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What your walk says about your personality: Scientist explains how swagger can reveal hidden traits

2016-September-20       Source: Chinadaily.com.cn

The way people walk can provide clues about their personality, claims a new study.


Using motion capture technology, researchers found that movements reveal certain personality traits, such as aggression, agreeableness and extroversion.


The technology is widely used in film to capture the movements of an actor, which are then translated to an animated character on screen.


The study, carried out by researchers at the University of Portsmouth, found that the exaggerated movement of both the upper and lower body indicated aggression.


Lead researcher Liam Satchell said: 'When walking, the body naturally rotates a little; as an individual steps forward with their left foot, the left side of the pelvis will move forward with the leg, the left shoulder will move back and the right shoulder forward to maintain balance.


'An aggressive walk is one where this rotation is exaggerated.'


The study also found that personality traits that help with social skills - such as agreeableness and extroversion - were particularly evident in people with increased pelvis movement alone, or 'hip sway'.


The researchers were surprised to find evidence of personality traits not typically related to social skills in the form of 'openness to experience' or creativity and conscientiousness.


'Less overall movement in a walk (so little swagger and little sway in a walk) could predict how creative someone is and how well organized they are,' MrSatchell told MailOnline.


The study assessed the personalities of 29 participants using a standard personality test called the 'big five'.


This enabled them to identify personality traits including openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism.


Participants were also asked to complete a questionnaire that measured their levels of aggression.


Motion capture technology was then used to record how they walked on a treadmill at their natural speed.


The researchers analyzed thorax - the area between the neck and the abdomen - and pelvis movements, as well as speed of gait.


While people may be aware that there is a relationship between swagger and psychology, this is the first research to provide empirical evidence that links aggression with the way people walk, say the researchers.


'We know of no other examples of research where gait has been shown to correlate with self-reported measures of personality and suggest that more research should be conducted between automatic movement and personality,' said Mr Satchell.


It is hoped that being able to identify a possible relationship between a person's walk and their intention to engage in aggression could be used as a crime prevention strategy.


'If CCTV observers could be trained to recognize the aggressive walk demonstrated in this research, their ability to recognize impending crimes could be improved further,' said Mr Satchell.


The researchers are keen to carry out additional studies and have called more members of the public to get involved.


The study is published in the Journal of Nonverbal Behaviour.



Helen from language.chinadaily.com.cn

Editor: Steven

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