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Encyclopedia > Body language
Body language (hand gestures) of US Marine Corps General Michael W. Hagee
Body language (hand gestures) of US Marine Corps General Michael W. Hagee

Body language is a term for communication using body movements or gestures instead of, or in addition to, sounds, verbal language or other communication. It forms part of the category of paralanguage, which describes all forms of human communication that are not verbal language. This includes the most subtle of movements that many people are not aware of, including winking and slight movement of the eyebrows. In addition body language can also incorporate the use of facial expressions. Image File history File links Merge-arrows. ... Non-verbal behaviour related to movement, either of any part of the body or the body as a whole. ... Body language is a form of communication. ... 040310-N-2568S-055 Washington, D.C. (Mar. ... 040310-N-2568S-055 Washington, D.C. (Mar. ... For the Bobby Womack album, see Communication (1972 album). ... For other uses, see Body (disambiguation). ... For gestures in computing, see mouse gesture. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Metacommunicative competence. ... A man winking his right eye The wink is an intentional facial expression made by closing one eye; it is distinguished from the blink by the fact that the other eye remains open. ... Categories: Anatomy stubs | Human appearance ... A facial expression results from one or more motions or positions of the muscles of the face. ...


Understanding body language

Although they are generally not aware of it, many people send and receive non-verbal signals all the time. These signals may indicate what they are truly feeling. The technique of 'reading' people is used frequently. For example, the idea of mirroring body language to put people at ease is commonly used in interviews. It sets the person being interviewed at ease. Mirroring the body language of someone else indicates that they are understood. Image File history File links Question_book-3. ... Image File history File links This is a lossless scalable vector image. ... Image File history File links This is a lossless scalable vector image. ...

Body language signals may have a goal other than communication. Both people would keep this in mind. Observers limit the weight they place on non-verbal cues. Signallers clarify their signals to indicate the biological origin of their actions.

  • 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. Such a person is not an ally, and may be considering contentious tactics.
  • Consistent eye contact can indicate that a person is thinking positively of what the speaker is saying. Individuals with anxiety disorders are often unable to make eye contact without discomfort. It can also mean that the other person doesn't trust the speaker enough to "take his eyes off" the speaker. Lack of eye contact can indicate negativity. Eye contact is often a secondary and misleading gesture because we are taught from an early age to make eye contact when speaking. 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.
  • Disbelief is often indicated by averted gaze, or by touching the ear or scratching the chin. So is eyestrain, or itchiness. When a person is not being convinced by what someone is saying, the attention invariably wanders, and the eyes will stare away for an extended period.
  • Boredom 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, and unfocused eyes may indicate ocular problems in the listener.

It should be noted that some people (e.g., people with certain disabilities, or those on the autistic spectrum) use and understand body language differently, or not at all. Interpreting their gestures and facial expressions (or lack thereof) in the context of normal 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 cultures can interpret body language in different ways. This article needs to be wikified. ... Anxiety disorder is a blanket term covering several different forms of abnormal, pathological anxiety, fears, phobias. ... This page is a candidate to be moved to Wiktionary. ... For other uses, see Ear (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Itch (disambiguation). ... This article is about the part of the face. ... This article is about psychological concept of attention. ... Boring and Bored redirect here. ... Autism is a brain development disorder characterized by impairments in social interaction and communication, and restricted and repetitive behavior, all exhibited before a child is three years old. ... Neurotypical (or NT) is a neologism used to describe people whose neurological development and state are consistent with what most people would perceive as normal in their ability to process linguistic information and social cues. ... For other uses, see Culture (disambiguation). ...

Social uses

Body language is particularly important in group communications because for large groups it dominates the spoken word.[1]

Body language is a factor in human courtship as a subconscious or subtle method of communication between potential mates. Researchers such as Desmond Morris have extensively studied and reported on courtship behaviour. (see also: Flirting) This article is about modern humans. ... Suitor redirects here. ... See also: Unconscious mind. ... Look up subtle in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Dr Desmond Morris (born 24 January 1928 in the village of Purton, UK) is most famous for his work as a zoologist and ethologist. ... Flirting is alleged to be a form of human interaction, usually expressing a sexual or romantic interest in the other person. ...

Body language is now widely used in the field of selling, where sales personnel are trained to observe and read the body language of their potential customers. Sales personnel trained to read body language can now utilize this skill to read the subliminal cue exhibited by the customers to close a deal. Consequently, many companies such as insurance companies, direct-selling companies, international car-showrooms now engage body language experts.


  • Argyle, M. (1990). Bodily communication (2nd edition). New York: International Universities Press. ISBN 0823605515
  • Livingston, Drs. Sharon and Glen (2004). How to Use Body language. Psy Tech Inc.
  1. ^ Tarnow, Eugen (1997). Bodily language is of particular importance in large groups. http://cogprints.org/4444/

His Honour Michael Argyle QC MC (31 August 1915 - 4 January 1999) was a judge at the Central Criminal Court of the United Kingdom from 1970 to 1988. ...

External links

  • "Credibility, Respect, and Power: Sending the Right Nonverbal Signals" by Debra Stein
Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
Body language
  • Communicate with Body language

  Results from FactBites:
Body language - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (788 words)
Body language is a broad term for forms of communication using body movements or gestures instead of, or in addition to, sounds, verbal language, or other forms of communication.
Body language is a factor in human courtship as a subconscious or subtle method of communication between potential mates.
Body language is documented in the animal kingdom to play an important role, particularly in the case of mammals during animal courtship.
  More results at FactBites »



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