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



Matthew Hornsey takes us into the adventures of some of the ballsiest imposters human kind have encountered, along with the romance and the lasting message they leave us. But the story doesn’t end there. As he delves into the psychology of imposters, this phenomena might be even more prevalent and we might be looking at an imposter when we look into the mirror.

Matthew is the Professor of Social Psychology in the School Psychology at the University of Queensland. Matthew’s primary research interest is in examining intragroup and intergroup relations in the context of identity threat. In this informative TEDx Talk, he examined the imposter phenomena in our society, and it might be more prevalent than you think!

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UQ Faculty of Science

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May 23, 2013 / 39 Comments / by / in
  • This was interesting.

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

  • we're all phony imposters!!

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

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

  • 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.

  • forgot wedding crashers

  • really need to internalize this living in self!

  • 12:43 all the names

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

  • 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….

  • coconut?

  • 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.

  • I truly, and surprisingly enjoyed his talk….

  • 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!

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

  • this is so real..LGBT

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

  • Why are they treating this syndrome as a mental illness?

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

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

  • 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?

  • Interesting.

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

  • A great talk about impostors.

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

  • 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

  • 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.

  • I'm an imposter.. right batman?

  • The biggest imposter is there right in front of you.

  • 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?
    I'm
    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.
    THE ONLY INJUSTICE HERE IS YOUR LACK OF WILLPOWER, THINKING SKILLS AND EDUCATIONAL FAILURE.
    you all make me both deeply saddened and disgusted. Have a higher standard for yourself!

  • People giving TED speeches are kind of impostors themselves.

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

  • Before he was Richmond from the IT Crowd

  • so imposters tend to mock the vanity okay

  • great 👍👍👍👍

  • 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…

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

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