Study: Post-Win Celebrations Come Naturally

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Garrett Weber-Gale, left, and Michael Phelps celebrate. i

U.S. swimmers Garrett Weber-Gale (left) and Michael Phelps celebrate winning the Men's 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay Final to take the gold medal on Day 3 of the Beijing Olympics on Aug. 11. The U.S. finished the race in a time of 3:08.24, a new world record. Cameron Spencer/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Cameron Spencer/Getty Images
Garrett Weber-Gale, left, and Michael Phelps celebrate.

U.S. swimmers Garrett Weber-Gale (left) and Michael Phelps celebrate winning the Men's 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay Final to take the gold medal on Day 3 of the Beijing Olympics on Aug. 11. The U.S. finished the race in a time of 3:08.24, a new world record.

Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

A study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences says gestures like fist-pumping and chest-puffing by victorious athletes come naturally. Study author Jessica Tracy, assistant professor at the Department of Psychology at the University of British Columbia, offers her insight to NPR's Melissa Block.

Tracy, the study's lead author, says that in their work on the 2004 Olympics, researchers found all athletes tended to show the same behaviors in response to success: expanded chests, tilted heads and outstretched arms.

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