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December 31, 2011

Reading Body Language - Para Language

Many a times, how words are pronounced by somebody is most important than what they literally mean. There’s strong relation between our emotional state and clues we convey through pronunciations. This relation is studied under a branch of science, which is called as PARA LANGUAGE.

Humans have well developed system for creating different sounds with varying tone, volume, pitch and annotations. Torso, throat, oral cavity, lips, jaws, tongue and facial muscles play different roles in vocal articulation.

Age, level of energy, body mass, endurance, medical condition, illness and hormones also have large impact on human voice. The kind of sound an individual naturally creates while speaking is identical to the individual's own signatures.

Emotions, attitudes and feelings can be conveyed and interpreted with the help of voice only. In fact, some of us are very much skilled in understanding emotions just by listening to voice and not watching any facial expressions at all.

Like paying keen attention to body language clues, listening to voice also gives insight of person’s emotional, cognitive and also physical state. Emotional and homeostatic processes too are deciding factors in same. We can understand emotional state, just by listening to speech of a person. Can we reverse direction of this process?

Let's try to figure out that how each individual shown below would most likely to pronounce/utter words or create sound from its mouth just by looking at its body language in the given situation.

What kind of sound each person would make?

1) A police officer who is standing upright and looking dominant - bluffed chest, stiff neck and hands on put hips or hold on back. He would be able to talk in firm tone and uniform pitch very easily.

2) A lonely lady who looks physical exhausted and trying to console herself. She would speak in monotonous and sluggish voice (on telephone) because she is sad or exhausted.

3) A boy who is making merry, playing, jumping and dancing. He would laugh or twitter sound in joyous tone. It's play time for him without any external interference.

4) A lady who is sharing something with other person by sitting very closely to it. They are not making any gestures and meeting gaze with others. She must be whispering in a secretive low tone. Highly private gossip!

5) A couple who is making aggressive gestures, clenching fists, bearing teeth, crossing hands on chests and fiercely gazing towards each other. Definitely, they would yelling and shouting on each other.

6) A salesman who has leaned forward and titled neck at one side, He has put on smiley face while speaking. He must be buttering up your boss to place an order or sign a contract.

Ability to decipher emotions, sentiments, moods and intentions based entirely upon the para-linguistic clues is the most useful especially when we cannot observe somebody talking with us face to face.

Related Articles:
1) Basic Emotional Expressions 2) Body Language Brain 3) Clusters 4) Congruence 5) Proxemics 6) Context 7) Micro Expressions 8) Postures 9) Facial Expressions 10) Hand Gestures 11) Challenges 12) Interpretation 13) Baseline 14)Perceptual Bias 15) Basic Body Clues

Reading Body Language - Micro Expressions

Lie to Me (the world famous TV serial) made common people aware about how ability to detect tiniest movements of facial muscles could bring dramatic turn while interrogating the suspects. Bringing a criminal into confessing crime it committed isn't easy because it tries to defend itself from being detected by the law and enforcement agency.

Exactly like the crime investigators, forensic experts and criminal profilers pick, photograph and document the tiniest clues from the place crime took place, interrogators have to do the same by picking tiniest expressions from faces of people they interrogate, question or try to get information from.

A micro-expression or micro-momentary facial expression is nothing but the expression of different emotions that unconsciously occurs within fraction of a second. Just like a macro or clearly detectable facial expressions, micro-expressions convey what is being suppressed by an individual.

With experience and age, people learn to control autonomous facial expressions, movements and gestures by giving away clues about them momentarily. A novice or inexperienced observers can and do overlook micro-expressions because they remain almost undetected by untrained eyes.

Who says I'm afraid?
Unlike normal, macro and subtle expressions; micro-expressions do appear and disappear within fraction of a second on human face, from 1/25 to 1/5 of a second. For inexperienced or untrained observers, it's close to impossible to pick the micro-expressions.

Analysts, experts and interrogators who are expert in picking them can instantaneously crack or zoom into micro-expressions in real-time. Also, micro-expressions can be monitored while running a video clip at lower frame rate or watching a photograph.

Micro expressions can bring surprising turns while interpreting body language because they are emotional outlets of actually what somebody is trying to suppress or hide from others. Learned and volunteer control (cortical control) still let their trails appear as much as for 1/4 fraction of a second as per pioneer emotion and facial expressions scientist Prof. Dr. Paul Ekman (University of San Fransisco, United States).

