Study Reveals Link Between Aggression and Way People Walk

Summary: A new study reports the way a person walks may reveal how aggressive they are.

Source: University of Portsmouth.

The way people walk can give clues to how aggressive they are, a new exploratory study from the University of Portsmouth has found.

The researchers from the Department of Psychology assessed the personalities of 29 participants, before using motion capture technology to record them 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 called the ‘big five’ to assess personality traits including openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. Together they can help map the way people think, feel and behave.

Image shows the researcher and a subject.

Lead researcher Liam Satchell talks to a participant NeuroscienceNews.com image is adapted from the University of Portsmouth press release.

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 analysed thorax and pelvis movements, as well as speed of gait.

Mr 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.”

Mr 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 recognise the aggressive walk demonstrated in this research, their ability to recognise impending crimes could be improved further.”

About this memory research article

Source: University of Portsmouth
Image Source: NeuroscienceNews.com image is adapted from the University of Portsmouth press release.
Original Research: Full open access research for “Evidence of Big Five and Aggressive Personalities in Gait Biomechanics” by Liam Satchell, Paul Morris, Chris Mills, Liam O’Reilly, Paul Marshman, and Lucy Akehurst in Journal of Nonverbal Behavior. Published online September 6 2016 doi:10.1007/s10919-016-0240-1

Cite This NeuroscienceNews.com Article
University of Portsmouth. “Study Reveals Link Between Aggression and Way People Walk .” NeuroscienceNews. NeuroscienceNews, 14 September 2016.
<http://neurosciencenews.com/aggression-walking-psychology-5049/>.
University of Portsmouth. (2016, September 14). Study Reveals Link Between Aggression and Way People Walk . NeuroscienceNews. Retrieved September 14, 2016 from http://neurosciencenews.com/aggression-walking-psychology-5049/
University of Portsmouth. “Study Reveals Link Between Aggression and Way People Walk .” http://neurosciencenews.com/aggression-walking-psychology-5049/ (accessed September 14, 2016).
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Abstract

Evidence of Big Five and Aggressive Personalities in Gait Biomechanics

Behavioral observation techniques which relate action to personality have long been neglected (Furr and Funder in Handbook of research methods in personality psychology, The Guilford Press, New York, 2007) and, when employed, often use human judges to code behavior. In the current study we used an alternative to human coding (biomechanical research techniques) to investigate how personality traits are manifest in gait. We used motion capture technology to record 29 participants walking on a treadmill at their natural speed. We analyzed their thorax and pelvis movements, as well as speed of gait. Participants completed personality questionnaires, including a Big Five measure and a trait aggression questionnaire. We found that gait related to several of our personality measures. The magnitude of upper body movement, lower body movement, and walking speed, were related to Big Five personality traits and aggression. Here, we present evidence that some gait measures can relate to Big Five and aggressive personalities. 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 largely automatic movement and personality.

“Evidence of Big Five and Aggressive Personalities in Gait Biomechanics” by Liam Satchell, Paul Morris, Chris Mills, Liam O’Reilly, Paul Marshman, and Lucy Akehurst in Journal of Nonverbal Behavior. Published online September 6 2016 doi:10.1007/s10919-016-0240-1

Feel free to share this Neuroscience News.
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