Body language
Overview
Body language is a form of non-verbal communication, which consists of body posture
Human position
Human positions refers to the different positions that the human body can take.There are several synonyms that refer to the human position, often used interchangeably, but having specific flavors....

, gesture
Gesture
A gesture is a form of non-verbal communication in which visible bodily actions communicate particular messages, either in place of speech or together and in parallel with spoken words. Gestures include movement of the hands, face, or other parts of the body...

s, facial expression
Facial expression
A facial expression one or more motions or positions of the muscles in the skin. These movements convey the emotional state of the individual to observers. Facial expressions are a form of nonverbal communication. They are a primary means of conveying social information among humans, but also occur...

s, and eye movements. Humans send and interpret such signals almost entirely subconsciously.

James Borg states that human communication
Communication
Communication is the activity of conveying meaningful information. Communication requires a sender, a message, and an intended recipient, although the receiver need not be present or aware of the sender's intent to communicate at the time of communication; thus communication can occur across vast...

 consists of 93 percent body language and paralinguistic cues, while only 7% of communication consists of words themselves; however, Albert Mehrabian
Albert Mehrabian
Albert Mehrabian , has become known best by his publications on the relative importance of verbal and nonverbal messages...

, the researcher whose 1960s work is the source of these statistics, has stated that this is a misunderstanding of the findings (see Misinterpretation of Mehrabian's rule).
Others assert that "Research has suggested that between 60 and 70 percent of all meaning is derived from nonverbal behavior."

Body language may provide clues as to the attitude or state of mind of a person.
Encyclopedia
Body language is a form of non-verbal communication, which consists of body posture
Human position
Human positions refers to the different positions that the human body can take.There are several synonyms that refer to the human position, often used interchangeably, but having specific flavors....

, gesture
Gesture
A gesture is a form of non-verbal communication in which visible bodily actions communicate particular messages, either in place of speech or together and in parallel with spoken words. Gestures include movement of the hands, face, or other parts of the body...

s, facial expression
Facial expression
A facial expression one or more motions or positions of the muscles in the skin. These movements convey the emotional state of the individual to observers. Facial expressions are a form of nonverbal communication. They are a primary means of conveying social information among humans, but also occur...

s, and eye movements. Humans send and interpret such signals almost entirely subconsciously.

James Borg states that human communication
Communication
Communication is the activity of conveying meaningful information. Communication requires a sender, a message, and an intended recipient, although the receiver need not be present or aware of the sender's intent to communicate at the time of communication; thus communication can occur across vast...

 consists of 93 percent body language and paralinguistic cues, while only 7% of communication consists of words themselves; however, Albert Mehrabian
Albert Mehrabian
Albert Mehrabian , has become known best by his publications on the relative importance of verbal and nonverbal messages...

, the researcher whose 1960s work is the source of these statistics, has stated that this is a misunderstanding of the findings (see Misinterpretation of Mehrabian's rule).
Others assert that "Research has suggested that between 60 and 70 percent of all meaning is derived from nonverbal behavior."

Body language may provide clues as to the attitude or state of mind of a person. For example, it may indicate aggression
Aggression
In psychology, as well as other social and behavioral sciences, aggression refers to behavior between members of the same species that is intended to cause humiliation, pain, or harm. Ferguson and Beaver defined aggressive behavior as "Behavior which is intended to increase the social dominance of...

, attentiveness
Attention
Attention is the cognitive process of paying attention to one aspect of the environment while ignoring others. Attention is one of the most intensely studied topics within psychology and cognitive neuroscience....

, boredom
Boredom
Boredom is an emotional state experienced when an individual is without any activity or is not interested in their surroundings. The first recorded use of the word boredom is in the novel Bleak House by Charles Dickens, written in 1852, in which it appears six times, although the expression to be a...

, relaxed state, pleasure
Pleasure
Pleasure describes the broad class of mental states that humans and other animals experience as positive, enjoyable, or worth seeking. It includes more specific mental states such as happiness, entertainment, enjoyment, ecstasy, and euphoria...

, amusement
Amusement
Amusement is the state of experiencing humorous and entertaining events or situations, and is associated with enjoyment, happiness, laughter and pleasure...

, and intoxication, among many other cues.

