Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Body language

Body language is a form of non-verbal communication, which consists of body posture, gestures, facial expressions, and eye movements. Humans send and interpret such signals subconsciously.

It is often said[weasel words] that human communication consists of 93 percent body language and paralinguistic cues, while only 7% of communication consists of words themselves; however, Albert Mehrabian, 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, attentiveness, boredom, relaxed state, pleasure, amusement, and intoxication, among many other cues.

Physical expressions like waving, pointing, touching and slouching are all forms of nonverbal communication. The study of body movement and expression is known as kinesics. Humans move their bodies when communicating because, as research has shown[citation needed], 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.[citation needed] 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.
* Consistent eye contact 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 his eyes off" the speaker. Lack of eye contact can indicate negativity. On the other hand, individuals with anxiety disorders 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.[citation needed]
* Disbelief is often indicated by averted gaze, or by touching the ear or scratching the chin. 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.[citation needed]
* 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 or Amblyopia, and unfocused eyes may indicate ocular problems in the listener.[citation needed]
* Interest can be indicated through posture or extended eye contact, such as standing and listening properly.[citation needed]
* 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.

It should be noted that some people use and understand body language differently, or not at all.[citation needed] 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.


Body Language Meanings

Erect Body
When you display an erect body or walk briskly with the body erect then it is the sign of confidence. Standing or walking erect conveys that you are ready and able to face anyone or anything.

Hands On Hips
Keeping the hands on the hip displays aggression. It also sends across the message that you are in a state of readiness.

Legs Crossed
When you sit with your legs crossed with the foot tapping lightly then it is the sign of boredom. Boredom can also be signified if you rest your head on your hand and with down cast eyes.

Legs Apart
Sitting with the legs spread apart is the sign that you are relaxed. This posture also signifies that you are open for any communication.

Arms Crossed
If you keep your arms crossed then you spread across the message that you are in a defensive state.

Shoulders Hunched
When you are in a dejected mood then you will be in a posture where your shoulders will be hunched and your fists in your pocket.

Hand On Cheek
This body gesture portrays that you are in a brooding state of mind. In this position others will think that you are in deep thinking.

Rubbing The Nose
If you are talking to somebody and you unconsciously rub your nose lightly then the other person will get the impression that you do not believe what you are saying. That is either you are lying or doubting.

Clasping The Hands Behind The Back
This is the sign of an angry and frustrated person. He or she is full of apprehension.

Rubbing The Hands
This body language signifies that you are anticipating something.

Legs Crossed With The Palms Clasped Behind The Back
In this posture you show your confidence and superiority. Observe that when you achieve something how you subconsciously adopt this posture.

Tapping The Fingers
When you are impatient you tap or drum your fingers.

Patting Hair
Lack of self confidence or a sense of insecurity gives rise to this body gesture. You tend to keep your hand on your head fondling the hair.

Tilting The Head
Tilting the head shows the sign of interest. When you are absorbed in something interesting the head tilts slightly to the side.

Stroking The Chin
Stroking the chin signifies that you are either indecisive or trying hard to come to a decision.




  1. It sometimes seems to be unbelivible how important is body language. People generally don't think about it but world is changing. Nowadays politicians, managers often have their own body language trainers. As to me, I think I'm abusing using gesture, but as I'm only a student I don't think much about it.

  2. I think, we can compare a body language to speaking language. Both of them are equally important in community between people. Person who body language is very poor, make unnatural impression while he/she is speaking. Moreover, In my opinion there should be balance between body and speaking language. People who make to many gestures during speaking are usually looking strange and they may scare off interlocutor.

