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Cognitive clues from eyeball movements

During face-to-face conversation, you’ll find other person glancing (i.e. rolling eye balls) in certain directions while answering to queries. Even you may find yourself doing the same unconsciously, only if keen attention is paid.

If you or the other person is right handed then following would the interpretation of each directional glance if asked query was “What’s your favorite food?” for example. Each mode of information processing has been verbally represented.


A) Visual Memory Recall: “What was that looking like? Was that colored red o green? Was that looking like noodles? Was that decorated? Where I ate it first time?” 

B) Auditory Memory Recall: “What was name of it? Who cooked it for me? With whom I ate it?” 

C) Self Dialogue: “What I really like? Why can’t I remember my favorite food item? Is the query going too personal?”  

D) Visual Construction: “How would he/she respond if I tell her my favorite food item as Burger? What will make him/her happy as an answer?”  

E) Auditory Construction: “What would he/she say if I don’t answer query right now? How would it sound if I say ‘I like donuts…but not so much’?” 

F) Kinesthetic: Glancing in this direction means person’s checking his/her feelings, emotions and sensations while being queried. You may find person glancing in same direction after asking him/her like “What if we walk to nearby restaurant and enjoy coffee?” or "Are you interested in continental cuisine?" For the left handed person, direction of glance might be reverse for same information processing.

Let me be clear that these are general interpretations. Eye movements might differ ethnicity, culture and society wise across the globe. Only close observation and proper querying can help in disclosing true clues they give away.

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Why we copy each other's body language?

We walk in restaurant or cafe and spot a couple sitting in corner, intimately gazing towards each other and resonating facial expressions. In a bar, two friends stand next to of each other adopting same postures. In a local park, briskly walking senior citizens match their pace with each other along. In office, two close colleagues defend each other with quite identical gesticulations in front of their superior. Unconsciously, one person adopts posture, gesticulates or expresses emotion on face and other follows or matches up with it.

Copying or matching with body language of others is called as Mirroring or Movement Synchronization. Prof. Dr. David B. Givens (Director of Center of Nonverbal Studies in Spokane, United States of America) coined scientific term called as ISOPREXIMCS for this unique behavior.

It’s quite interesting to know the secret behind it that is deeply rooted inside our brain. Mirror Neurons in premotor cortex, the supplementary motor area, primary somatosensory cortex, and the inferior parietal cortex allows us to observe, empathize, and imitate other person. Even mirror neurons induce same emotions and feelings in our mind sighting other person or group if we have certain degree of attachment with.

Unconsciously, we like the persons who moves, behaves or expresses alike ourselves. We feel safe and nurtured when other person complements us, shares our distress and delights and makes us feel better about ourselves. After all, it’s about forming relationship and staying in it. Mirroring is evident to uniform feeling, understanding, thinking, planning, and persuasion.

You may find children are quite smart to mirror parents for venting their anger and win favor or attention. In performing arts like dance, singing or playing instruments or exercising, synchronization creates mesmerizing effect.

However, conscious mirroring is good for convincing or sympathizing only in appropriate situations and at proper degree. It’s not useful if the initiating person becomes aware of it and express distress. Read this interesting conclusions by a researcher at University of California, San Diego.

Not only humans but animals and birds also do mirror each other to form strong bonding among themselves. In fact, secret behind mirroring in human has been discovered after doing research on monkeys since they share identical genetic profile with us.

Do watch interesting presentation delivered by Dr. Vilayanur Ramachandran (Professor of Behavioral Neurology and Psychoanalysis, University of California, United States of America) at TED on discovery and function of Mirror Neurons.
 

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Elevator Etiquettes

It’s human nature to feel intimidated or uneasy in proximity of strangers. Until we don’t know their intentions and temperaments, we tend to struggle for keep safer distance to flight or fight if any sign of danger emerges. Even if we know others, we respect their private space and let them feel more comfortable and express intimacy only when it's acceptable in given situation. Like commuting by public transport, we share common and limited space in elevators and more often, we encounter strangers at very close distance.