Did she kill her husband?
Experienced interrogators and lie detectors mostly rely on micro expressions because smart liars can confidently claim that ordinary people easily believe in. In a real incident, a suspected woman was arrested for the murder of her husband.

During the police interrogation, she boldly claimed, "I really don't have any idea about him. I hope that he'll come back very soon". However, she unconsciously gave away a subtle clue that as ordinary individual would have ignored and wouldn't have ask any serious questions to her.

While claiming the same, she turned her face contemptuous, just for fractions of a second. If she really cared about her husband then why she expressed disrespect (towards him) in the first place? Experienced interrogators would sense that something must have gone wrong in their relationship.

Expert interrogators could have possibly get her confession of murdering his own husband by asking a few serious questions about their relationship status to establish her motive. Hence it's always worth remembering that the devil is in the details.

In May 2013, I got a certificate from Humintell for completing facial micro-expression training and passing the final test with 93% percent of accuracy. Although I passed with ‘Expert’ level, it wasn’t an easy task at all because the mood of an individual at given moment and the ability of moving own facial muscles can make a great difference.

Therefore, I can assert that my own facial muscles helped me in passing this test in the very first and also a single attempt with the greater accuracy. Ability to portray micro-expressions on your own face can give you the real advantage and the edge in identifying them on faces of other people.

My Certificate from HuminTell

Are you good at picking micro-expressions? You can test your skills by following this link that takes you to a demo test. The test is also available below. Try yourself and know your score. Taking this test on a desktop computer is highly recommended.

Related Articles:
1) Body Language Brain 2) Clusters 3) Congruence 4) Proxemics 5) Context 6) Para Language 7) Postures 8) Facial Expressions 9) Hand Gestures 10) Challenges 11) Interpretation 12) Baseline 13) Perceptual Bias 14) Is learning micro expression really useful? 15) Nonverbal Clues of chess players 16) Recognizing emotional expressions: Scientific viewpoints 17) Blind Sight is enough to pick emotions 18) Are you a 'flying' terrorist? 19) Basic Bodily Clues

Reading Body Language - Context

Similar to a Cluster, Context makes a nonverbal message more clear to understand. CONTEXT is an environment, background, circumstance, setup or situation according to which any nonverbal message should be interpreted, decoded or analyzed. Without knowing the context, reading body language would mislead us.

While interpreting, context is critically important than the content itself. However, most of us couldn't establish the context in the first place, Hence let's see how exactly two different environments, circumstances, situations or surroundings can give two different meanings to the same expression, movement or action.

There are two different persons taking out their frustration following a sequence of events. One person is standing in the audience gallery while watching a football/soccer match with his favorite team playing in it whereas another person is a senior police officer who is standing inside the police station with his colleagues.

Actually, both of them are in two completely different environments and conditions while expressing their feelings, motives, intentions and emotions as a result of something they're exposed to at the given moment. Here, the context plays very crucial role in understanding what they want to convey actually.

Both of them suddenly yell and smash fist on their palm. Smashing fist on the palm is one of the ways of taking out frustration (sadness with anger) over unexpected or impending failure, loss or shortfall. We punch our fist on the palm because we cannot punch or hit the person who caused the failure, loss or shortfall in the first place.

The young football fan smashes his fist on palm after watching an ace player missed the goal post during the last few minutes of the second half. He takes out his frustration over the wasted opportunity by his favorite team (or a team player) in making the goal for winning over its opponents at the end.

On the other hand, the police officer listens that a criminal who was arrested after a year long pursuit succeeded in escaping from prison a few minutes ago. He smashes his fist on his palm, yelling “Damn it!”. He takes out his frustration because all efforts he and his team took to arrest the criminal got wasted due to the escape.

Why exactly Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak did it?
Tucking prevents entangling and soiling of the neckties.

If the correct context (a good example presented above) cannot be established within the required amount of time then even a well know cluster can given an entirely wrong message to an interpreter which happens with most of us all the time and throughout our entire lives.

Related Articles:
1) Body Language Brain 2) Clusters 3) Congruence 4) Proxemics 5) Micro Expressions 6) Para Language 7) Postures 8) Hand Gestures 9) Challenges 10) Interpretation 11) Baseline 12) Basic Bodily Clues 13) Is Human Communication 93% Nonverbal? 14) Artificial Intelligence and Body Language

November 26, 2011

Reading Body Language - Proxemics

During Golden Globe Award Ceremony of 2016, an unusual incident happened. After her name being announced as a receiver of an award, the famous American singer Lady Gaga started walking towards stage. While making her way through audience, she briefly brushed off behind the chair on which the famous Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio was sitting.

