What can we tell about someone’s personality from their handshake?

We examined whether handshakes improved the accuracy with which participants judged a set of targets. Handshakes are interpersonally coordinated behaviors that require motivation and practice to perform well. Therefore conscientiousness may predict how well handshakes are executed. If so, a person’s conscientiousness may be more accurately perceived at zero-acquaintance through a handshake. Individual female and male participants rated the personality of five, same-gender targets after each had introduced herself or himself. Half of the targets offered and shook hands with the participant as part of the introduction, half did not. Extraversion was judged most accurately, regardless of handshake condition. Handshaking moderated impression accuracy of conscientiousness, especially between men, which may explain the importance business professionals place on face-to-face interviews.

Source: “The influence of handshakes on first impression accuracy” from Social Influence Volume 6, Issue 2, 2011, Pages 78 – 87

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