Following things would not lead us to any unwelcoming situation or embarrassment:

1) Don’t call anybody by their names, share jokes or touch them. Don’t use any sign language that other may not interpret.

2) Don’t talk until its emergency. Don’t gesticulate, laugh or make any kind of facial expressions or noise if possible.

3) Maintain straight posture and don’t lean at anybody. Don’t appreciate or show any intimacy towards person you know.

4) Don’t look at anybody and keep your gaze straight and upward. You may look at the floor counter or simply mimic reading magazine or newspaper only if it doesn’t touch with body of others.

5) Keep your voice low if you need to attend call on cell phone.

6) Don’t hurry to get out of elevator until you don’t stand close to exit door. You may simply request others to make way to it.

7) Keep baggage in your hands hanging and don’t juggle with it.

8) Kindly request others to push button if it's out of your reach.

9) To cut this icy situation, you may simply address everybody by line “It’s nice day today.” in decent tone. Seasonal and festival greetings are just great!

10) While existing elevator, saying “Good bye”, “Have a great day” with hand wave and decent smile would certainly help dwellers feel nice.

Perhaps, you may find yourself and many persons following these etiquettes unconsciously.

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Basic Emotional Expressions

According to renowned American psychologist Dr. Paul Ekman, seven basic emotions are widely experienced in different human cultures across the planet. Expressing emotions is not required to be taught. It's an autonomous process and we all inherit it from our common ancestors. Apart of seven basic emotions, all other emotions (and their expressions) can be classified under a particular emotion or as a combination of different emotions. For example, aggressiveness is closely related with anger whereas nervousness is combination of fear and sadness.

Do watch YouTube video of Dr. Paul Ekman talking about emotions - evolution, purpose and sensory stimulus.


1) Fear – It’s a state of preparing to run away from imagined or actual warning or danger. 

Eyebrows tensely get curled, shoulders fall down, neck gets stiff, gaze get focused or redirected, eyes get widely open to let more light pass to retina, mouth opens wide to let more air pass to lungs, vocal tone trembles, respiration soars, heartbeats goes up, face faints, throat dries and saliva’s swallowed, torso lowers, stomach gets pulled inside, whole body starts sweating and shivering, hands appear muffling mouth to suppress scream, body hides itself behind something and feet gets ready to flee.

2) Anger – It’s a state of preparing to threaten, retaliate or punish somebody. Whole body is provoked, tightened or bluffed to appear bigger and hostile.

Eyes get wide open signaling to target of being caught and to warn inhibiting its activities, body temperature starts rising, gaze gets more fixated and short darts move all over target, eyelids bat faster, neck gets stiff or tilts either side, face and eyes turn red, shoulders become broad, torso elevates, chest puffs, nostrils balloon, respiration soars, pulse jumps, lips get tightly closed or opened, teeth get exhibited, vocal tone gets fierce, arms get crossed over chest or rest on hips and feet get firmly grounded and separated apart to prepare for attack.

3) Disgust – It’s a state of exhibiting loathe or lack of interest about person, situation or object.

Torso and face gets disoriented, eyes faint, heartbeat drops, gaze becomes more fleeting than fixated, mouth gets opened on either side with displaying teeth, lips curl down, lower lips push out, tongue protrudes, nostrils pull upward, breath exhales briskly, throat clearing sound generates, sounds like “Yuck”, “Whack”, “Ooom” expel from mouth, vocal tone gets dull, hands push or hold disgusting thing away.

4) Sadness – It’s a state of disapproval or exhaustion to make person appear in  demand of others' attention and support.

Posture loosens, back hunches, responses dampen, neck hangs or tilts side way down, hands support neck or cover face, shoulders lower, respiration rate drops, gaze gets hovering around own body, eyes barely open, lower lips rides over upper, edges of mouth curl down, palms clamp together and rest on lap or hid in pocket, vocal tone get dull - heavy and sluggish, sounds like “Hmm”, “Whoosh” expel from mouth.