While reacting to the same quite spontaneously, viscerally and unconsciously, his unique facial expression and nose touching made the headlines all around the globe and several YouTube clips were published. Why he would have done it after all? Let's find out very reason behind the same.

In last two articles, we have seen that how clustering and congruence are crucial for reading body language. Now let's move on towards understanding the importance of interpersonal distance which is called as PROXEMICS. It is the study of human use of space and the effects that population density has on behavior, communication and social interactions.

Wars are fought over a piece of land but most of us really don’t realize that the interpersonal distance or physical space between any two individuals plays a great role in and also affects stress level, hostility, aggression, comfort level and overall relationship. Interpersonal distance becomes critically important while encountering or meeting a complete stranger. So let's take an example from the real life so it would make sense very clearly.

It's an usual day in the company and you start working on routine tasks. Suddenly, team leader informs you that few newly recruited members are joining your team. You are asked to gather at some place for getting formally introduced with them face to face. Until this moment both parties might not have seen each other so little amount of nervousness coupled with excitement lurks inside everyone's mind.

While looking at each other, both parties smile nervously but avoid prolong eye contact except those who develop the feelings of physical attraction for each other instantaneously. Formal hand shake, mutual introduction and exchanging a few words take place by keeping socially accepted distance from each other. Even, the team or group leader keeps socially accepted distance from the new joiner.

At the beginning, getting face to face is filled with uneasiness and anxiety. Glancing at either side of own body, looking down, hovering gaze, putting hands in pocket, giving nervous look or smile, grabbing things in palms, moving torso away or crossing arms over chest can be observed being done unconsciously by both parties.

They don't come close to each other or interact voluntarily like seniors or more experienced colleagues do among themselves. An accidental touch and trespassing is regretted and asked felt sorry for. Also, the new joiners form their own group despite of unfamiliarity among themselves.

A few days pass and regular work-related interactions start taking place between you and new joiners. Apart from work, everybody starts talking, sharing and complementing with each others irrespective of tenure in the company. It gives opportunity of judging, profiling and knowing each other consciously or unconsciously.

Although it's not precise, we naturally tend to figure out mutual strengths, weaknesses, likes and dislikes. Also, it's not at all necessary and obligatory that every junior member of a team become close companion of every other senior. Some subconscious needs, reservations, biases, orientations and/or complexes motivate us to form a bond with more like minded persons.

Initial awkwardness, shyness, nervousness gradually fades away day after days and diminishes completed. Interactions start happening at close distance as compared to earlier days. Touching, seating or standing closer, eating together, whispering, handling personal stuff or a prolonged eye contact becomes normal.

Everybody starts looking at faces and into the eyes of each other quite comfortably. Postures of two interacting persons become quite grounded, firm and relaxed. Strong rapport is established among new joiners and senior team members over the time. Meeting and greeting each other brings excitement and freshness at workspace.

Doesn't it appear like a miracle? Gradual shrinking of interpersonal space and development of new relationship! Why we tend to stay away from new people in the beginning and get closer gradually (or in worst case - drift away)? Certainly, it's really worth interesting and enlightening to know in the first place.

Interpersonal space or distance between two individuals is crucial factor for judging that if other person or object is in favor of our survival interests. It's the core mechanism of our subconscious mind of gathering visual clues and deciding to move towards it, let it to move towards ourselves or step back and run away from it.

When the space required to watch (hear and smell too) others and decide the strategy is intruded, invaded or trespassed with unknown intentions (by strangers), we feel very uncomfortable, challenged, dominated, offended or stressed. Limbic system starts sending flight or fight signals to the body.

Coming Up Close and Nose to Nose: North Americans Vs Gulf Arabs
American men challenge to fight and Arab men kiss with noses.

Basically, there are only reasons to invade or intrude the personal and/or intimate zones i. e. either to attack and harm somebody or to get intimate with somebody. Hence, lesser the physical distance remains between any two individuals, more both of them expect non-offense, courtesy and carefulness. Otherwise, they try to fight or run away (flight) for their own safety.

Until we don't spend enough time in observing and judging the level of hostility, degree of harmfulness, intentions, motives and temperament of the other person, we don't want to allow it to come closer with ourselves. Until we don't judge anything or anybody as harmless, we want to keep a safe distance with the same.

