Talking With Your Hands?

On the fourth of July we went camping and my wife took pictures of me in a serious discussion.

I was having a discussion with my brothers on the definition of a role-playing game. OK, maybe it wasn’t that serious, but the way I was holding my hands one might wonder! This amused me and inspired this post!

I’m one quarter Italian and I’ve been told that talking with your hands is an Italian thing. The questions for today are: is this really an Italian thing or just folk rumor? Is being part Italian the reason I talk with my Hands?

A New York times article states “To Italians, gesturing comes naturally.” Not a scientific publication, but I’m not making major life decisions here, this is good enough for me.

There are some interesting things online about talking with your hands, unrelated to being Italian. Many things I never knew before starting to write this post!

There is a lifehacker “Guide to Talking With Your Hands Without Being Annoying”. Hopefully I can avoid looking like the image a commentator left on that post: Fast Talking Hand Gif


According to a Forbes article “Great Leaders Talk With Their Hands”. My arms open and spread in the pictures should indicate that, I was trying to be open and honest, with nothing to hide. Can’t say I was consciously trying to convey openness or why I’d need honesty in the case of discussing the definition of a role-playing game. Perhaps I thought it would help make my point…?

I discovered that people are researching gestures and the research indicates that we gain cognitive benefits from talking with our hands. Our working memory can more easily use a gesture to communicate, which frees up some mental space for more complex thoughts. This makes sense to me. I enjoy complex discussions that fully utilize my mental capabilities. The more engaged I am in the discussion the more gestures I tend to use.

My takeaway from this little study, on talking with your hands, is: in general it’s a good thing. A caveat, we should take notice of ourselves once and a while and decide if we’re gesturing well or just being annoying.

What do you think? Do you talk with your hands?



The New York Times, When Italians Chat, Hands and Fingers Do the Talking

Lifehacker, A Guide to Talking With Your Hands Without Being Annoying

Forbes, Great Leaders Talk With Their Hands

Discover Magazine, Talk With Your Hands? You’re Doing It Right

Temperament Board/Card Game

You have a board like shoots and ladders or candy land (has a start and finish). The objective is to get to the finish. You move towards the end by drawing task cards. Each task card has something like 4 options.

Example Card Text

  1. Categorize a group of Insects according to their like properties.
  2. Paint a fence.
  3. Compete in a basket ball game.
  4. Council a person with emotional problems.

Either on the backside of the card or on some answer sheet the most preferred temperament and/or cognitive process would be listed.

Example answer text:

  1. Rational
  2. Guardian
  3. Artisan
  4. Idealist
  • Each task on the task card is assigned movement points. The points for each temperament need to average across all cards but not on each card. On each card certain actions need to be worth more points than other actions/tasks in order to tempt the player to choose a task not as well suited to their currently assigned temperament.

Another type of card can be one that asks what would you do in situation “x”. The card give 4 options and the person needs to pick the option that his temperment would be most likely to do. Instead of moving you forward for success, maybe it moves you backwards upon an incorrect selection.

  • Randomly draw personality/character cards (like in the game cash flow, when drawing occupations) to start the game.
  • The simplest version of the game would only use the four temperaments: Artisan, Guardian, Idealist, and Rational.
  • Added rules or improved/more complex versions of the game could use all 16 MTBI types and the associated cognitive processes.
  • Depending on the task each player has a chance to succeed in accomplishing the task based on his or her temperament. Possible example:
    • Rational:
      • 90% to perform a Rational task
      • 70% for Idealist
      • 60% for Artisan
      • 50% for Guardian

Action’s needed to implement:

  • Create Board
  • Create Cards with actions
  • Determine number of actions to create, could create a limited amount like 10-20 to prototype the game.
  • Create Temperament Cards
  • Decide on Each Temperaments Chance to perform the task on the cards