Loading

Alison's New App is now available on iOS and Android! Download Now

Study Reminders
Support
Text Version

Set your study reminders

We will email you at these times to remind you to study.
  • Monday

    -

    7am

    +

    Tuesday

    -

    7am

    +

    Wednesday

    -

    7am

    +

    Thursday

    -

    7am

    +

    Friday

    -

    7am

    +

    Saturday

    -

    7am

    +

    Sunday

    -

    7am

    +

Haptics

Welcome, dear participants to the second week of our program on Body Language. In this modulewe would look at Haptics and its role particularly in the handshakes. Haptics is basically astudy of communication of our ideas, feelings and emotions involving touch, the way we touchother people the body part on which we touch etcetera. The duration for which the touchis there are to be studied as a part of this body linguistic aspect.Haptics has been derived from a Greek word Haptikos which means, pertaining to the senseof touch. The term was first used in the 19th century; however, at the time it was mainlyused in the relation of psychophysics, but today it is used to denote different typesof tactile sensations on the body. We would discuss the significance of human touch andit is role in professional communication.When we study the significance of touch as a part of nonverbal communication we haveto understand that the frequency as well as the type of touch is important as it communicateswhat we feel about the other person and also what we are looking for in the relationshipor in a given situation Touches can be defined as a communication,which we do with various type of touches during our professional scenario. For example, weshake hands with others; we hold hands with other person; in certain situations thereis a formal kissing also which is involved sometimes as a friendly gesture; we can backslap, we do this high five gesture shoulder pat etcetera. Each of these give away nonverbalmessages as to the feelings and intentions of the person who is touching, they also causenegative and positive feelings in the person who is receiving these touches.A positive touch can be nurturing and it can help us in creating and maintaining relationships.A positive touch is important because it channelizes a certain level of comfort love as an expressionof our concern for the other person. Imagine after a particular project has gone bad yourteam leader comes close to you, gives you a small pat, smiles at you and then suddenlyyou feel that things are still ok. So, you would find that a positive touch cannurture the feelings of another person; however a negative touch can also pass on other negativeassociations related with anxiety at the same time a suggestion of aggression or even apossibility of violence by physically hurting or showing someone etcetera. Touches are importantin our human memory because we can never forget the significance of the touch in fact, wecan never forget the touch of people who are important to us and that is why you wouldfind that if we have been touched by a great leader, if our hands have been shaken by spiritualleader, if we have been blessed by physical touch by a great person we carry the memoryof this touch throughout our life. So, a human touch has the capability to passon positivity as well as negativity even in strictest professional situations.I would refer here to the findings of Jones and Yarborough, who have suggested that touchmay communicate five major meanings, they have listed positive emotions, playfulness,controlling situation, ritualistic touches as well as task oriented or task related touches.As a part of communication of positive touches we find that they can express support, appreciation,inclusion, affection, consolation etcetera. A touch can also be affectionate or aggressiveand it can also be rather playful which indicates that things or situations are not to be takenvery seriously. Sometimes you would find that touch can beused to control the situations, at the same time we find that touch can be used to controlthe behaviors and attitudes of people, touch can be used to convey status as well as dominanceover others. Often, we find that there are ritualistic touches also for example, we shakehands when we greet the other person or when we take leave from them then professionalhugs are also in this category of ritualistic touches. Sometimes we find that a compulsorytouch is there, because it is the demand of the profession, a doctor has to touch thepatient we can help somebody out of the car. So, these touches are associated with theperformance of a function.Sometimes touching others is also unintentional. For example, while we are travelling in acrowded train or a bus or we are within a crowded elevator some touch cannot be avoided.However, we also have to understand that in professional situations also there are certaincultural taboos about touching a particular body part and we would look into these culturaltaboos. Handshake is the first professional touch,which we are normally exposed to. It is an intrinsic component of formally greeting otherpeople and it is also considered to be a very simple nonverbal exchange in our day to daylife; however, one would be surprised to note that many messages can be hidden in this handshake.Since shaking hands is a particular type of a touch, we may also remember the emotionwhich