Washington: A strong handshake can help you clinch a good deal or land you that perfect job!

Strangers do form a positive image of those who proffer their hand in greeting, a new study has found.

Scientists at the Beckman Institute, US, found that "a handshake ... not only increases the positive effect toward a favourable interaction, but also diminishes the impact of a negative impression."

Researchers led by Florin Dolcos and postdoctoral research associate Sanda Dolcos have obvious implications for those who want to make a good impression.

"I would tell them to be aware of the power of a handshake," said Sanda.

"Many of our social interactions may go wrong for one reason or another, and a simple handshake preceding them can give us a boost and attenuate the negative impact of possible misunderstandings," she said in a statement.

These findings are based on functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and behavioural responses, collected from male and female volunteers who watched and rated animated videos of non-verbal guest-host interactions in a business setting.

The results, for the first time, give a scientific underpinning to long-held beliefs about the important role a handshake plays in social or business interactions.

Dolcos added that it's not just any handshake that leads to positive feelings, but a particular way of shaking hands, such as a firm, confident, yet friendly handshake, as is often promoted as good business practice.

"In a business setting this is what people are expecting, and those who know these things use them. Not a very long time ago you could get a loan based on a handshake. So it conveys something very important, very basic," said Dolcos.

"Yet the science underlying this is so far behind. We knew these things intuitively but now we also have the scientific support," added Dolcos.

The study findings are published in the Journal Cognitive Neuroscience.


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