Picture: AFP/Getty
Picture: AFP/Getty

Several scientific studies go so far as to claim 93 per cent of communication is non-verbal and down to things like body language and gait.

While this theory is debated, one 2012 study by Durham University psychology lecturer John Thoresen asked 26 young people to walk between two locations, and then instructed them to judge the character traits of the people walking based on point-light videos.

People identified two main styles of walking: a loose, expansive walk was interpreted as a sign of warmth, adventurousness and extroversion, and a slow, relaxed gait was seen as a characteristic of low neuroticism.

Interestingly, his findings showed that the conclusions about character traits were completely wrong - at least, according to participant's self-evaluations.

There is supposedly one character trait however, that can be identified based on the way you walk, and psychopaths can even use this tell to scout victims:


BBC Future recently highlighted research from Brock University in Canada which looked at how psychopaths in prison selected their victims. Those with the highest psychopathy scores were also the most accurate when it came to identifying people who have been attacked before based on their gait.

The inmates in the study specifically used gait as an identifying factor when choosing victims.

Not all is lost, however. It's well demonstrated that we can learn to project confidence, even if we don't feel it. You can in theory learn to adopt a more confident style of walking - with wider arms, and quicker strides.

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