Understanding body language

The technique of "reading" people is used frequently. For example, the idea of mirroring
Mirroring (psychology)
Mirroring is the behaviour in which one person copies another person usually while in social interaction with them. It may include miming gestures, movements, body language, muscle tensions, expressions, tones, eye movements, breathing, tempo, accent, attitude, choice of words/metaphors and other...

 body language to put people at ease is commonly used in interviews. Mirroring the body language of someone else indicates that they are understood. It is important to note that some indicators of emotion (e.g. smiling/laughing when happy, frowning/crying when sad) are largely universal; , however in the 1990s Ekman expanded his list of basic emotions, including a range of positive and negative emotions, not all of which are encoded in facial muscles.[13] The newly included emotions are:
  1. Amusement
  2. Contempt
  3. Contentment
  4. Embarrassment
  5. Excitement
  6. Guilt
  7. Pride in achievement
  8. Relief
  9. Satisfaction
  10. Sensory pleasure
  11. Shame


Body language signals may have a goal other than communication. People would keep both these two in mind. Observers limit the weight they place on non-verbal cues. Signalers clarify their signals to indicate the biological origin of their actions. Examples would include yawning (sleepiness), showing lack of interest (sexual interest/survival interest), attempts to change the topic (fight or flight drivers).

Physical expression

Physical expressions like waving, pointing, touching and slouching are all forms of nonverbal communication
Nonverbal communication
Nonverbal communication is usually understood as the process of communication through sending and receiving wordless messages. Messages can be communicated through gestures and touch , by body language or posture, by facial expression and eye contact...

. The study of body movement and expression is known as kinesics
Kinesics
Kinesics is the interpretation of body language such as facial expressions and gestures — or, more formally, non-verbal behavior related to movement, either of any part of the body or the body as a whole.-Birdwhistell's work:...

. Humans move their bodies when communicating because, as research has shown, it helps "ease the mental effort when communication is difficult." Physical expressions reveal many things about the person using them. For example, gestures can emphasize a point or relay a message, posture can reveal boredom or great interest, and touch can convey encouragement or caution.
  • One of the most basic and powerful body-language signals is when a person crosses his or her arms across the chest. This can indicate that a person is putting up an unconscious barrier between themselves and others. It can also indicate that the person's arms are cold, which would be clarified by rubbing the arms or huddling. When the overall situation is amicable, it can mean that a person is thinking deeply about what is being discussed. But in a serious or confrontational situation, it can mean that a person is expressing opposition. This is especially so if the person is leaning away from the speaker. A harsh or blank facial expression often indicates outright hostility. A woman crossing her arms or hands over her chest while topless
    Handbra
    A handbra is a photographic pose in which a female model's nipples and areolae are covered with her own hands or with someone else's...

     is also a way of drawing attention to her breasts as well as a gesture of sexual anticipation.
  • Consistent eye contact
    Eye contact
    Eye contact is a meeting of the eyes between two individuals.In human beings, eye contact is a form of nonverbal communication and is thought to have a large influence on social behavior. Coined in the early to mid-1960s, the term has come in the West to often define the act as a meaningful and...

     can indicate that a person is thinking positively of what the speaker is saying. It can also mean that the other person doesn't trust the speaker enough to "take their eyes off" the speaker. Lack of eye contact can indicate negativity. On the other hand, individuals with anxiety disorder
    Anxiety disorder
    Anxiety disorder is a blanket term covering several different forms of abnormal and pathological fear and anxiety. Conditions now considered anxiety disorders only came under the aegis of psychiatry at the end of the 19th century. Gelder, Mayou & Geddes explains that anxiety disorders are...

    s are often unable to make eye contact without discomfort. Eye contact can also be a secondary and misleading gesture because cultural norms about it vary widely. If a person is looking at you, but is making the arms-across-chest signal, the eye contact could be indicative that something is bothering the person, and that he wants to talk about it. Or if while making direct eye contact, a person is fiddling with something, even while directly looking at you, it could indicate the attention is elsewhere. Also, there are three standard areas that a person will look which represent different states of being. If the person looks from one eye to the other, then to the forehead, it is a sign that they are taking an authoritative position. If they move from one eye to the other, then to the nose, that signals that they are engaging in what they consider to be a "level conversation" with neither party holding superiority. The last case is from one eye to the other and then down to the lips. This is a strong indication of romantic feelings.
  • Disbelief is often indicated by averted gaze, or by touching the ear
    Ear
    The ear is the organ that detects sound. It not only receives sound, but also aids in balance and body position. The ear is part of the auditory system....

     or scratch
    Itch
    Itch is a sensation that causes the desire or reflex to scratch. Itch has resisted many attempts to classify it as any one type of sensory experience. Modern science has shown that itch has many similarities to pain, and while both are unpleasant sensory experiences, their behavioral response...

    ing the chin
    Chin
    In the human anatomy, the chin is the lowermost part of the face.It is formed by the lower front of the mandible.People show a wide variety of chin structures. See Cleft chin....

