Hands on your head

We all do it on a daily basis. When something goes wrong, when we see a dangerous situation, among other things, it is customary to put our hands on our heads. It is a gesture that we all do, everywhere in the world. It also manifests itself in sports stadiums, when a team loses the possibility of scoring a goal, all its supporters massively hold their heads.

Holding one's hands to one's head

Why is it customary to hold one’s hands to one’s head?

According to psychology, there is a reason behind this behavior: embarrassment. Studies have shown that holding the hands to the head is a gesture of apology and embarrassment. It is also explained that when humans witness something surprising or threatening, we instinctively bring our hands to our heads as a way to protect ourselves. This behavior is learned from childhood, when our parents scolded us.

The truth is that it is one of the most common gestures as an expression of failure, danger or some event that causes us surprise. However, it is not only when we fail ourselves.

It is also common to do it when failure happens to others, as happens in sports. Although it also happens to us when we see someone who suffered an accident, among other things.

Animals also do the same thing

Zoology also has an explanation. Primates have the same habit as us, who are the most evolved species.

In 1981, zoologist Desmond Morris commented that this gesture is one of 12 we use to express our failure. It is a way of seeking the protection of a hug when there is no one around to do so.

There are different forms of individual reactions to puzzling situations. Some people raise their eyes to heaven, as if seeking a divine answer. Others prefer to lower their gaze to the ground, as if reflecting internally. Although this is not a religious gesture, it is a way of seeking an explanation for events that seem inexplicable to us.

There are individuals who prefer to close their eyes, cover their ears or keep their mouths shut, as a way to avoid witnessing, hearing or commenting on something. In sports, when something negative happens, it is common to see spectators cover their heads with their jerseys, as a sign of a desire to disappear.

According to a Japanese psychologist, the action of holding one’s hands to one’s head is like wanting to dwarf in order not to be seen. A sign of protection and at the same time of wanting to be somewhere else, less where the failure was evident.

What is certain is that we all speak the same universal language of gestures It is fascinating to think that this gesture may have been passed down from generation to generation over thousands of years, from our ancestors to the present day.

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