Posted by Brian McCullough
I’m one of those people who doesn’t put much stock in handshakes. I don’t put much effort into mine… too firm, too soft, aggressive, friendly, etc… and I don’t spend any time analyzing a person by the handshake they give me.
But apparently, I’m alone in this. Lots of people spend a considerable amount of time judging you by your handshake, especially in the business world. And so when I saw this weird tidbit in BusinessWeek I started to wonder if there isn’t something scientific to this madness after all:
Sizing up the new guy at work? Check out his handshake. The firmer it is, the more socially dominant he’s likely to be, concludes a small study led by psychologist Gordon Gallup of the State University of New York at Albany. The study, which analyzed the handshakes–and the sexual, social, and physical histories–of 140 college students, found no correlation for females between a strong grip and behavioral competitiveness or body type. (As with men, there was a link to good health.) But males with firm grips reported more aggressive behavior and were more likely to have broad shoulders and narrow hips. (They were also about 10% more promiscuous.) Gallup says a grip’s strength is 35% environmental, 65% genetic–and that a strong clasp may have evolved from humans’ deep past, when tree-swinging monkeys with weak grips fell to earth more often.
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