a dozen soldiers who he led to believe, “We’re going to go
on this very important mission.” He marched the soldiers
down to the local railway station, and they traveled all the way to Köpenick,
which is a town just outside Berlin. Once they were there, they dramatically confronted
the mayor of the town and the treasurer and arrested them on completely
fabricated charges of embezzlement; and these two people who,
were presumably completely bewildered, were then taken on the train
back to Berlin to face interrogation. Wilhelm Voigt was able to go home,
presumably laughing his head off. What he’d done is eventually confiscated
4,000 marks as part of the trial, as evidence in the trial, and then he was able to enjoy
his newfound wealth. Unfortunately, Wilhelm was arrested,
and he was thrown in jail, but he was released quite early, and he ended up becoming
a German folk hero, quite deservingly, I think. But I don’t want to give the impression that imposters are always seen
to be romantic or attractive. Research by Jolanda Jetten and myself
her at UQ suggest that if you are member of the group that somebody is making
a false claim to belong to, then you typically don’t find
these kinds of acts particularly romantic,
or attractive, or funny. The more you care about your group, the less likely you are to find
the positive side of impostorism. The reason genuine members of the group
are highly threatened by imposters is really rooted very deeply
in the psychology of group membership. People want their groups to be tight,
cohesive, and well-defined, and to have clear boundaries;
these are the good things for us. Imposters trample all over that. They make a mockery
over the criterion for acceptance, and they completely dilute
the boundaries of the group and dilute what it means
to be a member of that group. So, if you’re a genuine member of a group, an imposter is like an irritant
or a contaminant that’s entered the skin of the group,
and you’re desperate to get rid of it. Sometimes, that desperation
can reach a fever pitch, and it can border on being
something like a witch hunt, as people have these debates about who’s a real group member
and who is a fake. So, can you call yourself a Christian
if you don’t go to church a hell of a lot? Can you call yourself a vegetarian
if you occasionally eat seafood? Some people would say yes,
and some people would say no. Of course, there are
no objective answers to these questions. But there is a debate, and that debate is wrapped
in emotion, politics, and ideology. If it comes to this tense struggle
to work out what the non-negotiable norms
of the group are, and sometimes,
the accusation of impostorism really becomes a way
of slapping people into line when you feel as if they are straying
from the path. We have a whole bunch of terms
in the English language to describe people
who have what you see to be a superficial claim
to a particular identity, but deep down, you suspect
they’re not the real deal. Most of these terms are
incredibly high charged and derogatory, so here, we’re talking
about impostorism as an accusation, impostorism as a political weapon, impostorism as an instrument of control
or even as a form of bullying. I’ve spoken about extraordinary people
who’ve acted as imposters, we’ve spoken about impostorism
as an accusation. I just want to spend
a few minutes at the end talking about impostorism as an anxiety. These two psychologists back in the 1970s detected what they termed
the imposter phenomenon. They found out that there was
a hell of a lot of people in the workplace who wrestle with this anxiety that their public reputations far exceeded what they believed
their true talents to be. These psychologists originally thought
this is something quite specific to the psychology
of that first generation of women who went into professional life
in the 60s and 70s. But we now know
that it’s equally true of men, and it’s completely rife in universities,
both among students and staff. Many of these people who suffer
from the imposter syndrome are very successful people,
but they can’t internalize this success. They attribute their success
to things other than their talents – to contacts, to perseverance,
to timing, to luck. It’s a very stressful experience. These people live lives that are
constantly on a brink of a great shame. They feel as any day now they’re going to get tapped
on the shoulder by someone, and someone will pull back
the curtain – Wizard of Oz style – and expose them as the flawed little human being
they know themselves to be. This is very difficult to overcome. You can’t overcome this anxiety
by just doing good work. Because, remember, your anxiety
is that the world thinks that you’re better
than you know yourself to be. So every time you get
an award or a promotion, or a pat on the back, or praise, it’s just deepening that gulf
between the messages that you’re getting from the world
and what your self-image is. So it deepens the anxiety. I think, in some ways,
this can help explain why sometimes, signs
of self-doubt and anxiety actually go up after we’re praised, and sometimes, they go up
even more so than after we’re criticized. Because we spend a hell of a lot of time
trying to impress other people, but when we do impress them, then we worry
that maybe essentially what we’ve done is just tricked people into thinking
we’re something we’re not. In some ways, I think, this reinforces
one of the ironies of impostorism. We’re not all the kind of people
who’re going to make dramatic leaps, and fake our sex, or fake
our religion, or fake our race, but all of us strive
to put a positive face to the world. All of us strive to disguise our flaws
in the eyes of other people. We get very good at this. As you get older, you get more and more sophisticated
at being up to do this. The idea of a true self
or an authentic self becomes harder and harder to find. Maybe this is one of the reasons
why we’re so intrigued by imposters: it’s not because we want to be like them but because we worry
that deep down we are like them. After her secret got exposed, Helen Darville got a job
with The Courier-Mail as a columnist, but only lasted a couple of weeks. Her second column, as it turned out, was
rampantly plagiarized from the Internet. (Laughter) So she was sacked,
and at that point, she gave up writing. She then enrolled in a law degree
at UQ and graduated, and the last I heard she was working
as a judge’s assistant. She’s now faded out of public life, so I guess, she lives on
really as a memory or as a representation of something,
a symbol of something. Which raises the question
of what does she represent. What lessons are learned? I think there’s two ways to spin this. On the downside, you could say,
“Here’s someone who’s a destroyer. This person bulldozed
through the collective faith of society in order to further her own ambitions.” But I think there’s another way
of spinning this. On the upside, you could say,
“What Helen represents is a reminder that the world is mysterious,
that the world is full of surfaces, that many of these surfaces are illusions
and fundamentally, life is a performance with all the sense of drama, anarchy,
and possibility that this implies. Thank you very much. (Applause)



