Body language is a type of communication in which physical behaviors, as opposed to words, are used to express or convey information. Such behavior includes facial expressions, body posture, gestures, eye movement, touch and the use of space. The term body language is usually applied in regard to people but may also be applied to animals. The study of body language is also known as kinesics.
In a society, there are agreed-upon interpretations of particular behavior. Interpretations may vary from country to country, or culture to culture. (On this note, there also is controversy on whether body language is universal.) Body language, a subset of nonverbal communication, complements verbal communication in social interaction. In fact, some researchers conclude that nonverbal communication accounts for the majority of information transmitted during interpersonal interactions. It helps to establish the relationship between two people and regulates interaction, yet it can be ambiguous.
Whilst facial body language can be interpreted as a sign of genuine emotion, a lack of it may suggest a lack of sincerity. For example, a lack of wrinkles around the eyes suggests a potentially fake smile. At one point, researchers believed that making a genuine smile was nearly impossible to do on command. When someone is smiling joyfully they wrinkle around their eyes. When someone is faking it, they do not. If someone is trying to look happy but really is not, one will not see the wrinkles. More recently, however, a study conducted by researchers at Northeastern University found that people could convincingly fake a Duchenne smile, even when they were not feeling especially happy.
The body language of the head should be considered in conjunction with that of the neck. In terms of general posture, the head should be positioned in a manner which feels natural. Body language conveyed by the head and neck involves various ranges of movement. However, it is important to note that the positioning of the head should not cause the neck to be stretched or compressed for too long a period of time without relief. If the neck is strained in this manner, it may inhibit the ability to use it to convey body language messages effectively. In addition, some researchers and health practitioners have found that there is a relationship between prolonged poor posture of the head and neck, and negative mental states. As such, body language which involves the head and neck should not cause strain and seek to be as natural as possible. As with all forms of body language, it is useful to understand as many other connected factors as possible in order to accurately identify the meaning.
The posture and movement of the chest is a factor of fundamental importance when considering the messages the body as a whole sends out. In general terms, the relative fullness or shallowness of the chest, especially around the sternum, can be a key indicator of both mood and attitude. When the body language of the chest is assessed in everyday circumstances, it involves an instinctive assessment of these factors of shape and volume.
Touching the chest can indicate different things. A person who places two hands over their heart may do so to emphasise that they are being sincere in what they are saying. Rubbing the chest, especially over the heart, can be a sign of discomfort, possibly from stress and tension. As with other examples of chest body language, it may be related to a person's heart rate.
Similarly to the chest, the posture of the shoulders is an easily observable body language sign. When the shoulders are back with the chest forwards this generally indicates confidence. If the shoulders are positioned forwards with the body hunched then this can be a sign of low confidence or self-esteem; it may also be demonstrative of a feeling of dejection or sadness.Usually if a person is relaxed their shoulders are positioned lower; if they are feeling tense or anxious then they are held in a raised position.
According to body language specialists Barbara Pease and Allan Pease everybody does shoulder shrug. They state that the shrug is a good example of "a universal gesture that is used to show that a person does not understand what you are saying. It's a multiple gesture that has three main parts: exposed palms to show nothing is being concealed in the hands, hunched shoulders to protect the throat from attack, and raised brow which is a universal, submissive greeting."
Body language related to breathing and patterns of breathing can be indicative of a person's mood and state of mind; because of this, the relationship between body language and breathing is often considered in contexts such as business meetings and presentations. Generally, deeper breathing which uses the diaphragm and abdomen more is interpreted as conveying a relaxed and confident impression; by contrast, shallow, excessively rapid breathing is often interpreted as conveying a more nervous or anxious impression.
Covering one's mouth suggests suppression of feeling and perhaps uncertainty. This could also mean that they are thinking hard and may be unsure of what to say next.What you communicate through your body language and nonverbal signals affects how others see you, how well they like and respect you, and whether or not they trust you.
Oculesics, a subcategory of body language, is the study of eye movement, eye behavior, gaze, and eye-related nonverbal communication. As a social or behavioral science, oculesics is a form of nonverbal communication focusing on deriving meaning from eye behavior.It is also crucial to note that Oculesics is culturally dependent.For example, in traditional Anglo-Saxon culture, avoiding eye contact usually portrays a lack of confidence, certainty, or truthfulness. However, in the Latino culture, direct or prolonged eye contact means that you are challenging the individual with whom you are speaking or that you have a romantic interest in the person. Also, in many Asian cultures, prolonged eye contact may be a sign of anger or aggression.
Another notable area in the nonverbal world of body language is that of spatial relationships, which is also known as Proxemics. Introduced by Edward T. Hall in 1966, proxemics is the study of measurable distances between people as they interact with one another. In the book, Body Language, Julius Fast mentioned that the signals that we send or receive to others through body language are reactions to others' invasions of our personal territories, which links Proxemics an important part of Body Language.
Changing the distance between two people can convey a desire for intimacy, declare a lack of interest, or increase/decrease domination. It can also influence the body language that is used. For example, when people talk they like to face each other. If forced to sit side by side, their body language will try to compensate for this lack of eye-to-eye contact by leaning in shoulder-to-shoulder.
A person may alter their body language in order to alter the attitude they convey; this may in turn influence the rapport they have with another person. Whether a formal or informal attitude is conveyed may influence the other person's response. For instance, if an interviewer conveys a formal attitude, then this gives a more business-like impression, which may encourage the interviewee to give more serious answers. This may develop a more professional rapport overall between them. Alternatively, if the interviewer conveys an informal attitude, then this conveys a more open and casual impression. This may be used to elicit a more open response from the interviewee, encourage them to give more revealing answers, and potentially develop a more personal rapport.
Trust is fundamental to all positive relationships between people. Body language which expresses trust will usually convey a sense of openness and warmth. Contrarily, mistrusting body language will appear relatively closed and cold. Body language which conveys a sense of trust can vary depending on the nature of the relationship. For example, for business, friendships, and intimate relationships there may be similarities in the body language used but it can also be significantly different.
Body language which conveys trust in a business context is done so in a formal manner. This is in keeping with business etiquette in general where people present themselves in a professional and focused manner which also overtly recognises that the relationship has boundaries. A businessperson-like approach signals to another person that they can trust that business will be the main focus of the conversation and not anything else. The handshake is used commonly in business at the start of a meeting or negotiation. It shows that each person is willing to trust the other. It may be accompanied by a warm smile, but it would not usually be accompanied by more familiar, less formal body language such as a broad grin or pat on the shoulder. Business body language specifically attempts to avoid body language that conveys mistrust. For example, if someone crosses their arms or legs while speaking in a business context, it can give the impression of a barrier being presented to the other person. That person may then think that the person speaking does not trust them or is hiding something. Because barrier type body language may signal mistrust, it is avoided in business contexts.
Body language between friends is typically more expressive and informal than body language in business. Trust within a friendship is conveyed in numerous different expressive forms. Like in business a handshake may be used on meeting but this may also involve clasping two hands around one hand or placing a hand on the shoulder etc. Body language which conveys trust between friends may also be significantly more expressive and physical than in business. Giving someone a pat on the back or a hug for example. 2b1af7f3a8