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Swagger May Indeed Signal Aggressive Tendencies

Swagger May Indeed Signal Aggressive Tendencies

A new study suggests a person’s gait, or the way they walk, can give clues to how aggressive they are.

In a small exploratory study, researchers from the University of Portsmouth assessed the personalities of 29 participants. They then used motion capture technology to record the participants walking on a treadmill at their natural speed.

The study 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 researchers asked participants to complete a questionnaire, which measured their levels of aggression.

They also used a standard personality test to assess the “big five” personality traits: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism.

Used together, this battery of tests can help map the way people think, feel, and behave.

Using motion capture technology, which records the actions of humans and uses the information to bring to life digital character models in 3D computer animation, the researchers analyzed thorax and pelvis movements, as well as speed of gait.

Satchell said, “People are generally aware that there is a relationship between swagger and psychology. Our research provides empirical evidence to confirm that personality is indeed manifest in the way we walk.

“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.”

Satchell said identifying the potential relationship between an individual’s biological motion and their intention to engage in aggression could be used to help prevent crime.

“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.”

Source: University of Portsmouth/Alphagalileo

Swagger May Indeed Signal Aggressive Tendencies

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2016). Swagger May Indeed Signal Aggressive Tendencies. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 18, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2016/09/15/walking-pattern-may-predict-aggressive-tendencies/109918.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 15 Sep 2016
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 15 Sep 2016
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.