  • Matt Krupoff

    *cough*cough* Don Draper

  • Nick Schmidt

    My thoughts exactly

  • JennRAll SeveN

    Interesting seeing things clearer, but raises more thought, apologize things I got mixed up in past.. An that's all folks, guess this place is bit of funny game after all.::))

  • JennRAll SeveN

    More questions, but very thought provoking, re: this strange Google reality.
    Noway am I going into details with this stuff, interesting none the less. I feel I was so wrong before for a good reason, but round we go again, yip yip funny shit :) none my business, I just giggle here nowdays ::))

  • Fazle Rabby


  • Lala

    I hate how people tend to want to you verbally justify why you're worthy, because the more I use words and logic, the more they sound like lies. I feel like there's a very thin line between legit justifications and lies. It's so much better when you can just show others a concrete proof of your achievements. #jobhuntfrustration

  • Gayatri Buzruk

    nice talk

  • FireAlarm

    I HATE this guys lisps or more so the way he hangs onto an S after he speaks.

  • kookyuke

    Fake it till you make it??……or fake that you make it?? or shake it till u bake it?

  • Azeraph

    Professori Courtney Warren once said somewhere ' The truth becomes your past, a lie becomes your future '

  • Lorraine

    I was a blonde for years and decided to go back to my natural color,, brown.. some people hated me changing it and some loved it. Most of the ones who hated it were also dyed blondes and liked me being a fake to.  Nuts. Fakes like Fakes.

  • Al i

    Are Narcissists the same as 'Imposters'?????

  • Astfresser

    i'm a lesbian trapped in a mans body

  • slowfire2

    Trans people are not impostors. They might seem to fit in this lecture, but not really. Not the way it's presented. Try to read up on the subject and be a bit more sensitive and nuanced about it.

  • cat thornberg

    I don't see why this speaker would admire an imposter who manipulated soldiers into arresting innocent people. (And made off with public funds) He sounded like a destructive sociopath

  • brazfan

    OMG, these people are everywhere, the plastic shamans, 'healers', 'therapists', 'spiritual teachers'. Impostor detection is an absolutely critical skill. Beware of ANYONE who assumes a position over you. The truly good souls are humble helpers and creatives who are nurturing their gifts and the good. 'Overly impressed with the superficial'. Please look deeper folks. Especially at yourself and your gifts and goodness.

  • jon_sinz

    Wow, this was good. The end was really good, universities and workplaces are rife with impostors, the anxiety impostors that attribute their success to something other than themselves, and feel that any day someone will end their career and good luck streak, and it does cause a lot of stress. I feel like that too, and I think the abundance of these impostors is both a good thing and a bad thing. "The idea of a true self is getting harder and harder to find" ..

  • Manuel Paez

    He doesn't seem to know that trans people exist…

  • Betsy Hanger

    This talk would have been much more credible if Hornsey had done his research on the history of transgender people. Billy Tipton lived a completely authentic life.

  • sn3192

    i think the people who have a stick up their ass about him supposedly calling transpeople imposters should think this through. the people he's talking about probably lived in a time when transgenderism wasn't recognized and the only way for a transperson to be their gender was to pretend to have been born that way in order for that identity to be accepted. that does count as imposteurism! nowadays, when you can just say you're trans, there's no need to lie, i.e. be an imposter

  • Christina Phillips

    This was interesting.

