Dr. Gallup's work on handgrip strength as measure of social behavior published in Frontiers in Psychology

Dr. Gallup's work on handgrip strength as measure of social behavior published in Frontiers in Psychology

Tuesday, April 24, 2018 - 11:12
In the News

A new study co-authored by SUNY Poly Assistant Professor Dr. Andrew Gallup relating handgrip strength to measures of social and sexual behavior is getting attention from a prominent psychology journal.

Frontiers in Psychology is the largest journal in its field, publishing rigorously peer-reviewed research across the psychological sciences, from clinical research to cognitive science, from perception to consciousness, from imaging studies to human factors, and from animal cognition to social psychology.

In Volume 9 of the 2018 edition of Frontiers in Psychology, Dr. Gallup of SUNY Poly and Bernhard Fink of the Institute of Psychology at Georg-August University of Goettingen in Germany present “Handgrip Strength as a Darwinian Fitness Indicator in Men.”

According to the paper’s abstract, handgrip strength (HGS) is a robust measure of overall muscular strength and function, and has long been predictive of a multitude of health factors and physical outcomes for both men and women. The fact that HGS represents such a ubiquitous measure of health and vitality may reflect the significance of this trait during human evolution. This trait is also highly sexually dimorphic due to influences of androgenic hormones and fat-free body mass, suggesting that it has been further elaborated through sexual selection. Consistent with this view, research within evolutionary psychology and related fields has documented distinct relationships between HGS and measures of social and sexual behavior, especially in men. Here, we review studies across different societies and cultural contexts showing that male HGS predicts measures of aggression and social dominance, perceived formidability, male-typical body morphology and movement, courtship display, physical attractiveness, and sexual behavior and reproductive fitness. These findings underscore the value of including HGS as an independent measure within studies examining human sexual selection, and corroborate existing research suggesting that specific features of physical strength have and continue to be under positive directional selection in men.