Swaggering down the sidewalk may soon get you extra attention from the folks watching you on closed circuit TV cameras.

Researchers from the Department of Psychology at the University of Portsmouth in England found that “exaggerated movement” of the upper and lower body as one walks is a signal that the person may be up to no good.

“When walking, the body naturally rotates a little; as an individual steps forward with their left foot, the left side of the pelvis will move forward with the leg, the left shoulder will move back and the right shoulder forward to maintain balance,” said Liam Satchell, lead researcher for the study released Tuesday. “An aggressive walk is one where this rotation is exaggerated.”


Smile (but don’t swagger) as you pass this surveillance camera in Memphis. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

The researchers used 3D motion capture technology to analyze thorax and pelvis movements as well as the speed of the subject’s gait.

They correlated the analysis with personality tests intended to guage traits like extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism.

“People are generally aware that there is a relationship between swagger and psychology. Our research provides empirical evidence to confirm that personality is indeed manifest in the way we walk,” Satchell said.

Linking the way a person walks and his propensity for aggression is more than just an academic exercise. It could be used to spot potential criminals.

He suggested that if closed circuit TV cameras could be used by observers “to recognize the aggressive walk demonstrated in this research, their ability to recognize impending crimes could be improved further.”

Film buffs might recall The Minority Report, the Steven Spielberg movie with Tom Cruise and Colin Farrell, in which a “PreCrime” force collars crooks before they have a chance to do the deed.

Life immitating art?



Preparation of the flu vaccine involves injecting the virus into an egg. Many people are getting the vaccine earlier these days. (Credit: U.S. Food and Drug Administration)

Drug stores, supermarkets and other retail outlets are using early flu shots as a marketing tool “to get people into the store to buy other things,” Tom Charland, CEO of Merchant Medicine, said in a Kaiser Health News story published today.

The stores’ approach of delivering medical services “in an on-demand way” appeals to millennials, said Charland, whose Merchant Medicine group tracks the walk-in clinic industry.

This year’s flu vaccine was already available in August. But some experts say it may be too soon to cover the entire upcoming flu season. Getting a shot anytime is better than not at all, experts said, but the ideal time is between Halloween and Thanksgiving.