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Scientists Create Equation For a Perfect Handshake 144

Posted by samzenpus
from the thank-you-science dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Discover Magazine reports that despite the average person shaking hands nearly 15,000 times in a lifetime, one in five (19 per cent) admit they hate the act of the handshake and are unsure how to do it properly, regularly making a handshake faux pas such as having sweaty palms, squeezing too hard or holding on too long while over half the population (56 per cent) say they have been on the receiving end of an unpleasant handshake experience in the past month alone. But help is at hand as scientists have developed a mathematical equation for the perfect handshake taking into account the twelve primary measures needed to convey respect and trust to the recipient. The research was performed at the behest of Chevrolet as part of a handshake training guide for its staff and is meant to offer peace of mind and reassurance to its customers. A full guide to the perfect handshake is available on Flickr."
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Scientists Create Equation For a Perfect Handshake

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  • Reminds me of a little known story by Alan Moore with art by Mark Beyer called The Bowing Machine [livejournal.com] except it's not a comic ...
  • The Seinfeld formula (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Drakkenmensch (1255800) on Monday July 26, 2010 @01:34PM (#33034270)
    The Seinfeld episode that delved into the handshake protocol gave me the best advice I could need when it comes to a good handshake. Reach in, grab firmly, give one pump and two shakes, let go.
  • Wow, 19 per cent? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by teumesmo (1217442) on Monday July 26, 2010 @01:56PM (#33034672)

    That's quite impressive, if 19 per cent go so far as to hate it, at least double that must find it irksome, another large percentage is indifferent to it, I wonder who are the freaks who actually think it useful, or go so far as to enjoy it.

  • Re:Wow, 19 per cent? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by feepness (543479) on Monday July 26, 2010 @02:06PM (#33034856) Homepage

    I wonder who are the freaks who actually think it useful, or go so far as to enjoy it.

    The ones who are worried about you pulling a weapon on them.

  • Re:First rule (Score:4, Interesting)

    by nomorecwrd (1193329) on Monday July 26, 2010 @02:29PM (#33035252)
    Here in Chile, at least, people with greasy hands usually offers you the arm. (excusing themselves for the dirty hands)
  • by bw-sf (937673) on Monday July 26, 2010 @02:40PM (#33035408)
    Chevrolet bribed some ethics-free academics to come up with a fake equation for publicity purposes. The academics took the money and invented a stupid equation per spec. Then Chevrolet issued a press release, and gullible media outlets obligingly reprinted it and discussed it. A victory for Chevrolet's marketing department, a defeat for academic integrity and sensible journalism. Don't be part of these scams.
  • by Kozz (7764) on Monday July 26, 2010 @02:52PM (#33035562)

    What irks the hell out of me is someone who grabs the hand too fast without getting skin-to-skin contact between each others' thumb-and-index webspace. I end up with some idiot who's got hold of my fingers only. Those are the clowns that get the do over and instructions on proper handshaking, usually punctuated with something like, "Slow down, idiot!"

    There you go... that's my number-one pet peeve: grabbing my four extended fingers, leaving my thumb waving in the air? Wtf? I'd think that in any culture, the very least you want to do is have a symmetric handshake. I try my best to make the handshake symmetrical, firm but not crushing. I've had people grab only my fingers, other guys seemingly oblivious that they've crushed my knuckles such that I cannot return the grasp, and then the folks who offer their hand like it's a fresh pork chop, a piece of meat with no life in it whatsoever.

    I think it'd be more instructive to write up all the handshake mistakes people make.

  • by Quirkz (1206400) on Monday July 26, 2010 @03:16PM (#33035924) Homepage
    I am apparently one of those poor saps who can either make eye contact, or watch where my hand is going, but not both. Generally I figure it's better to make eye contact and flub the handshake a little than stare at the person's hand. So I sometimes (maybe 20% of the time) end up either too short (just fingers) or too far (kind of jamming the webbing together awkwardly). I try to adjust if possible, but sometimes the other person already has you in their grip, and it's just better to go with it.

    I've always hoped it wasn't just me, and that at least half of the blame for mis-coordinating the hand position lies with the other person, but maybe it's just me.

    At least one thing I do know is I've got the pressure in a moderate middle ground . I've had enough that are too hard or too soft (one gal I met recently took soft to an extreme by extending her hand and then not moving her fingers at all -- it wasn't a soft squeeze, it was literally nonexistent) to know what the right pressure feels like.

    I was hoping maybe this study would venture into some of the silly complicated extra convolutions people put in their handshakes. Mostly seems to be a phenomenon of younger guys trying to be hip, who have some ridiculous five-part ritual. Grab, slap, wiggle, fist, waggle some finger, whatever it is. I watch people around me going through the whole procedure like they know what the other person is about to do, but I've always felt sort of colorblind or tone deaf as far as those gestures go. Can anyone explain to me how the hell I'm supposed to know it's "grab, smash elbow, bump chest, slap back twice" this time, and next time it'll be "grab hand, clasp forearm, do the hokey pokey"?

If the code and the comments disagree, then both are probably wrong. -- Norm Schryer

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