- The Washington Times - Monday, August 5, 2002

Hold the phone here. Among blabbers, yakkers and chatterers, talkers' telephone mannerisms reflect their personalities, two new surveys reveal.
Surveying 1,000 people on how they held, cradled or gripped their phones, British psychologist Sandy Gaskins was able to divine five distinct personality types from the findings.
"Body language is a very important part of communication. This holds true even when we can't see the person we're talking to," she noted in the study. "Most people tend to stick to the same body routines when they're on the phone. You can often tell a lot from a few subtle signs."
Mrs. Gaskins found that 560 of her subjects were "naturals," holding the phone "in their primary hand to the primary ear," indicating a confident, straightforward person who likes conversations, the survey said.
Then came the upright bunch: 172 confessed they stood while talking, revealing a forthright person who is well-focused and of few words.
Another 148 cradled the phone on their shoulder, suggesting a person who wants both hands free. It indicates someone who "prioritizes tasks quickly and is always thinking two steps ahead," the survey stated.
And woe to those 64 persons who held the phone to the ear opposite the writing hand, "which suggests the person lacks confidence and may have low self-esteem."
Finally, there are the relaxed phoners, who talk with one arm wrapped around their heads, obviously showing someone to be "relaxed and laid-back."
The survey itself was commissioned by a home shopping network eager to understand its viewers.
"We commissioned the research to get a better understanding of our callers," said spokesman Glen Matchett of Bid TV. "We receive over 5,000 calls a day. But even we were startled by the results how you hold the phone is a real giveaway to what kind of person you are."
Meanwhile, another survey found plenty in text messages those terse communiques between one cellular phone user and another. One's calling reveals, well, one's calling.
Creative types such as artists, designers, landscapers and the like tended to use a mix of capital and lower case letters, snappy abbreviations and slang and were fond of custom ring tones and screen settings. They also lost their phones a lot.
The "jugglers" teachers, office workers and emergency personnel, among others used proper punctuation and grammar, gripped the phone between head and shoulder while talking and always knew exactly where their phones were located.
The "controllers" such as military personnel, lawyers and salespeople, meanwhile, tended to use all capitals and no abbreviations in their messages but sent very short communiques. They also had loud ring tones.
Finally, the "facilitators," which included nurses, child care workers and personal assistants, used lowercase letters, smiley-face symbols and colorful cases for the phone itself. They also were thoughtful, setting their phones to vibrate rather than ring in public.
London-based psychologist Sidney Crown thinks text-messaging is as revealing as handwriting about personality, and predicted that a teen-ager's "texting" style could predict what profession he favored.
"Fewer teens are using the written word nowadays," he observed. "Texting is not only vogue, it also allows us to get behind the character and guess at determining their future career possibilities."
The survey of 1,000 cell phone users was done for Woolworth's, a European electronics retailer.

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