has been communicated with the help of this touch, it may communicate a certainwarmth, a desire to dominate the other people, it may also convey a reluctance to talk tothe other person.It is interesting to note that the origin of handshake is related with the survivalinstincts of human beings. Alien Pease has referred to this idea that shaking hand isbasically a relic of the caveman era. He had suggested that when caveman or during theearly phases of the development of civilization people use to meet each other they used tohold their arms in the air with open palms to suggest that they are not caring any weaponto harm the other people. Gradually with a passage of civilization,it was reduced to a Roman salute where the hand was carried towards the heart. So, thispalm in the air gesture was modified over the centuries and then different variationshave also occurred. This idea is supported by Desmond Morris he has suggested in hiswork in 1969 that the western form of handshaking might have started as a means to indicatethat neither person who is involved in this greeting ritual is holding a weapon.So, initially shaking hands must have started as the idea that a bond of trust is to beestablished and that is certain friendliness is associated with this interaction. However,very soon it became a symbol of equality among individuals, it became a symbol of ceilingdifferent arrangements and agreements and now it has become a simple greeting protocolwhen we meet other person for the first time during the day. The original meaning however,can still be found. Refusing to shake someone’s hand can be easily interpreted as a signatureof aggression on the part of the other person. Irrespective of the origins the handshakeis a compulsory part of the modern era and people of all races in different positionsin different cultures and surroundings use this particular gesture. There are certaintraditional ways of shaking hands with people of different genders which are still continuingin most of the societies. For example, normally we are stature conscious when we shake handsand a person who is holding a higher stature offers the hand to be shaken.Similarly, in most of the societies it is considered apt that it should be the womanwho offers are hand to be shaken and men normally should not initiate handshake with women.In certain cultures women avoid shaking hands and instead of that they offer different typeof traditional ways of greeting others. In next few slides, we would look at the differentinterpretations with shaking hands as a part of nonverbal aspects of communication.The emotions which we pass on while we are shaking hands with other people also importantthat it is said that John F Kennedy, the assassinated former U S president, head commissioned anentire study to find out and determine the most effective handshake with people. It mayconvey a genuine warmth it may indicate insecurity and a quick to let go handshake and also conveyarrogance. Though we would be looking at several types of handshakes, we would primarily lookat three different types of handshakes which convey the idea of dominance, subservienceor equality, when we greet each other in any professional setting.The figure here appropriately illustrates the idea of a dominant handshake. The dominanthandshake came to be officially noticed officially because it was around that time that manypeople had started to write about it. So, this type of a handshake suggest the dominanceon the part of a person who offers the hand in such a manner that his or her palm is inthis particular direction and the other person in order to shake hands has to offer the palmin an open manner, this suggest that the person has a desire to dominate over the other.Now, a dominant handshake is normally adopted by people who are either in a senior position,who are in a position where dominance comes easily to them or often you would come acrossyoungsters who offer these type of hands. In professional situations, when you comeacross this type of a handshake from a colleague you may not feel very comfortable and youwould perhaps like to defuse it, a very interesting strategy which can be used to defuse thistype of a handshake and to bring it back to a handshake of equality is to trust your leftfoot forward. So, that your body is slightly tilted and then the other person also hasto slightly move back and this gives you an opportunity to tilt the handbag and initiatethe dialogue on a more equal footing.Just opposed to this is the idea of a submissive handshake, it is the opposite of the dominanthandshake where you offer your hand in such a manner that the palm is facing upwards.Now, this is symbolically giving the other person an upper hand and it suggests thatyou do not have any objections if the other person controls the situation, sometimes itis done deliberately when you have to offer in a apology and instead of using words youalso want to communicate this idea with the help of your body language. Even though normallythis type of a submissive handshake suggest a subservient attitude there may be certainother situations also which one has to consider. For example people who are in those professionswhere hands are very sensitive and they are. In fact, their tools the surgeons, the pianoplayers, the artist etcetera try to avoid handshake because hands are valuable to themand therefore, you