How a handshake can tell you if someone is lying?


An article on Social Intelligence – Observing Nonverbal Behavior and Understanding Emotions – by Dr. Sandeep Atre.

Well! The key is not the grip, duration or the strength of the handshake… it is the ‘temperature’.

As I say in one of the video sessions of the ‘Observing Nonverbal behavior’ course of Socialigence… “Words express thoughts…Body expresses emotions”. And the best part is that most of the body’s expression of emotions is beyond our conscious control, and thus gives our SECRETS away…

So let’s understand how the handshake gives it away… Well! Evolution has shaped the workings of human body to fulfill its goal of ‘survival’. And emotions are an integral part of that overall working.

For example, in fear, Adrenaline – known as the fear hormone – prioritizes the supply of blood by sending it towards the body-parts that are required to get into action. So blood moves towards skeletal muscles, specifically the legs, because in fear, fleeing or running-away would be the most apt first-response for survival (under adrenaline, blood flow to legs increases by ‘up to 140 %’).

Now, this navigation means that blood is taken away from other parts of the body, including hands. This leaves HAND much colder than usual. That’s why, if a person feels fear due to reasons like ‘lying’ or even ‘hiding something’ or ‘being disbelieved’, the drop in TEMPERATURE of the hand shows it.

But here it is important to understand the concept of ‘Baseline’ – the normal behavior of one’s body in neutral circumstances. So, it is good to shake hand with the person first before the conversation, to establish baseline. After all, you cannot register change unless you know the original value.

So, the improved ‘Social Intelligence’* can go a long way in interpersonal interactions.

* Social Intelligence is “Observing Nonverbal Behavior and Understanding Emotions for Interpersonal Effectiveness and Self Management”

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