5) Surprise - It’s a state of curiosity and great attention being paid to object, person, situation or phenomenon that is unexpected, inexperienced or takes place suddenly.

Eyes get wide open to let more light pass to retina, eyebrows raise, neck remains straight or tilts backward, mouth gets wide open and lips get rounded, hair raise, jaw drops, vocal tone accentuates, sounds like “Wow”, “Ohh” expel from mouth, torso gets raised, hands are kept in ready position, whole body faces and points partially or fully towards the source of surprise.

6) Happiness - It’s a state of expressing and enjoying some kind of achievement, benefit, fulfillment or victory. Whole body starts sending messages of excitement, friendliness, open and outgoing - sharing temperament.

Posture elevates, footsteps appear flying, movements become energetic - wavy - swiveling, facial muscles get relaxed, mouth opens, edges of mouth curl upward, teeth get partially or fully exhibited, eyes glitter, gaze remains more upward or ahead and away from body, palms gets open and held upward, hands get separated and raised shoulder high or above, vocal tone gets crunchy - chirpy - sweet, sound like “Ha…Ha...Ha...”, “Hurray…” “Ho...Ho…”, “Hey...Hey...”, “Yeah”, “Yippee…”, “Yee Haw” expels from mouth.

7) Contempt - It's an expression of superiority or utter dislike. Unlike other six basic expressions, contempt is expressed consciously - thoughtfully and mostly on face. 

Narrowed eyes, lips tightly press together and either edge of mouth gets pulled upward appearing like an asymmetrical smile. Often, sound like "Hhhhh" rapidly expels from mouth. Both edges of mouth deeply pinched inside cheeks is also an expression of contempt.

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Why we wave hands at others?

We wave hand(s) to friends, fans, guests, neighbors, colleagues, & relatives with saying “Hi”, “See You”, “Bye”, “Good Bye”, “Meet you”, “Miss you” or “Take care” etc. Sometimes words can’t reach due to distance barrier but mere hand wave works. We feel better when we watch others waving their hands with dear words and smile on faces while confronting or going away. Why we’ve become so habitual of it? Why waving hands to make us & other feel better?

Hand wave has very basic purpose that makes us social by exhibiting disarmed and friendly state. By holding open palms with stretched fingers visible to others silently conveys "Feel safe from me! I'm not holding any arm or weapon". Waving hand isn't as formal like hand shake. Ritual of hand shake's like treaty of ensuring mutual disarmament and willingness to connect whereas hand wave goes beyond formality. It has become social and casual practice of showing off openness, friendliness and harmless intentions. More affectionate and intimate hand wave silently says "Don't forget me...", "I care for you..." or "Come again...".

It’s natural tendency to get attracted to thing that moves or flutters. In same context, hand wave becomes attention seeker while we say “Hey” or “Hello” aloud. It can convey “Do you see me?" or "I’m here.”. Other person may respond by waving hands reciprocating “Yes, I see you.” or "I'm coming to you."

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What hand shake conveys about person?

There are different kinds of hand shakes exercised. Let’s see what they convey unconsciously about person's nature.

1) CRUSHER hand shake: Palm is gripped too hard so it squeezes and starts paining. Ultimately, fingertips get faint due to low supply of blood. Person exercising it can be too dominating, egoistic, and careless of sentiments. Women receiving this hand shake would definitely hinder further exchange. Persons working as labor, porter or mechanic may exercise it.

2) ISOLATION hand shake: Person exercising this hands hake doesn’t lean towards other person and doesn’t bend his hand at elbow. Person exercising this hand shake may not be social and often stays isolated or safe. Such person might might have some reservations and deserves more favorable conditions or needs understanding to let him/her to interact socially.

