Palm Reading Perspectives

Multi-Perspective Palm Reading: About Hands & how to make a Hand-Diagnosis

Guidelines for ‘hand diagnostics’ in the DSM IV – diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders!

with 2 comments

Hand biting can signal anxiety & autism.

DSM IV: Hand biting can signal e.g. anxiety & autism.

Can the language of the hands serve as a ‘diagnostic indicator’? This question should not be answered with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’. First of all, most people are aware of the significance of body language. However, it is not a public secret that body language can also be misleading. Therefore it is interesting to focuss a little bit more on the role of hands in the DSM IV – the international academic system for classifying psychopathology & mental disorders.

Interestingly, the book ‘DSM IV diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders‘ presents quite a few passage which describe how hands play a significant role in the classification of various serious mental disorders.

A few examples:

1 – Hand biting can signal AUSTISTIC DISORDERS (page 71);
2 – Hand tapping can signal HYPERACTIVITY (page 86);
3 – Inabilities related to the touching of objects can signal DEMENTIA (page 149);
4 – Trembling hands can signal SOCIAL PHOBIAS (page 451);
5 – Cold, clammy hands can signal ANXIETY (page 452);
6 – Sleeping on the hands can signal BREATHING-RELATED SLEEP DISORDERS (page 619);
7 – Wringling of the hands can signal AGITATION (page 819).

Needless to say, of course one should be aware that such hand behaviors should not associated in isolation of other significant clues with mental disorders!

For example, if you haven’t eaten for quite a while … it might just be perfectly normal if you observe that your hands are ‘trembling’. In that situation ‘trembling hands’ will typically  indicate: ‘time for a meal’! And generally, no reason at all to get woried about your social life, or to associate it with autism or anxiety.

Additionally, hand-behavior experts like psychologist Susan Goldin-Meadow are generally more focussed on the question ‘why do people use hand gestures?’ instead of answering ‘what is the meaning of a specific gesture?’ Because context is usually decisive regarding the motives why people start using body language.

So reading the ‘language of the hands’ may not be as easy as palm reading books may suggest. 

Read more about the work of Susan Goldin-Meadow via:

Hand Gestures Help Grade School Children Solve Math Problems


In ‘hand diagnostics’ context always matters!

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Written by martijnvanmensvoort

April 27, 2011 at 12:52 am

2 Responses

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  1. we are such integrated systems
    thanks for the reminders

    ellen mcbride

    April 27, 2011 at 4:41 pm


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