would find that they are normally hesitant and most of the times eitheroffer a limp handshake or offer a submissive handshake.And therefore, it is important that we look at the clusters of kinesics signals in orderto decode the meaning of a particular handshake.In professional situations, the best type of a handshake is known as the equal handshakewhen two people are meeting on the grounds of equality. It is also said that when twopeople were equally dominant or who want to dominate the given situation try to shakehands a symbolic struggle takes place or a particular individual may offer the hand likethis and while you are offering your hand like this with a palm of position you mayalso try to tilt it back. However, when both hands are in this mannerthen it is known as an equal handshake where the palm is facing straight and is verticallyoutward, this is considered to be a best business handshake which conveys equality in all statusand at the same time it also conveys a sense of mutual respect.A firm handshake is also an extension of an equal handshake in many ways; it conveys confidenceas well as focused energy on the part of the person who is shaking the hands in a firmmanner. This is often used in business networks during the job interviews when you meet somebodyfor the first time when you want to come across as a positive yet in assertive person.So, whether one is entering into a new relationship or let us say solidifying an existing relationshipetcetera a firm handshake is a symbol of this idea that your word has certain value andthen you would find that because of these associations a firm handshake is often usedto create an opportunity or to gain a business opportunity or at least to convey these associatedfeelings in any official setting.The double handshake or the glove handshake or the politicians handshake is as you canunderstand the attempt to take the hand of the other person in both your hands.As if your both hands have become a type of a glove for the other person, this particularhandshake may convey different type of emotions to the other person. We can say that it suggestthat a certain level of friendship and informality already exist between the two people. It suggestand show cases the preexisting honesty sincerity as well as the deep feeling towards the otherperson. You may notice that this type of a handshake increases the amount of physicalcontact and it also restricts the right hand of the receiver and then it also allows youto gain certain control over the person you are talking to. Because, traditionally thistype of a handshake is associated with preexisting sincerity and honesty this also has becomea favorite type of a handshake in the corporate sectors as well as in the political arena.And therefore, it has also developed an association of miss trust with it.The glove handshake has also come to be known as a politician handshake. Because being publicfigures they have to put up a show of having certain warmth in their feelings towards theother people, because it has been of repeated in various official photo frame situationsit has also gained a certain association of being phony in it is intentions and particularlywhen this type of a handshake is done, when you are meeting a person for the first timeit definitely is a red signal and you should be aware of the intentions of the other person.The dead fish or the wet fish handshake as you can understand is a uniquely uninvitinghandshake. Particularly if your hand is cold or clammy then it suggests this idea thatthe person does not have any positivity towards you. It is a limp and lifeless hand communicatingthe same set of emotions to the other person and therefore, it is a universally unpopularhandshake. Many people who unfortunately have this type of a handshake are not even awarethat they do posses it and therefore, it is advisable particularly for the youngstersto shake hands with their friends and see their opinion about the associated emotionswhich are being conveyed as far as their hand shake is concerned.The next type of handshake which sometimes we come across is known as the Knuckle Grinderand as you can understand it is associated with very tough people who want to indicatethe same type of a toughness in their attitudes. It is practically crushing the palm of theother person by your hand it is an absolutely unprofessional handshake and it should beavoided in all professional situations, where as interpretations which can be associatedwith Knuckle Grinder are basically associated with the amount of pressure which is generatedby the hands of the person who is employing this particular handshake. Depending on thepressure it may communicate a desire to dominate occasionally it may also communicate a desireto overcome the opponent, because there is some inbuilt fear or apprehension in the situation.So, in order to understand the true interpretation of the Knuckle Grinder handshake one alsohas to look at the context as well as other kinesics signals.At the same time, there is what is known as the stiff arm handshake which is often usedby aggressive people to keep the other person at what is known as an ‘arms-length’ andout of their immediate intimate zone. Sometimes it is also called as the invasion handshakebecause someone who is fully extending the arm towards you in a stiff manner is alsoforcing you to accommodate