MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Mr Liam Satchell
Department of Psychology
University of Portsmouth, UK
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: Most people in general are really interested in trying to understand “body language”, how a person behaves may give clues to their psychology. However, psychology has rarely engaged in an empirical investigation of what information about personality may be available in largely automatic movements, such as walking. We brought together techniques from psychology research and sports and exercise science to investigate what features of personality may be available in gait.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response: Our findings are that there is evidence of some personality traits in certain gait biomechanics. We find that increased upper body movement (relative to lower body movement) can indicate latent aggression and increased lower body movement can relate to socially-facing traits (such as social skills and energetics). Our findings are the first demonstration of this effect and more than anything we want our findings to act as a springboard for more empirical investigation of movement and personality.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Response: We are really keen to encourage more broad research on how the body and everyday movement relates to personality. Our work only scrapes the surface of this area. Theories of Personality of which we only tested two here, there are many more) are predictive of many life-course persistent features of behaviour and can have very important medical relevance (such as fascinating work in gastroenterology and pain management). Further research could be of great help to practitioners. If we can continue to use empirical tools to assess the vulnerabilities (such as vulnerabilities to depression, aggression or pain) of an individual being assessed in a medical or forensic context, then could create a better science of body language.
MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Response: In responding to this questions for MedicalResearch.com, I (as a psychologist) am very aware of the skepticism around personality that some medical experts hold. I would encourage those who do any research or work which involves assessing patients or the public to investigate personality psychology a little more.
I am very happy to answer any questions about uses of personality psychology, my contact details are below.
Information about the lead researcher.
Mr Liam Satchell is a Research Associate at the Department of Psychology, University of Portsmouth, UK.
He is a member of the International Centre for Research in Forensic Psychology and the centre for research into Situated Action and Communication.
He can be contacted by email: firstname.lastname@example.org and be found on twitter @lpsatchell
MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.
Liam Satchell, Paul Morris, Chris Mills, Liam O’Reilly, Paul Marshman, Lucy Akehurst. Evidence of Big Five and Aggressive Personalities in Gait Biomechanics. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 2016; DOI: 10.1007/s10919-016-0240-1
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