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Victory stance may be a universal gesture of triumph -- not pride -- study suggests
Date:7/16/2012

heir arms above the shoulders, clenched their fists and their faces showed grimaces or mouths yelling. In the photographs labeled pride, athletes held their arms out from their body with their hands open, tilted their head back and their face showed a small smile.

"One of the biggest differences between triumph and pride can be seen in the face," Matsumoto said. "When someone feels triumphant after a contest or challenge, their face can look quite aggressive. It's like Michael Phelps' reaction after winning the 2008 Olympics. It looks quite different to the small smile we see when someone is showing pride."

Matsumoto says expressions of triumph are a declaration of one's success or performance whereas expressions of pride stem from feeling good about one's self, which requires time for self-evaluation. That may explain, says Matsumoto, why after a victory, expressions of triumph kick in before those of pride.

Analysis of the photographs of athletes used in the study revealed that triumph expressions occurred, on average, 4 seconds after the end of the judo match. Pride expressions occurred, on average, 16 seconds after the end of the match.

"Watch that immediate reaction in the first few seconds after an athlete has won their medal match no matter what the sport is -- and you'll see this triumph response from athletes all around the world, regardless of culture," Matsumoto said.

The study suggests that displays of triumph may have an important role in evolution, perhaps by helping individuals signal status and dominance in early human societies.


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Contact: Elaine Bible
ebible@sfsu.edu
415-405-3606
San Francisco State University
Source:Eurekalert  

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