Edward T. Hall, the cultural anthropologist, has defined four different zones around our body. Each zone is a circular area in which we let other to enter or stay depending upon kind of relationship we're seeking or currently have with them.

Different zones of proxemics (Interpersonal Distances)

1) Intimate Zone (from 6 to 18 inches): This is the zone a person guards as individual property. Only romantic partner, close friends and relatives are allowed to enter in it.

2) Personal Zone (from 18 to 48 inches): This is the distance we keep from others during friendly interactions, social gatherings or parties.

3) Social Zone (from 4 to 12 feet): This is the distance we keep from strangers or persons with a little or no acquaintance at all.

4) Public Zone (beyond 12 feet): This is the distance we maintain while interacting or addressing to large group of people.

Above are approximate distances with which Edward T. Hall put up his theory but radius of each zone may vary with climate, culture, society or geography.

Related Articles:
1) Cabin of chief 2) Making true friends 3) Positive Body Language 4) Secret of Metropolitan nervousness 5) Elevator Etiquette 6) Context 7) Clusters 8) Congruence 9) Context 10) Micro Expressions 11) Para Language 12) Postures 13) Hand Gestures 14) Challenges 15) Interpretation 16) Baseline 17) Perceptual Bias 18) Inside Interrogation Room 19) Basic Bodily Clues

November 19, 2011

Reading Body Language - Congruence

In last article, we came to know about clustering which is the first thing to collect while reading body language. Moreover, a cluster is a door step for interpretation of a nonverbal message more accurately.

If any words are involved in a cluster then it has to be analyzed or scrutinized further to check if it conveys a true and consistant message along with the body language or not. Why exactly the verification of authenticity of the message is required in the first place at all?

By most, our brain maintains proper coordination or synchrony among facial expression, posture, movement, words and tone of voice. If they remain more synchronized with each other, a message gets across more effectively, precisely and correctly. Bodily clues and moves supporting, synchronizing and reflecting what words are conveying is an truthful massage. It is called as CONGRUENCE or compatibility.

What if someone wants to distract or lie to others with a false message? Our deliberate cleverness comes into play for the same. In practical life, we find ourselves in very awkward situations in which passing exact and true message may not be in our best interest. They are a number of reasons for same but all of them cannot be discussed in this article.

There are two persons saying, "I'm open to and confident about the new challenges!". One person has crossed arms over chest with false smile on face while the other has opened arms wide and seems ready to embrace. Who would you believe to be ready for challenges?

Who's open and confident? Person to standing at left or Right?

Anxiety, fear, guilt or distress of being damned, embarrassed and punished by others while saying what others are expecting to hear from an individual starts leaking out through the lack of bodily control and movement coordination. Ultimately we try to cover up it by verbal crafting but mind doesn't let us to deny the truth.

Movements of various parts of our body become less compatible with each other and/or get completely out of synchrony. Thus a whole cluster appears to be non-congruent and incompatible with the spoken or uttered words.

Always remember that actions clearly convey whereas words merely (try to) convince. That's the very reason why it's said that Actions speak louder than words.

Related Articles:
1) Body Language Brain 2) Basic Emotional Expressions 3) Clusters 4) Proxemics 5) Context 6) Micro Expressions 7) Para Language 8) Postures 9) Facial Expressions 10) Hand Gestures 11) Challenges 12) Interpretation 13) Baseline 14) Perceptual Bias 15) Basic Bodily Clues 16) Is Human Communication 93% Nonverbal?

Reading Body Language - Clusters

It’s very amazing to know that we all communicate nonverbally (through body language, facial expressions and voice) by most. Same fact excites many aspiring social readers and body language experts to jump start observing and interpreting others. Knowing someone’s emotions, feelings, attitudes and intentions is greatly decisive in social life but also it's more important to interpret them more accurately.

Putting pieces together
Reading and interpreting this very article is quite easy because we all are aware of different words that have been put together in an acceptable sequence (syntax) in different sentences and paragraphs by following a certain grammatical rules. They make clear sense to anybody who knows English.

On the contrary, shifting their positions, dropping them, inserting unrelated words or defying grammar rules would lead to complete confusion and total loss of the purpose of writing this article in the first place. The same rules apply to interpretation of body language and nonverbal communication.