the other person in your own intimate zone.However, we find that in both situations whether the stiff arm is employed by a person whois offering the hand to be shaken or the other person who is to shake it. Stiff arms suggesta stiff attitude, a lack of friendliness and therefore, it is not considered to be cordialin professional situations.This particular visual illustrates what is commonly known as a fingertip grab hand shake,it takes place when the giver offers a stiff arm, but then stays short of the receiversoutstretched palm ending up in grabbing only the fingertips and here to the handshake keepsthe receiver at a comfortable distance away from the receiver.However, you would find that it also reveals negativity of the situation in various waysas well as the awareness of ones social status in a negative manner. It may reveal the giverslack of confidence in himself or an absolute reluctance to be associated with the otherperson. It may also result from the acute awareness of ones social position where youwant to look down upon somebody and therefore, you do not want to shake hands with the otherperson.Finally, this is also sometimes known as the queens fingertips and we can understand thatit is used by individuals who feel superior much superior to the other person,Now, it is also a common handshake in male and female encounters particularly in semiformal situations. In semi professional situations where women intend to have more personal spacein comparison to men. However, in professional situations we find that this type of a handshakeis to be avoided by all genders; handshakes are also decided by the cultural aspects ofwhich they are a product.This study was taken up by Joe Navarro who has noted in his researches different typeof handshakes in different cultures. He has remark that in turkey or in middle east handshakesmay be very gentle or a gentle handshake is considered to be a positive one in comparisonto that he had noted during his research in Utah that you may get what is called a Mormonhandshake which is enthusiastic vigorous and also pretty prolonged. In Brazil he foundthat handshakes are warm and people tend to be affectionate and this affection is oftendisplayed through handshakes. In some societies we also find that greetingsare carried out with handshakes which are accompanied with touching of the fore arm,elbow or pats on the back he is also commented that since handshake is a part of nonverbalcommunication which puts us in a closed situation with the other person for the first time itis advisable to duplicate the behavior of the other person. So, his advice is whilein Rome do as Romans do. However, when we are aware of the culturalvariations we also have to understand that the tactile communication is not limited tohandshakes only, different other forms of Haptics incorporate patting somebody on thearm on the shoulder or back to convey agreement or as a complementary or even a conciliatorygesture, linking arms to indicate companionship putting ones arm over the shoulder of othersetcetera holding hands hugging etcetera. We were discuss the interpretations of thesesignals in our next module. Let us look at some other ways of greetingsin most of the western societies and societies where the education has been developed ona western model handshake is the end thing.However, in certain traditional societies we find that some other ways of greetingsare also acceptable and routinely practiced. A kiss or a hug is considered in appropriateas a form of greeting in most of the western countries; however, in certain countries whereit is considered to be a customary fashion it is perfectly acceptable. For example, inSaudi Arabia the handshake is accompanied with a light kiss and even men are comfortableif they are kissed on both cheeks after a handshake.In Russian states, the bear hugs are very fashionable and they may follow a firm handshakeand they suggest a close companionship and a feeling of friendship; however, they arevery popular in Russia we find that in Finland this is not popular. So, most of the timewe find that Finns do not hug, kiss or have body contacts with strangers except a formalhandshake. People in Latin American countries also embrace and it may also be accompaniedby a light slap on the back if you are close the contents. Most people in France embraceand kiss twice particularly in semi formal situations and it is not considered to beawkward by them.An intensely cultural ways we find that the hongi is also popular particularly in NewZealand. Hongi roughly translates to the sharing of breath which is a fairly significant gestureit is the traditional Maori gesture to welcome others by rubbing or touching of noses. So,in that culture it is as common as a western custom of kissing someone by way of greeting.In New Zealand it is still practiced in ceremonial fashion.So, we find that handshake is a particular way of touching others, it is a way of greetingother people when we meet them for the first time. It suggest, different types of attitudesand emotions which unconsciously are conveyed to the other person. Because of the culturalvariations we find that certain other ways of greetings are also popular.This particular video would illustrate some interesting handshakes from different movieshots and it would be interesting to watch them.Long time no see. Let us do dance. Thank you.