The psychology behind Trump's 'clasp and yank' handshake
FEBRUARY 21 2017 – 8:46PM
Handshakes are meant to be relatively simple affairs, at least in terms of their signalling function. “Shake hands on it,” we are told. “Shake and make up.” They have been used as a civilised greeting for at least 2500 years. But Donald Trump is in the process of redefining the handshake, transforming it into the opening salvo in a battle for supremacy.
Handshakes date back at least as far as ancient Greece – and there are artefacts from that period featuring images of Herakles shaking hands with Athena. Glenys Davies, writing in the American Journal of Archaeology, said that this particular scene “represents the acceptance of Herakles as an equal by the gods”.
On other artefacts we find images of Hera, the goddess of women and marriage in Greek mythology, shaking hands with Athena, the goddess of wisdom, craft and war. These handshakes are symmetrical and equal in their execution. The sort of handshake that we would recognise instantly today.
Our common understanding is that the handshake originated as a gesture of peace, demonstrating that the hands are free and not holding a weapon. It is meant to signal co-operation, reflected in the symmetrical nature of the shape of the hands and the movement, not aggressive competition. But tell that to Trump, who uses handshakes as a weapon in his games of one-upmanship.daleanime, morningglory, broiles and 3 othersBiaviiansGalore, zoolook67, Herman4747 like this
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