Interestingly, body language has its own vocabulary, grammar, syntax and sentences. We communicate nonverbally with the help of different expressions, signals and clues that are grouped together or given away one after another in a sequence. It's identical to the way different words put together create a meaningful sentence. Any single word which is isolated from a sentence may not convey the whole message but many words can easily do the same.

Combination of different sensory stimulus or inputs, facial expressions, eye contacts, gestures, movements, postures and vocal tones convey a distinct message. Most of us try to interpret each of them in isolation, often leading to complete misunderstanding. Just like composing sentences, we need to put them together. This method is called as CLUSTERING. A cluster clearly makes sense of distinct nonverbal message. Let’s take an example of it.

Most of us simply assume that crossing arms over the chest is a self-defensive or controlling action. As it clearly appears, we cover vulnerable parts of upper body (torso). Definitely, it's not a welcoming or open approach at all. However, crossing arms over the chest doesn't mean entirely self-defense when it is put in different clusters.

Look at these three pictures and find what each person is likely expressing. Keenly observe their facial expressions (especially their eyebrows), postures (especially their necks) and gazes (how they make or don't make eye contacts).

Warning or Criticizing (Left),
Dejected or Heartbroken (Center),
Disagreed or Disappointed (Right)

Also, we need take physical environment or specific situation into account while looking at a person with arms crossed on its chest. This old lady wearing a sweater is protecting herself from cold by crossing arms so that maximum body heat would be retained.

Even here, her body posture and clothes give an idea about how intensely she would be suffering from cold. Look at hunched back, lowered chin and legs tightly held together.

Interpreting body language in clusters is very crucial to understand overall nonverbal message correctly, given by anybody in the given context.

Related Articles:
1) Body Language Brain 2) Basic Emotional Expressions 3) Congruence 4) Proxemics 5) Context 6) Micro Expressions 7) Para Language 8) Postures 9) Facial Expressions 10) Hand Gestures 11) Challenges 12) Interpretation 13) Baseline 14) Perceptual Bias 15) Basic Bodily Clues 16) Is Human Communication 93% Nonverbal?

October 31, 2011

Body Language Brain

Principally, we all have evolved to communicate, react and reciprocate nonverbally i. e. through physical movements, facial expressions and vocal tones. Surprisingly, an unimaginably ancient and equally amazing system inside our brains understands and also conveys emotions, intentions and motives through physical movements, facial expressions and vocal tones.

The system is formally called as the Limbic System (Paleomammalian Cortex). It works very precisely and also round the clock throughout the life. Only due to the same, we all can survive and also communicate with each other nonverbally by default, including the creatures too. Do you want to know how this shared system evolved is all of us?

Aquatic Ancestor
Although not scientifically precise, here’s an interesting story about how the limbic system evolved over the millions of years. In fact, it’s a short story of our own evolution i. e. how a water dwelling group of creatures turned into land roaming creatures and further into a race of walking, speaking and hunting creatures which we all belong to i. e. Homo Sapiens Sapiens.

It's really hard to believe for most of us is that most of the extinct and living creatures evolved from a few common ancestors. They first inhabited the Earth's vast oceans some 360 million years ago. Climatic changes and/or struggle to survive forced them to migrate to land.

Their leathery fins transformed into limbs/legs to roam on hard surfaces and outer skin became tougher to endure dry and harsh climate on land. They developed lungs to breathe. Amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals are descendants of same land roaming ancestors.

Reptiles evolved some 320 to 310 million years ago. This was the true beginning of limbic system's development. They evolved a reflexive system to fight, flight, feed and breed. Reptilian behavioral patterns are very apparent, repetative and predictable but those helped them to survive in the environment they inhabit.

There were no emotions in the world of creatures till mammals appeared on planet earth. Mammals evolved during collapse of dinosaur dynasty. Surprisingly, they evolved from reptiles 220 million years ago. Mammals emerged with more deliberate, social and motivated behavior unlike seemingly cold, impassive, predictable and brutal reptiles.

The reason behind it would be linked to their altered metabolism, reproduction, nurturing, bonding and cohabitation. Mammals grow off-springs inside their own bodies till certain stage of development, bring them in outer world through birth canal, feed them with by secreting nutrients from mammary glands and control body temperature to adjust diverse climatic conditions.

New mammalian brain structure Cortex was built upon reptilian complex. Even though mammals become more superior in survival strategies, they naturally incline to reptilian flight or fight approach. They developed variations to compensate fight or flight approach by more dramatic, planned and coordinated movements, behavior and physical expressions.

