Journal of Nonverbal Behavior

, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 129–158

Victim Selection and Kinematics: A Point-Light Investigation of Vulnerability to Attack


  • Rebekah E. Gunns
    • University of Canterbury
  • Lucy Johnston
    • University of Canterbury
    • Department of PsychologyUniversity of Canterbury
  • Stephen M. Hudson
    • University of Canterbury

DOI: 10.1023/A:1020744915533

Cite this article as:
Gunns, R.E., Johnston, L. & Hudson, S.M. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior (2002) 26: 129. doi:10.1023/A:1020744915533


Three experiments used a point-light methodology to investigate whether movement style specifies vulnerability to physical attack. Both female (Experiment 1) and male (Experiment 2) walkers could be differentiated according to ease-of-attack based solely on the kinematic information provided whilst walking. Specific walking style features predicted ease-of-attack and profiles of prototypically “easy to attack” and “difficult to attack” walkers were identified. Variations in walking style as a function of clothing and footwear style were also shown to predict differences in ease-of-attack ratings (Experiment 3). Theoretical and practical implications of these findings are considered.


Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 2002