Thumb displays denote superiority and royalty has made them famous, but they have also been adopted by lawyers trying to seem noble and important. One way thumbs are displayed is by placing all but the thumbs in the front pockets of a vest or suite jacket, or by knuckling the vest and leaving the thumbs out. Thumbs-up can also turn a timid interlaced fingers gesture into a positive thoughts gesture by flaring the thumbs up during conversation.
Thumbs-out is a representation of ego, dominance, confidence, comfort, assertiveness and sometimes even aggressiveness. The thumbs-out gesture is usually found in clusters with other dominant body language. For example, to denote superiority, the legs would also be spread apart, the chest puffed out to appear larger and the head held back, all the while glaring down the nose at any onlookers. The thumbs up gesture, wherever it happens, is a form of “gravity defying’ body language. This means that it is related to positive emotions since it requires energy to do and people that are depressed aren’t interested in burning energy especially wastefully.
The polar opposite to the thumb display is hidden thumbs which may happen by placing just the thumbs in front pockets with the remaining fingers outside. This posture says “I’m unsure of myself” and denotes extreme low confidence and low status. Hidden thumbs can be found when people are timid, insecure, or feel social discomfort and is a childhood throwback to when children stand in front of their parents looking disappointed and saddened.