Emotions were incredible gift along with strong sense of different smells and ability to remember them (Olfactory system). It helped them to survive and reproduce in different environments, situations and circumstances. From the deep sea dwelling blue whales to the cave dwelling bats, they flourished, evolved and spread over the entire planet in the diverse forms.

Finally appeared the common ancestors (Hominoidea) of humans (humanoids) and apes (orangutans, gorillas, chimpanzees and bonobos) i. e. the primate ancestors who evolved 65 million years ago after the mass extinction of dinosaurs. They might have evolved from the same group of mammals who eventually developed great skills in climbing on trees for food and shelter.

Primates evolved more complex parts inside their brains for adapting new living conditions, anatomical features and social challenges. They gradually evolved with the superior system to coordinate physical movements and maneuvers on both trees and ground. They gained ability to think and plan. Their vision become more advanced so stronger became visual memory. They could remember and recall scenes voluntarily.

Why apes did not further evolve into humans, though we share more than 98% genetic profile with them? Why we eventually evolved into our present form? How we seemingly dominated the world of creatures? These questions definitely come into our curious minds.

As like today, groups of common ancestors (who further evolved as modern apes) were living in thick forest areas that was far away from homeland of some members. Chain of climatic disruptions during 3 to 5 millions of years ago separated those few from forest inhabiting groups forever.

Huge drop in rainfall on the north-eastern part of the African continent (Afar valley, Ethiopia) replaced forests which were once full of tall, large and lush trees by vast planes of grass and bushes. Apparently, nature forced our ancestors to roam on ground. They started walking on their two legs (hind limbs) with two hands free (fore limbs) to gather food, make tools, hunt animals, catch fishes and farm crops. They started living in fixed shelters.

Ability to walk on two feet or the bipedal anatomy changed our apparent behavior, movement patterns and ultimately the way of communication. Making different facial expressions, gestures and sounds became beneficial to express emotions and feelings among members in group. Throughout different civilizations, we kept improving and diversifying our life style, occupation and communication. We formed ethics, vales and social norms.

Three brain sections
We (modern humans) are called as Homo Sapiens that literally means as "wise man" or "knowing man" in Latin. Neocortex is the most advanced structure that rests right about engulfs both reptile and mammalian sections of the brain. Primary function of neocortex is to fine tune the reactions and responses arising from the reptile and mammalian sections.

It can delay and dampen the instinctive, instantaneous and emotional reactions which ultimately gives us the some of the unique abilities such as reasoning, imagination, speaking languages, introspection, navigation, mathematical calculations and problem solving. Although we can harbor feelings, regulate emotions and restrain limbic impulses; we cannot entirely surpass the limbic system.

Human rage
Moreover, visual and emotional memory makes us to act or behave the way our ancestors would have done in remote history. We become comfortable in favorable environments and situations and uncomfortable in distress and (signs of) danger. Under threat, we experience more or less same kind of physiological responses like reptiles or mammals give (flight or fight/run away).

On the other hand, we display rage or aggression exactly like other creatures and animals do (fight) by opening or tightening our jaws in the presence of the culprit. Neocortex has only brought a few variation in the basic defense patterns that are instinctively exercised by all other creatures.

Different creatures expressing rage or aggression

If we pay keen and conscious attention, all inherited and learned patterns of physical movements, facial expressions and vocal tones are easy to decode only due to the functional precision of limbic system, parasympathetic nervous system and endocrine system.

[Special Thanks to the world's leading, respected and critically proven Body Language expert, Nonverbal Communication pioneer and my Guru Sir Joe Navarro (retired special agent, Counter-Intelligence Supervisor and Spy-Catcher who served in FBI for 25 years) for personally reviewing this article and sharing his own views which has resulted into several valuable additions and enhancements.]

