Walks predict aggression

As a species we place great emphasis on our ability to communicate. As soon as you read that sentence your thoughts will have immediately turned to our linguistic skills; our capacity to talk, read, and write. As important as this is to who we are as a species a significant amount of our communication actually comes from a method of communication that we share with almost every other species; body language. In the psychology fraternity there is debate as to how much of our communication comes from body language. The two famous statistical numbers on this are 93 per cent and 55 per cent of our communication coming from body language but these figures are hotly contested. What is not disputed is that body language is important so let’s just say that it contributes a “lot” to communication. This has been supported by a new study showing that how you walk accurately communicates an aspect of your personality.

For the study subjects were given a standard personality test that measured the big five personality traits; openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. The researchers then used motion capture technology to record how the subjects walked.

When you walk your body always rotates to a degree. As you step forward with your left foot, the left side of the pelvis moves forward with the leg, the left shoulder will move back and the right shoulder will move forward. We all do this to maintain balance but we do it to different degrees and this study found a link between this and aggressive personalities.

It emerged that an analysis of thorax and pelvis movements as well as speed of gait showed that exaggerated movement of the upper and lower body when walking correlated with aggression.

The researchers say this is evidence that personality is manifest in the way you walk. It also means, don’t pick a fight with someone with a swagger.

Source: Journal of Nonverbal Behaviour

Terry Robson

Terry Robson

Terry Robson is the Editor-in-Chief of WellBeing and the Editor of EatWell.

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