  • mamy goodie

    This would have been way more interesting if he concluded the talk by saying "I am Helen now"

  • johnebgood108

    we're all phony imposters!!

  • DistantAll

    not too impressed with the example of the obviously Trans jazz musician.

  • Onyx Rose

    Rachel Moore…I mean Dolezal…I mean…Will the real Rachel please stand up….

  • Andrew Rice

    Thoughts before even watching: I think that we aren't any one person. We are just a collection of habits and the perception of a self is an illusion. Emotionally we'd like to put ourselves in a box, but we don't actually work that way when you look at neuroscience. Mind and body aren't even separate! It's an illusion propagated by a structure in the brain. K I'll watch the vid now.

  • Karma

    forgot wedding crashers

  • Andjela Tatarovic

    really need to internalize this living in self!

  • lakeboww

    12:43 all the names

  • dalglass

  • qiskko

    Love how you just threw a transgendered jazz singer under the bus as an imposter, lovely.

  • LightBetweenBranches

    Why is this guy speaking at TED…. Surprised a transgender chose to keep their history to themselves? And he's a Social Psychology professor…. Hmm….

  • Patricia Greenlee

    I knew a guy who decided to call a mental health hotline. he decided to fake being Austrailian in order to impress a mental health professional and ended up with the cops taking him away to a psych ward. Turns out, he had a number of "situations" where he'd pretend to be other nationalities for attention, really freaky. I don't understand why people do these things. But I know being around these people isn't a good idea.

  • Billie Edwards

    I truly, and surprisingly enjoyed his talk….

  • lizzabbott

    Don't forget the very popular television show, Madmen! The main character, Don Draper, was an imposter, and of course that added loads of tension, intrigue and suspense to the show!

  • StarryKatsu

    …did he just compare transgender people to people lying about their race??????

  • Kudjo Junior

    this is so real..LGBT

  • N. Mackenzie

    I lost a lot of respect for this speaker not being able to recognize transgendered people…

  • LizXXX

    Why are they treating this syndrome as a mental illness?

  • beethovenjunkie

    While Köpenick was not part of Berlin at the time of the Hauptmann, it is now.

  • winter rose

    I'm more interested in people with criminal motives to take another's place.

  • Peter Lustig

    I NEVER get that people are so suprised that they got lied to… Pff.. To understand this is very easy: 1. 95% of the people are very facile but they somehow think "i have a good knowledge of human nature" and could see it in the face or so if someone is evil. The totally overestimate their ability to reckognize other people. So i am always totally suprised by how surprised people are when they find out, that their neighbor is a serial killer. I would never think that from the short "hello" and "have a good" day i would know that he is NOT raping and killing girls in the forest. In fact i would not be surprides at all if one of my neighbors was a serial killer. 2. The western world too has a very strong culture that it is socially unaceptable to ask probing questions. In ANY context (Job, politics, private). So how should that work now?

  • Dawn Marie Roper


  • Aliyu Alkali

    how are we even sure the guy is for real,or just another impostor.

  • Christine Haigh

    A great talk about impostors.

  • Clay Keyworth

    This talk does nothing in the way of opening a conversation about mental illness. This talk has only contributed to the overwhelming stigma that surrounds socially damaging illnesses like pathological lying.

  • Aliya Sztulman

    I really liked this talk, he has a lovely manner as a speaker.

  • Jacqueline Woo

    Group comment: the "vegetarians" who eat fish are pescetarians not vegetarians". Wow that was easy i was triggered? LOL. In the past when my mother was suffering end stage cancer she would answer the phone happy and joyous. i hated it. good thing i loved her SO much. tx great talk

  • Andrea Patricia Crowley

    Like people who have a higher self steem and they think they are really attractive when they are not? This is really complex,so many complex of personality and having a high or low self steem pretending to be someone you're not for appearing being this certain person on society for society to like you. While some of us don't really care about people,we pay our debts and taxes and our life is private we are not like the people who like gossipping much and care about their own lives.

  • Top Pay Position

    I'm an imposter.. right batman?