3) DEAD FISH hand shake: When enough grip is not felt by fingers, palm doesn’t fully contact and wrist’s kept loose then it seems like someone has given dead fish in your hand. Person exercising it might be lacking enthusiasm, passion, and confidence. Such person would be hardly trusted and needs a moral boost.

4) SKIPPING hand shake: When only fingers of other person touches to your palm then it seems that person wants to avoid full contact of palms and is in hurry. Person exercising it might be not paying enough attention to you or not serious about relationship or refraining it. In some cases, person might have genuine reason to skip handshake and rush for other tasks.

You would receive such hand shake from surgeons, craftsmen or performing artists because they protect their fingers from being hurt. Also, women or religious leaders may offer this hand shake as part of custom.

5) DOMED PALM hand shake: When palm of other person doesn’t exert enough pressure on yours and it appears to be curved inside then that person may want to not maintain rapport with you willfully. Striking positive communication from your side could alter person's perceptions about you.

6) SLAPPING hand shake: When other person exercises a hand shake in a way that his/her palm slaps or strikes to yours; it appears that person's making impression. Such person underrates himself/herself (compared to you) and wants fake domination. Such person need to have self-esteem and faith in himself/herself.
 

7) PALM UP/DOWN hand shake: When palm of other person faces downward (palm down) then it simply expresses desire of controlling the relationship whereas palm facing upwards (palm up) expresses desire of letting you control it. Such kind of handshakes is offered to maintain hierarchy or favoritism. This handshake should be avoided to motivate equality.

8) INVADER hand shake: When person pushes hand much inside (stab) or pulls your hand out (grab) of invisible interpersonal boundary then it’s quite obvious that person is unaware of comfortable social distance. Such person should undergo immediate consultation.

9) HANDCUFF hand shake: When hand of other person covers over union of palms then it becomes the handcuff. Person exercising it wants to gain or express sympathy and fulfill personal interest. Most politicians offer this kind of handshake during election campaigns or meeting thus it's less trustworthy. 

It can be exercised in exceptional case like at the time of condolence or while passing deep gratitude informally.

10) HYGIENIC hand shake: When person suddenly withdraws hand right after palms come into contact then it suggests that the person wants to avoid any kind of infection caused by physical contact or proximity. Such person may not want to communicate (at given time) with you spontaneously due to some personal differences or insecure feelings. Also, kids may exercise it with strangers.

11) CLOSE UP hand shake: When person exercises a hands hake by keeping keeping hand in front of chest, bringing torso and face much closer then it becomes very personal and intimate. This kind of handshake’s only acceptable among women, children, elders - children, close relatives and couples closely. Politicians and bureaucrats might exercise it to ensure trustworthiness looking into eyes.

Retaining positive impression of hand shake

We've seen how a good and positive hand shake is exercised. It's time to know that which things need to be avoided to retain positive impression that hand shake builds. Avoidable things mentioned below negatively affect the very basic purpose of this ritual - expression of openness, cooperativeness, enthusiasm, and harmless state. Charge yourself with faith and self-esteem before engaging in hand shake.


Do not touch, scratch, pinch or rub any parts of your own body; it could invite irritation from other side. If you engage in hand shake first time with other person, it's very important not to touch his/her body parts also. Don't put free hand in pockets or hold it behind your back because it communicates lack of enthusiasm or suspicion. Don't exercise hand shake with gloves put on as much as possible. Don't put free hand on hips; it's sign of domination. Don't point at any direction by free hand; it communicates disorientation.

Don't point by fingers at person engaged in hand shaking, it's invading. Don't keep any objects between you and other person like chair, table, file, folder, cup, mug etc. Don't shake hand over the walls, roofs or partitions if possible. Don't look downward or upward after a hand shake. Simply give brief glance at the eye level to either side and return gaze to other person with smile. Don't cross hands over chest after a hand shake. Exchange some good words with open and empty palm of other hand facing upwards.

