The History and Science of the Handshake

In Scientific American, Jesse Bering writes at length about the cultural origins and significance of the handshake, what controlled experiments have determined about the personalities reflected in different handshakes, and the gesture's evolutionary similarities with those of other primates:

In chimpanzees, he points out, dominant apes will oftentimes extend an open hand to distressed subordinates as a sort of calming gesture; and in some chimp communities, individuals will clasp hands overhead as they manually groom each other. In humans, in contrast, it’s most often the subordinate who initiates the handshake, particularly toward dominant people they wish to impress.


Link | Photo: US House of Representatives

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That's a tradition I'd like to see go away. It's pretty gross to have to touch a stranger's hand, not knowing where it's been, when it was last sneezed into, or whether the toilet paper tore and the person wasn't so diligent in washing afterward. It's especially unpleasant if the hand feels moist. Some people wait for a cue to see if a handshake is desired, but others just thrust the hand at you. Its real purpose is to demonstrate your willingness to grab someone's moist, germy hand to avoid offending them.
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How naïeve of me- I only thought the handshake had come from former times only to prove that one greeted eachother with un-armed bare hand on equal level.

...Now I have to learn the Social Art of The Handshake- In such a way that I will not seem weak, sub-ordinate or ordinate and all those other things, but just right...
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