  • carmen sierra

    To those who found themselves triggered and offended by the notion billie was trans, was discredited along with dehumanized to just a illness….please stop. STOP. Like right now, don't go any further.
    When your feelings get raised it is best to take a deep breath, relisten to exactly what was said and THINK CRITICALLY before continuing on all flustered.
    Ask yourself, did any one in this talk including billie have the medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria mentioned? What so Ever?
    then ask yourself why billies story bothers you but the full breasted solider did not invoke such thoughts?
    Is it possible you are culturally sensitive and aware of current trans issues, being their so popular at the moment, and applied your current state of awareness/sensitivity biases to his Tedtalk unwarranted?
    yes that's exactly what you are doing, and all the people who commented the perceived "injustice before you. Here is why

    If you would have listened to his talk, at no point did he mention transgenderism at all and equally discussed the lives of his examples in the same amount of detail. So you are implying and assuming you have the knowledge and full facts available to know with 100percent certainly billie was trans and the others were not.
    How did you reach that conclusion? because billie carried her male persona into personal life as well as career?
    Please educate yourself more, read history books and immerse yourself in oppressive society's in both the ancient and recent past.

    Had you watched this talk with a broader historical background, you would know women in every country and in every era have taken male identities and lived as men for the rest of their lives. Women who found themselves stagnant, bored, oppressed, uneducated and completely unable to choose their own way as women decided giving up their lives for a chance at fulfillment in other areas was worth the risk.

    so women, worldwide in every age dressed like men, spoke like men, went to male schools, fought in armies and sought out lives they desired. Most of those women whom we have historical records of, speak of being lonely and desiring a male lover and companion. Most, not all, but most refused to honor that temptation and understood revealing their true identity could get them imprisoned, dead, or worse they would loose everything they had so bravely worked for.
    So please, dear progressive emotional police dogs, show me one moment in this talk that eludes to anyone's sexual its or gender identity.
    Could it possible billie was in a oppressive time and loved music so much she took the risk of impersonating a man, just to be able to fulfill her dream?? would it stand to reason the multiple wives were comfort to a lonely secret soul and maintains her male image had to extend even in the bedroom to ensure no one would question her validity? Any doubt would take her talent, her career, her fame, and lifestyle crashing down leaving her open to vicious attacks.

    lovers quarrel and murder each other because of their closeness and her wives were also liability.
    so I ask you, what exactly infers that she or any other in this talk saw themselves truly as the opposite gender ??
    Is it more likely that these were bad ass women who were not ever going to settle down in lives made up of maids, mom's and gossip, like so many women in history have done? even mulan was straight and only posing as a man for external reasons…

    And there is my point. You are attacking, assuming, and implying that this speaker would dare to stand in front of such an audience and proclaim that people suffering from gender dysphoria and attempt to live their lives as honest and as satisfying as they can, are in fact liars, frauds and people to be studied!
    How dare any of you be so ignorant! you have 0 information on any issues pertaining to gender identity and still you attack this man as if he is so cold and so bigoted he would publicly discredit transgenders as fraudsters right along with the criminal imposters who used their fake identity to harm others!!

    none of you think!
    how ugly is your judgemental heart? how awful to assume such things with 0 evidence and NOTHING RELATED EVER BEING BROUGHT INTO THE CONVERSATION BY THE SPEAKER.
    most people know by his examples he wouldn't include suffers of legitament mental issues in such a conversation but you fools actually are so quick to lash out, you actually thought it a possibilty???

    you are full of ugly habits and in desperate need of more education. Please do us a favor and THINK CRITICALLY ABOUT WHAT IS SAID BEFORE U RUSH OFF CLAIMING INJUSTICE.
    you all make me both deeply saddened and disgusted. Have a higher standard for yourself!

  • pcabrera

    People giving TED speeches are kind of impostors themselves.

  • Shrek Shruk

    This is dumb. If you eat Meat you are not a vegetarian.

  • Marcel Moonen

    Before he was Richmond from the IT Crowd

  • WeirdWorld

    so imposters tend to mock the vanity okay

  • Lalam Lalam

    great 👍👍👍👍

  • Truelove

    STOLEN VALOR ..they are fucking liars… it is a criminal act…they should be ashamed of themselves..sorry I think this guy is a fruitcake..he is "permitting people the right to become an imposter if it makes them feel better….that is bullshit ..purposely misrepresenting oneself is an act to decei ve…a LIE .. thou shalt not LIE .. SATAN the great deciever…

  • K Bilisoly

    I believe that most Americans are not grasping him because he is British

  • Rick M

    No one knows who you are, only you do. So, in my opinion, no one has the right to tell you who you are or who you are not. The title itself is as pathetic as the talk. Self awareness, on every single aspect (both positive and negative) of yourself, is key.

  • ls

    I also really enjoyed this talk. Thank you Matthew Hornsey.