  3. I don't believe in the body language. In my opinion behaviours of every man are peculiar. What at one is a word of anger at other it will be expression of fear. I know such people, which winkle eyebrows how they are sad but generally people claim that the indication is making it angry. Therefore there are in my opinion no something like that as the body language

  4. In my oppinion body language is important as much as speaking language. We can show this way almost everything, which we can't say, using words: our joy, sadness, wonderment and so on. Of course, we should also control it, because we can "say" too much and it could have some bad consequences ;)

  5. I agree with you that body language is very important... I wish I could control it better but unfortunately sometimes it's just impossible ;)
    It's funny how different meaning can the same gestures have in different cultures, it can sometimes be hard to know how we should react to some situations. However, I think that it's possible to train it but it takes a lot of work ;)

  6. “A head tilt may also indicate a sore neck or Amblyopia, and unfocused eyes may indicate ocular problems in the listener.” - it's the best fragment ;D

    I share the view that a body language is very important. I think it pays to know how to use it because, like example of politicians body language trainers quoted by Michał shows. Nevertheless, it pays to everybody, not only to the politicians. I know by experience that when you have a timid posture and gestures, people often disregard you. On the contrary, if you show your confidence by an erect position, determined movements and you look straight in face, people will pay attention to you. I've tried it out on the fuctionaries! It really works :D

  7. "I think it pays to know how to use it because, like example of politicians body language trainers quoted by Michał shows."

    -without "because", sorry ;)

  8. Body language is really important in every day life. First of all it can help us to find satisfying job, make a relationships with other people, or just say something we want to say by gestures... If we know some bases of body language we could know what somebody think about us. There we can also know when somebody cheated us.

  9. I agree, body language is very important and it often shows more of truth about someone's mood, opinion or intentions than this person suppose. When we meet somebody new we usually need only one or two minutes, even without many words, to have an opinion about this person. And it's because the body language.

  10. I agree that body language has a big impact on the way we see others with whom we interact. But I also think that there are so many ways to interpret other peoples’ body language that it can also be quite deceiving and confusing. How we interpret one’s body language and gestures depends on the moment and the situation. So even thought first impressions are important I don’t think we should judge people only upon the way they use their body language.

  11. I also think that body language is important but it can be very misleading. I wouldn't take it as a best way to get to know people and their feeling. Sometime people actions may not be done on purpose and we may read it differently. YOu must be very carefull not to cause harm to anyone. Like someone above said: first impressions are very important but we should stick to it beacuse to maybe far from thruth.

  12. It also means that all my life I've been giving wrong signals to the world:) As so I thing that performing a body language can be interpreted in many ways and necessary is to know an individual person well to interpret it correctly. In many situations the opposite situation can occur- when a public person who is not a personal talker but makes speeches for the audience or viewers. He/she have to learn how to operate the body and what signals to give in order to be well understood and given trust by most of the people.

  13. When we are going to meet somone better body language is important and we should check what our interlocutor do with hsi hands etc. But nowadays when i see politicans who were teached by public relations specialist and they always do sth with their hands I hate word ''body language''. It sad but sometimes it's irrelavant what you are saying. More important is message which you send by your body. If you make a speech think more about words and voice intonation rather focus on gesticulation.

  14. In my opinion body language is soo important as speaking language. I don't think only about special study gestures which we can use during speech or conwersation but also about our attitude to the world and another peoples, which frequently find a reflection for egzemple in expression of our face. When somebody has negative attitude it is show at her or his face and it this situation it is difficult to win somebodys friendship.

  15. Of course body language is very important and many times we don't realise it. When we talk with people often we use body language, because we want to highlight something or indicate something. Many times we use it unconsciously. But I don't know that we can interpret it. I think that I can't.

  16. The guestures help us to express our emotions which we aren't able to say. But we don't forget some guestures are caused by the gens. So we should be carefuo to recognize the body language.

  17. All of us use body language to express some emotions or opinions, we use to also look at others and interpret they gestures, face expressions etc. So we all know how to do it, we just don’t realize it because main part of that process is unconscious. We usually start to appreciate the power of body language when we see people from different culture who express themselves with the help of their body differently then we. However, luckily they are some international gestures, and while being abroad they could sometimes help us a lot.

  18. Body language is important in every day life in contact with other people. In many times it shows us what a person to whom we spoke is really thinking. Many people shows by gesture what they are talking about...sometimes it's irritating:)