Entries in holding hands (3)


Men Slowly Stroll Down Lover's Lane

Do romantic couples adjust their walking speed when walking together?  Researchers timed how long it took 11 heterosexual couples (22 total participants) to walk around a track by themselves, next to their romantic partners, holding their partner’s hands, with same-sex friends, and with opposite-sex friends. Regardless of hand-holding, men significantly slowed their pace when walking with their romantic partners, whereas women did not adjust their pace. When walking with opposite-sex friends, men slowed their pace and women increased their pace, though neither changed pace for same-sex friends, suggesting that when the walking partner was not a romantic partner, individuals compromised in their walking speeds. 

Wagnild, J., & Wall-Scheffler, C. M. (2013). Energetic consequences of human sociality: Walking speed choices among friendly dyads. PLoS ONE, 8(10): e76576.


"I Wanna Hold Your Hand"...But I Can’t

To hold or not to hold…hands, that is. When you’re in a relationship, are you a hand-holder, or do you prefer to keep your hands to yourself? Perhaps you find your hand gets too sweaty when in the embrace of another, or maybe you only hold hands seasonally when doing so will provide you with an extra bit of needed warmth in the deep freeze of January. Wherever you fall on this spectrum of loving to hold hands or avoiding it like the plague, imagine for a moment that it wasn’t up to you whether or not you could hold hands with your partner. Perhaps, if you hate to hold hands anyway, your response to such a scenario would be a sense of relief. But if you fall on the other side of the spectrum, where you love to walk hand in hand with your partner, you’re probably a bit confused and baffled as to why this simple and personal decision could be taken away from you. Such may be the case for marginalized couples, for whom PDAs may bring unwanted attention, stigma or even violence. Could avoiding PDAs have potential health implications?

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Hand Signals

Take note the next time you are holding hands with someone: Is your hand on top or in front with your palm facing back? In a recent study researchers observed heterosexual couples, adult/child pairs, and older/younger child pairs holding hands in public. Replicating and extending previous research on hand-holding, men in the couple pairs, adults in the adult/child pairs, and older children in the child pairs were more likely to have their hand in front with their palm facing back indicating social dominance, or alternatively, protection. This study shows that something as simple as hand position can signal one’s social role. What role are you signaling?

Pettijohn, T. F., Ahmed, S. F., Dunlap, A. V., & Dickey, L. N. (2013). Who’s got the upper hand? Hand holding behaviors among romantic couples and families. Current Psychology: A Journal for Diverse Perspectives on Diverse Psychological Issues, doi:10.1007/s12144-013-9175-4