Your walking style reveals your aggression, says study

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walking style

It is known that body actions, such as body language, can reflect personality traits. But now researchers find that how we walk can show who we are too. The finding is newly published in Journal of Nonverbal Behavior.

Researchers from University of Portsmouth in the UK conducted the study. They used biomechanical research techniques to examine how personality traits are manifest in gait.

Twenty-nine adults took part in the study. Participants walked on a treadmill at their natural speed. Researchers analyzed their chest and pelvis movements, as well as speed of gait.

After that, participants completed personality questionnaires, including a Big Five measure and an aggression questionnaire.

The Big Five personality traits include Openness to experience (I am curious about the world), Conscientiousness (I like rules), Extraversion (I like to talk about feelings), Agreeableness (I want to help other people), and Neuroticism (I am easy to get nervous).

Researchers found that gait related to several personality measures. The magnitudes of upper and lower body movement were associated with physical aggression in individuals, especially in women.

A person showing exaggerated body movement in walking is more likely to be physically aggressive.

Researchers suggest that in a natural walking, the body rotates a little because the left foot moves forward, the left side of the pelvis moves forward with the leg, the left shoulder moves back and the right shoulder moves forward to keep balance. But when the body rotation is large, the walk becomes aggressive.

The finding may be used to help prevent crime. For example, if CCTV observers can recognize the aggressive walk, they might be able to recognize impending crimes.


Citation: Satchell L, et al. (2016). Evidence of Big Five and Aggressive Personalities in Gait Biomechanics. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, published online. doi: 10.1007/s10919-016-0240-1.
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