Most important thing is not to exercise hand shake every now and then during interaction or while being introduced. It simply communicates that you're imposing yourself on the other person or want to get more out of the deal. In few cultures, it's permissible to exercise a hand shake frequently. Almost globally, hand shake at the beginning and at the end of interaction is a normal practice. 

Generally, women don't offer a hand shake on their own in most societies and cultures.  

After rapport between you and other person gets established, it's positive move to briefly touch his/her wrist, elbow or shoulder to express trust and to boost union. This would help to reduce formality and to promote friendliness between individuals who are familiar with other. It should be exercised between equal ranking personals or should be offered seniors to sub-ordinates.

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Women are body language experts

Women are supposed to be more intuitive than men in interpreting body language because of they have such extraordinary abilities and skills to do so. They may not analyze nonverbal clues deliberately but they can sense or feel them precisely. While men try to interpret, women intuit. Why is it so at the first place?

Women give birth to children and face a great challenge of understanding every condition that babies are going through only by observing their facial expressions, gestures, postures, movements and voice (tone and pitch) since babies can't communicate verbally like experienced or trained person. This challenge has transformed them into excellent care-taker over millions of years.

Emotional interaction with babies is secret of social awareness.
Also, they resonate to baby's facial expressions and vocal tone to sympathize and create a  strong bond. They unconsciously use brain's both prefrontal hemispheres to process emotional and para linguistic data. Understanding others and responding to them properly was crucial for survival and also to propagate fitter genes to next generations. Otherwise, what have happened with human race is beyond our imagination.

Despite of today's liberated and economically independent environment, women remained dependent on tribal groups (mostly lead by men) for security, resource sharing, and rearing children throughout million years of human evolution. Unlike men resolving most issues by physicality and outright arguments, women had to choose a path of more harmonious and social resolutions. They are more expressive, social, and diplomatic then men.

Men can become expert in reading body language like women only with habit of keen observation and co-relation of clues with given situation or circumstance accurately. Developing contextual awareness in different situations can help men in mastering people reading. The ability to empathize with others is also required to become a good communicator.

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What is hand shake?

Hand shake's almost a global ritual for establishing mutual confidence and faith with equality, cooperativeness, and friendliness. Handshake is an initiating gesture and more formal way of connecting with people and encouraging them for further interactions.

A hand shake can make or break the deal. Not offering or receiving it appropriately i.e. not considering kind of environment, gender, age, authority, mood of person could invite shame, rejection or hostility.

How an effective hand shake should be? Let's find out how it evolved in first place to know its importance in today's context.

Basically, hand shaking is to communicate harmless state. As per a story, roman soldiers used to check each other by touching or running their fingers on wrists, forearms and elbows to ensure that they are not holding or hiding any arm or weapon. Furthermore, holding and shaking hands together would let any blade or dagger fall to the ground. Isn't that interesting? Keep in mind that shaking hand is to let others know that you are approaching them friendly and want to connect.  

A positive and formal handshake is exercised by two  persons by standing upright, facing each other at comfortable distance, pointing feet towards each other, keeping neck straight and not stiff, smiling on face, meeting gaze, touching each others palm in vertical direction by firmly griping fingers over them and slowly moving hands up and down at least 2-3 times.

Emotional Intelligence and Success

We think that our materialist knowledge and skills to operate and handle many things would help us in achieving what we want in our life. Do you really think that this assumption is true? If it was the case then we might not have run in many issues in our lives related with emotions. We live in a world that is full of people with different interests, motives and orientations. We can neither fight with nor surrender ourselves completely to others for getting successful but we can try to understand each other in terms of emotions and feelings.
Prof. Dr. Howard Gardner
It's not at all possible until an individual isn't capable of understanding its own emotions, feelings and motives to be able detect them in others. Howard Gardner (the founder of Multiple Intelligence theory) greatly emphasizes on emotional awareness. Success mostly depends upon how person precisely understand emotions and reacts appropriately i.e. whether person is emotionally intelligent or not. Emotions are common and natural but traits and temperaments of an individual its destiny. Want to know your EQ (Emotional Quotient)? Take this test.

