5 Personal Things You Can Tell Just by Looking at Someone

They say you should never judge a book by its cover. But when it comes to people, covers are the shit. As we've discussed before, certain personality quirks and intimate details are totally given away by our appearance.

All you need to know is how to interpret them. As before, these are not 100 percent -- we're only dealing in probabilities. Still, it's weird to know that ...

#5. Their Shoes Can Reveal Their Personality Type

We're not talking about the obvious here, the way goths and metalheads deal in black boots, hippies have their sandals, and hipsters will tie their grandmother's old curtains around their feet if it gives them an excuse to look down on someone. According to science, the soled husks that cover a stranger's feet are probably revealing details about how they deal with other people.

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We're calling it: date rapist.

How It Works

A study by a pair of colleges found some peculiar trends in our choice of shoes, but not what you might think. Subjects couldn't deduce, say, political affiliation by looking at shoes, but could deduce a shit-ton of extremely personal information, including your potentially insecure, clingy behavior in close relationships. Some examples, brought to you by science:

-Anxious, clingy people prefer new and well-maintained footwear to ease their bundle of nerves.

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"Ah, better than a Xanax."

-People who wear practical shoes tend to be relatively agreeable.

-Calm, collected folks seem to get a kick out of wearing shoes that look uncomfortable (maybe to express the roaring ball of mayhem and agony they're constantly hiding within?).

-Aggressive people tend to wear ankle boots, which seems to have no inherent logic at all ... until you realize that they're clearly subconsciously selecting their footwear for better kicking-stuff-angrily ergonomics.

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"Oh yeah, that's a pair of Class 5 Coccyx Breakers."

If you're reading this and thinking, "Well, my shoes don't say anything deep about my personality, I just picked them because they were comfortable and cheap!" keep in mind that it's a certain personality type who thinks that way. That's the point -- no matter what logic you think you're following in your own head when you step into your local mall's Shoes 'N' Shit store, you're still following logic that makes sense to your personality type. Making that purchase reveals that type to the world.

#4. If They're Eating Candy, They're Probably Nicer

Imagine a likeable person. Pay particular attention to the qualities that make people perceive her as "nice." You might describe her as helpful. Fun, definitely. Honest when it counts, malleable enough to take the punches while you run away from the MMA fighter you just drunkenly mooned. All that goes with the territory. Perhaps, if you're feeling sappy enough, you might even describe the person as "sweet."

Sweet. That's a funny word in this context, now that we come to think of it. There's nothing about nice people that makes them sweet, unless you go out of your way to caramelize them. So what started this association between "sweet" and "nice"? Their everyday behavior, apparently -- it looks like munching on candy can turn a person into a regular good Samaritan.

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"Very well, cotton candy. I'll pack his chest wound with gauze, if you insist."

How It Works

To be clear, we're not talking about how giving somebody a candy bar will put them in a better mood and thus make them more willing to do nice things (although one experiment did find that, it's also kind of obvious). No, they actually did five different studies (the abstract of which hilariously points out that nice people indeed rarely taste sweeter than others, thus gently alluding to another, far darker research project behind this one) and found that a general preference for candy means the person is also more likely to be agreeable and do good deeds, just because. They were just nicer people than the ones who, say, prefer potato chips instead of chocolate at snack time.

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"These chips would go great with burning several men to death in an elevator."

And it gets weirder: Test subjects already knew that this would be the result. The subjects they surveyed anticipated that the candy-loving subjects would be more selfless and agreeable than people who liked savory or salty snacks. The experiment was just confirming what people had already observed in their everyday lives, even though it makes no sense. So maybe the innate goodness that lies in the heart of mankind is actually diabetes.

#3. Using Her Right Arm to Cradle a Baby Might Mean She's Depressed

Having a baby is supposed to be the happiest occasion of a woman's life, but 1 in 10 mothers suffer from postnatal depression. Maybe that's not so surprising -- it's a lot of stress, both mentally and physically, plus you have this little goblin thing shrieking while you're trying to sleep at night.

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"Let's make a deal: Two hours of quiet, and I'll avoid doing anything that might end in a statewide manhunt."

So if you have a friend or family member with a newborn and you wonder how they're doing, you can either ask them or just see which hand they use to hold the baby. No, really.

How It Works

Dig up some of your baby pictures. Which arm did your mom use to cradle you? Hell, just imagine holding a baby right now -- which arm would you employ? Chances are you'd use the left one. The vast majority of people do, regardless of their dominant hand. It's just one of those weird little bodily hiccups nearly all humans share.

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"Every day, you teach me so many new things ..."

In fact, it's so widespread that when scientists realized that not everyone was doing this, they started digging in ... up until they actually identified it as a potential way to tell if the mother was suffering from depression. Stressed out and depressed mothers actually cradle their babies in their right arm a lot more often than healthy, happy moms. More than twice as often, in fact -- the ratio is 14 percent right-hand bias of the healthy mothers, compared to 32 percent of the depressed ones.

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"... mostly, how to hate."

As for why, the scientists couldn't offer a guess. We're going to speculate that gestures made by stressed or annoyed people, such as the finger or that sarcastic "jerking off" motion, are more easily made with the left hand, so they instinctively need to keep it free. Prove us wrong, science.

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