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New York: Jan 10, 2014
That was a quick and immediate victory reaction. According to a new research, an athlete’s first reaction — which is instinctive and spontaneous — post-winning is an expression of dominance over his or her opponent.
“Such body language is known as a ‘dominance threat display’ or ‘triumph’. It stems from an evolutionary need to establish order and hierarchy in society,” said David Matsumoto, professor of psychology at San Francisco State University.
In a study co-authored by Hyisung Hwang, an adjunct faculty member in psychology at SF State, Matsumoto found that an athlete’s culture affects the intensity with which he or she displays this body language.
“Cultures that are more status oriented have individuals who produce these behaviours more than individuals who come from cultures that are more egalitarian,” said Matsumoto.
They compared the intensity of an athlete’s expressions of triumph with his or her culture’s ‘power distance’ (PD).
PD represents the degree to which a culture encourages or discourages power, status and hierarchical differences among groups. They found that athletes from cultures with high PD produced such body language more than those from cultures with low PD.
Countries with high PD include India, Russia, China, Malaysia and several Arabic speaking countries. While countries with low PD include Japan, Australia, Israel, and Canada.
The US and Britain fall in the middle of the PD spectrum, along with countries such as Hungary, Iran and Italy. It is a very quick and immediate expression that is produced by many different people, in many cultures, immediately after winning their combat.
Many animals seem to have a dominant threat display that involves making their body look larger, said the study published in the journal Motivation and Emotion.
“Countries that place a greater emphasis on hierarchy have a greater need for body language that helps establish power and status,” Matsumo added.
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