    . When a person is not being convinced by what someone is saying, the attention
    Attention
    Attention is the cognitive process of paying attention to one aspect of the environment while ignoring others. Attention is one of the most intensely studied topics within psychology and cognitive neuroscience....

     invariably wanders, and the eyes will stare away for an extended period.
  • Boredom
    Boredom
    Boredom is an emotional state experienced when an individual is without any activity or is not interested in their surroundings. The first recorded use of the word boredom is in the novel Bleak House by Charles Dickens, written in 1852, in which it appears six times, although the expression to be a...

     is indicated by the head tilting to one side, or by the eyes looking straight at the speaker but becoming slightly unfocused. A head tilt may also indicate a sore neck or Amblyopia
    Amblyopia
    Amblyopia, also known as lazy eye, is a disorder of the visual system that is characterized by a vision deficiency in an eye that is otherwise physically normal, or out of proportion to associated structural abnormalities of the eye...

    , and unfocused eyes may indicate ocular problems in the listener.
  • Interest can be indicated through posture or extended eye contact, such as standing and listening properly.
  • Deceit or the act of withholding information can sometimes be indicated by touching the face during conversation. Excessive blinking is a well-known indicator of someone who is lying. Recently, evidence has surfaced that the absence of blinking can also represent lying as a more reliable factor than excessive blinking.


Some people use and understand body language differently, or not at all. Interpreting their gestures and facial expressions (or lack thereof) in the context of normal
Neurotypical
Neurotypical is a term that was coined in the autistic community as a label for people who are not on the autism spectrum: specifically, neurotypical people have neurological development and states that are consistent with what most people would perceive as normal, particularly with respect to...

 body language usually leads to misunderstandings and misinterpretations (especially if body language is given priority over spoken language). It should also be stated that people from different culture
Culture
Culture is a term that has many different inter-related meanings. For example, in 1952, Alfred Kroeber and Clyde Kluckhohn compiled a list of 164 definitions of "culture" in Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions...

s can interpret body language in different ways.

How prevalent is non-verbal communication in humans?

Some researchers put the level of nonverbal communication as high as 80 percent of all communication when it could be at around 50-65 percent. Different studies have found differing amounts, with some studies showing that facial communication is believed 4.3 times more often than verbal meaning, and another finding that verbal communication in a flat tone is 4 times more likely to be understood than a pure facial expression. Albert Mehrabian is noted for finding a 7%-38%-55% rule, supposedly denoting how much communication was conferred by words, tone, and body language. However he was only referring to cases of expressing feelings or attitudes.

Proxemics

Proxemics is the field of knowledge that deals with distance between a person and other people or objects around them and how this space changes. The distance between people in a social situation often discloses information about the type relationship between the people involved. Proximity may also reveal the type of social setting taking place. There is an intimate zone reserved for lovers, children and close family members. This zone is between six and eighteen inches. 1.5 to 4 feet is the distance that friends or associates will generally be within. That is, people that are close but not necessarily be on a regular touching basis. Between 4 and 12 feet is the zone for more social environments. These are familiar people such as co-workers or someone else that is seen occasionally throughout the week. The outer end of this zone is reserved for newly formed groups, and new acquaintances. The last zone accruing between 10 and 25 feet and is known to be public distance. This area of space is used for speeches, lectures, and theater; essentially, public distance is that range reserved for larger audiences or for people that are not familiar.

Unintentional gestures

Recently, there has been huge interest in studying human behavioral clues that could be useful for developing an interactive and adaptive human-machine system. Unintentional human gestures such as making an eye rub, a chin rest, a lip touch, a nose itch, a head scratch, an ear scratch, crossing arms, and a finger lock have been found conveying some useful information in specific context. Some researchers have tried to extract such gestures in a specific context of educational applications. In poker
Poker
Poker is a family of card games that share betting rules and usually hand rankings. Poker games differ in how the cards are dealt, how hands may be formed, whether the high or low hand wins the pot in a showdown , limits on bet sizes, and how many rounds of betting are allowed.In most modern poker...

 games, such gestures are referred to as "tells
Tell (poker)
A tell in poker is a change in a player's behavior or demeanor that is claimed by some to give clues to that player's assessment of their hand. A player gains an advantage if they observe and understand the meaning of another player's tell, particularly if the tell is unconscious and reliable...

" and are useful to players for detecting deception or behavioral patterns in an opponent(s).

There is also a huge interest in learning to avoid any unintentional gesture that might leave a negative impression on the onlookers. A large number of people are starting to attend special sessions on controlled body behaviour and take advice from expert sociologists. Learning good body language, such as living styles of foreign people, is important during interaction in any sort of global community.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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