Your body language is telling tales

As a lifelong swaggerer I have long been aware that a walk says a lot about a person.

Tuesday, 20th September 2016, 11:51 am
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 2:56 am
Life on Tapp with Blaise Tapp SUS-160516-112125001
Life on Tapp with Blaise Tapp SUS-160516-112125001

We all know those who scurry, amble, mince and even drag themselves from A to B and will occasionally comment on somebody else’s gait, sometimes to the point of extracting the Michael.

It is quite simple really: if a chap walks like he is carrying an imaginary telly under each arm the he is clearly somebody not to invite to the local book club.

But it now appears that, like everything else, the way we walk, could be used against us in future.

Scientists (yes them again) have conducted the most comprehensive study yet into what a walk says about us. Researchers took 29 volunteers and tested them for a variety of personality traits including openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism.

They then used cameras and a treadmill on the human guinea pigs to work out whether the walks matched their personalities with the key conclusion being that aggressive types tend to walk like Liam Gallagher.

This may not be the most astounding study finding of recent times but it could prove to be yet another nail in the coffin of our already diminishing civil liberties. It has been suggested that in future a walk could be used to tackle crime - that CCTV operators could spot someone with the moves of a villain and prevent a crime from taking place.

Sure, it is some way off but if, in years to come, lawmakers are suitably convinced by the merits of the research then anyone who walks like they have a broken backside could find themselves labelled as possible fugitive.

It seems that there is no hiding place in the 21st Century Britain, a country where you are seemingly closer to a surveillance camera than you are to a humble sewer rat. If it sometimes feel like we live in a world like the one depicted in the Bourne Identity that is probably because we do - every aspect of our lives either is, or can be, recorded thanks to the march of technology.

If it isn’t the camera on every corner or road bridge then each move we make can be monitored via our card transactions, our social media output and, of course, the mobile phone in our pocket.

I have long been in the camp that believes that those who live within the law have absolutely nothing to fear from Big Brother but as technology develops it seems the authorities’ ability to keep a close eye on law abiding citizens improves by the day.

This is an issue which has long been debated both in the corridors of power and in bars and clubs across the country and that will continue to be the case for years to come. Yes, we want our families to be safe from villains who would blow our planes out of the sky or pollute our streets with drugs but at what point do we say ‘enough is enough’?

It is undoubtedly impressive that science could allow experts to determine an individual’s character by studying their walk, but it is how we use that information which worries me the most.

After all, if we started locking up people on the basis of their swagger then I would have spent half a lifetime wearing a grey prison-issue sweatshirt and eating porridge.