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The Relation Between Handshaking, Personality And First Impressions

1101 words - 4 pages

Handshakes are so important to individuals in the business world that they devote entire classes on proper handshaking etiquette. This study offers a deeper look into how personality is demonstrated through handshaking. I choose this topic because I have always seen a positive correlation between someone’s personality and their handshake. I believe that you can learn a great deal about someone from how they shake your hand. This was not a true experiment in the sense of manipulating variables, but the results were important and should be followed up on.
I learned from the introduction section that historically handshaking was mainly engaged in by men as a common greeting. Many legends claim that the handshake was used between men/opponents to indicate level of aggression. The authors researched the extensive literature devoted to handshaking etiquette as well as three studies by Astroem and his colleagues. Astroem authored each study in conjunction different colleagues per study. His first study involved psychiatric inpatients so results were limited. The second study included 25 males and 25 female, all of normal intelligence. The limitation of this study was that there was only one male experimenter; he assessed both males and females on hand temperature, dryness, strength, and consistency of grip. Astroem used a Swedish personality inventory to determine how the results related to personality. Astroem’s final study was based on interviews with 47 individuals he determined were experienced hand shakers such as clergy, salesmen, and therapists. He concluded that there was enough evidence to state there was a correlation between handshaking and personality. However; the amount of research on this topic is very limited.
According to the text: “the purpose of the present research was to assess the generalizability of some characteristics of handshaking behavior across time and gender; to test some hypotheses about the relations among handshaking dimensions, personality, and gender; and to evaluate the relation between handshaking dimensions and initial impressions formed about strangers.” Eight characteristics of handshaking, were dryness, temperature, texture, strength, vigor, completeness of grip, duration, and eye contact, were included in the study.
Using the handshaking literature and Astroem’s studies as a foundation the authors selected nine personality dimensions to be assessed within the study. “The view that good handshakes communicate sociability, friendliness, and dominance, whereas poor handshakes communicate social introversion, shyness, and neuroticism led the authors to select the Big Five Factors of Extraversion, Agreeableness, Neuroticism, and Openness to Experience as possible correlates of handshaking.” Also the authors included an assessment of shyness, emotional expressiveness, and positive/negative affect. The goals of this study were to assess handshaking consistency over time or situations unlike the previous...

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