Traits like openness, genuineness, tolerance, politeness, resilience, courage, diligence, determination, confidence, cooperativeness, compassion, competency, consistency, commitment, comfort level, maturity, self-esteem, strength, enthusiasm, trustworthiness, respectfulness, kindness, foreseeability and affection give clear insight of individual nature. In short, body language, kinesics and nonverbal communication clues gives an idea abut an emotional character of a person.

We have an inherited ability to realize an emotional interplay at an unconsciously level even we don't emphasize or not paying enough attention to nonverbal clues we collect unconsciously. All personal characteristics can only be judged through face-to-face interactions or deliberate observations but most of us don't pay much importance to same and ultimately invite many troubles. Until we don't realize great importance of emotional intelligence, we would keep body language clues undervalued.

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Emotional expressions are manipulated

We are smartest liars.
Other creatures survive on their instincts, reflexes and predictive behavior while lacking verbal abilities like us. Hence they find no difficulty in understanding and judging each other and responding accordingly. This is not the case in human world at all and because of same we need to spend more mental energy just in predicting that what other person has in his mind or might be thinking us at given moment. This is what every parents needs to teach its children along with words and numbers.

Even though its a greatest gift to mankind, verbal communication has many drawbacks. Actually, all verbal languages came (or - supposed to come) into existence for accelerating exchange and spreading information to many by eradicating confusions, wrong guesses and false assumptions. If we consider this as a thumb rule then nonverbal expressions should match with verbal message that anyone conveys. This doesn't happens every time because thinking is an unique quality that gives us the power to control and manipulate true emotional expressions on purpose.

Picking clue of distress
For securing personal or social interests, both verbal and nonverbal message is consciously regulated to inhibit or tamper actual motivations. Expressions discord with words while betraying or diverting somebody. Defensive, distracting or submissive gestures, postures and expressions are automatically adopted or given away. Brain immediately anticipates threat of being exposed and getting punished and tries to dispose it somehow.

Some of us are very good lie detectors because they can accurately pick nonverbal clues like fear, sadness, guilt or nervousness being suppressed by liars. We wonder about abilities of such persons but they've nothing but proven skills to monitor and interpret emotional expressions of others and more importantly - their own. Until one doesn't know how emotional expressions are (or - can be) manipulated.

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Unlimited Potentials of Nonverbal Knowledge

Today, robots and computers are being taught to interpret and express human emotions and it overtly underlines the effectiveness of nonverbal communication. If machines will communicate with us nonverbally in future then why not we, surviving from millions of years using same language, master it again? We're one of the best designs that nature has created after millions years. Unlike any artificial machines, it's very easy for us because we've all required elements to gain mastery in nonverbal communication.

Communication 7% by words
Knowledge of body language, kinesics, and nonverbal communication can be harnessed not only in personal, professional and social life but also in different fields like education, sports, entertainment, media, fashion, advertisement, performing arts, public relationship, psychoanalysis, counseling, human resource, marketing, servicing, tourism, hospitality, disaster management, rehabilitation, health care, counseling, security, intelligence, law & order, international relationships, diplomacy, administration, strategic planning, ergonomics etc.

People skill makes a great difference in social world.
Lawyers, educators, trainers, psychologists, actors, politicians, diplomats, media analysts, businessmen, traders, counselors, investigators, security officials, secret agents, and  burglars mostly interact with people as part of their profession who are smart enough to interpret them nonverbally. Also, our parents or grand parents might be well-versed in it. Anyone can develop such intelligence like they have.

It’s for sure that proficiency in body language and nonverbal communication would let you know yourself and others better and pave a way towards  success, harmony and happiness like never before. Moreover, raise in consciousness towards our own body fulfills a great purpose of being in an existence with harmony with nature, evolution and world full of people and different creatures.

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