  • Dennis R. Levesque

    You make a lot of good points. But, there are also a lot of other explanations for the same thing. For example, when a live studio audience is hired to clap when the applause light comes on, Who's the real imposter? And what's the real motivation? Or, maybe the "imposter" is just pretending to be an imposter, like when he gets laughed at, so he just says it was a joke. Or when a bully pretends to be a clown just as an excuse to torment you, since he can get away with it (everybody "knows" clowns are harmless). Why am I uncomfortable with praise? Because not all praises are equal. Sometimes the one who gives the praise is the imposter, and not the one receiving it. And sometimes praise is given for the wrong reason (they just didn't get it). What you praise, reveals what you value. But why you praise, reveals your way of thinking. And an inappropriate praise reveals the difference between the "what" and the "why" (just like an inappropriate criticism does).

  • Cordelia

    I was not surprised to see the avalanche of snowflake commentary on this one!

  • David12 Martinez26

    Is it me or does he look a bit like RomanAtWood

  • Apt215 Melissa Brown

    For a while, when I was one of Jehovah's Witnesses, I wished that we had some kind of uniform, but that faded, since I am not much of a conformist. I am too much of an individualist to belong to a high control group. I stayed way too long and didnn't fit in.

  • s Peteydog

    Great talk . I enjoyed it. He made lots of good points. It’s hard surviving in this world and belonging anywhere. People are constantly on the attack.

  • spartan876

    people are meant to "act". we are meant to pretend to be somebody else, to imitate people who we admire, to take on traits that we feel will take us further. Identity is an illusion and social media is an incredibly destructive force in that it categorizes us by the people we know. Social media is truly toxic because once somebody's true identity is on there, a person has no room to grow anymore due to overwhelming social pressure. The truly "bad" people are so self obsessed with the self that everybody else sees. Narcissists care more than anybody what people feel of them. Death to facebook, linkedin and any other social media that requires a person to put their real name on to the platform.

  • Thistle

    "Tyler Durden! Tyler Durden, you f*ing freak!"

  • James Livingston

    Jesus christ.. I am totally that person he talks about at the end.. I recently commented on a video about Breaking Bad that sums this up very well.

  • James Livingston

    Better Call Saul

  • snipersev07

    Dont be a stranger

  • Alexi7666

    He needs to stop dropping the last words in each sentence. Very annoying.

  • Kav Weis

    Good talk uncle matt

  • maeji m.

    I have these illusions that I'm Perfect (guy)

  • padma salam

    Giles McManus is the biggest fraud and fake, I have ever met in my life. He is a narcissistic sociopath, through and through. He has hurt and betrayed me tremendously. Let’s just say, as long as I live in this life, I will never forget him. Giles, I am waiting for karma to show up, so you can get your comeuppance. Vengeance is mine sayeth the Lord. So, so sad.

  • Ally’s World

    I fe like I’m the only one:/

  • Kirstine Termansen

    My relationship to putin counters, spi,,,,, good. But EU no thanks
    They mooopsrrr5, & phadofils, fraudster,,,

  • Bill 3

    You are all phony. You are all sinners. You are all up to some thing "bad". And I love you for it. You make our economy work.
    We are all signs among signs and symbols among symbols.

  • Bill 3

    Orwell said, who ever controls the past controls the future. Who ever controls the present controls the past.

  • Yvonne Bales

    she still wrote a pretty good book

  • Not Steve

    A good example of someone that you're talking about would be Donald Trump.

  • Bekkah Jennah

    A situation of persecution is completely different.

  • Edward Bruggeman

    But doesn't all this group identity just lead to one group or an i dividual assuming superiority over another group or individual? It seems the only reason to pose as someone else is to pull one over another person or persons…. there is no benficial aspect to it so it seems, so why should we put so much stock into what job or group a person belongs to? Edit better according to whom? Who is to say a CEO is better than a poet or artist? Or a garbageman for that matter? It is all just another way to pose as superior to those around u….

  • Jalex M

    How did Helen herself explain her "imposterism?" Were her actions out of greed, her book a creation sourced to malign others, the culture/group she pretended to be of?
    Did you ever meet again with your university classmate to learn her thoughts or reasoning; had she an underlying pull toward avarice, simple fantasy, or some purpose, desire to 'walk in another's shoes' perhaps for creative or a benign understanding of a life/culture different than the one she'd been raised in?
    Curious if you've explored this subject more deeply.
    J Alex M

  • lloyd evans

    I woke up today and I remembered I was the original Lloyd Robert Evans🤓😛 how about ewe out there who are you again…?

  • Pol Mak

    Very interesting

  • FIJ707

    Billy Tipton was a trans man. It wasn't a 'lie' that he was male.

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