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ChangingMinds Blog! > Blog Archive > 09-Jun-13

 


Sunday 09-June-13

Gripping fun

One of the dimensions of personality is the degree to which people seek excitement in their lives as opposed to being more stay-at-home safety bunnies. We call it thrill-seeking, sensation-seeking, risk-seeking and so on, but underneath it all is a need for arousal, which we all have to some extent. Some of us are aroused enough by reading a good thriller or playing a game of chess. Others, however, have a higher arousal threshold and have to take significant risks before they feel aroused.

An interesting bit of research by Bernhard Fink and colleagues found that men with a naturally stronger hand grip tend to be greater sensation seekers. This makes sense as higher levels of testosterone are related both to risk-taking and dominant behavior, which may include displays of strength.

A socially acceptable way of displaying strength is in greeting others is in shaking hands. This gives a dominant person a way of subtly sending their message of domination by gripping the other person's hand strongly. Strong handgrip can be natural and a firm grip is associated with confidence, but a stronger grip that causes pain has only one purpose.

Reference:
Fink, B., Hamdaoui, A., Wenig, F. and Neave, N. (2010). Hand-grip strength and sensation seeking, Personality and Individual Differences, 49, 7, 789–793


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