Related Articles:
1) Survival of Communicator 2) Evolution of Nonverbal Communication 3) "The expression of emotions in man and animals" 4) "Nonverbal" is alien way of communication? 5) Basic Emotional Expressions 6) Clusters 7) Congruence 8) Proxemics 9) Context 10) Micro Expressions 11) Para Language 12) Postures 13) Facial Expressions 14) Hand Gestures 15) Challenges 16) Interpretation 17) Fear Factor 18) What is Nonverbal Communication? 19) Gestures - Are they learned or genetic? 20) Body rubbing to soothe brain 21) Recognizing emotional expressions: Scientific viewpoints 22) Turtle Effect: Body response under threat 23) It’s Written All Over You... 23) Can body language reveal thoughts? 24) Why exactly languages evolved? 25) Amygdala Hijack: Irrational Physical Reactions 26) Chicken and Egg Paradox

October 16, 2011

Social Footsteps

You might not remember the very first step took as a child. Before started to walk, we certainly would have stumbled, fallen and tried to stand up again and again. Continuous encouragement, appreciation, empathy and guidance motivated us to take the early steps. Somebody was there who we looked at, followed and seek support from until becoming able to walk on our own. We all started to walk because somebody thought that we ought to do it!

We come across many people after birth but most decisive influence we have on our mind is of parents, caretakers or elders who bring us up. They shape our basic habits, behavior, etiquette and attitude. They train to restrain fear, to soothe distress, to identify crucial signals and triggers, to make way towards what is favorable and safe, to communicate, to socialize and to form bonds that can serve the best interests.

The bond between mother and child is the most fundamental and also the life transforming. Mother not only just feeds and protects a child but also formulates what the same child is mostly likely going to do or be in the future. A secure or an insecure bond between the child and its mother kick starts everything.

Surprisingly, it is the child who continuously follows her to relate, communicate and socialize with others. Indeed, the role of a father in the same is also indisputable. Children learn to express and respond to things and people the way parents do by most. Never forget that children inherit from their biological parents only.

Have you ever observed a child being handover to a stranger by its parents? If not then do closely watch at desperate look of the child and its alert stance. Most of the children look back at the faces of its parents to know their expressions and feelings about the stranger.

Unless they give assurance of no harm from the stranger to the child, it never moves forward or at least stay calm in the company of the stranger. Simply, a child seeks opinion from parents and caretakers until it becomes entirely independent in justifying others.

Even after growing up, we always seek clues from familiar person before moving forward to strangers, new places and novel things. Let’s take a very good example of it. In office or social gathering, we approach to or stay close with the person we know best or feel favorable.

The same person gives information and shares opinion about the others and introduce you with them. Otherwise, imagine a level of anxiety one feels while walking all alone with the crowd of strangers. For succeeding in the vast and complex social world, the proper guidance out of proven experience is the must.

Parents shape their child's social life.

The crucial importance of emotionally adept, encouraging and pro-social parenting would always remain because it assures social survivability, more fulfilling relations and enormous opportunities outside home. More socially mature and relation oriented parents, more their children would likely become the same in future.

It's all starts at home. Children observe the body language of their own parents and check if they're empathetic towards them and others.

Related Articles:
1) Child inside us 2) Face to Face 3) Emotional Intelligence and Success 4) Women are body language experts 5) Facial Feedback: World smiles with you! 6) Botox hampers emotional awareness

October 02, 2011

My career saving lie detection

How one could easily escape from an alluring and impressive lie? This is article is entirely based on a true story of my friend Sam (original name changed) and myself. It’s a story about detecting a great lie and eventually leading me to move forward in area of lie detection.

I could escape an alluring lie only because I could sense something that would have affected (atleast for a brief amount of time) and even ruined my entire professional career and reputation. Unfortunately, Sam learned a good lesson only after risking his own career for a brief amount of time.

In 2008, Sam joined a small company that was dealing with Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) implementation. Good salary, allowances and ample facilities brought the sense of stability in his life. He could then think of getting married and settle after a long running struggle to get a promising job.

One day, the company published an advertisement about vacancies in local newspapers. At that time, I was too struggling to find a suitable job. Since I had good experience of working with same technologies which company was looking candidates for, I requested Sam to forward my resume to company’s HR Department.

Next day, I received an e-mail about fixing an appointment for an interview. Surprisingly, I was given a choice to meet as per own convenience, including both time and place. I though that it was company’s best policy to take candidate’s comfort into account. After listening to Sam appreciating his new job profile, I was on cloud nine.

At the day of interview, two interviewers from same company came to pick me up. Luxurious car, sophisticated manners and friendly introduction was enough to take hold of an innocent mind. After traveling few meters only, we finally arrived at a famous cafe.

Interviewers introduced themselves as co-founders of company and politely asked me to order whatever I like. Finally, three cups of coffee were ordered. I was totally impressed by this gesture. After emptying cups, the formal interview started.

Next day, Sam called me and asked how interview went and what was my impression about the company. I clearly told him that I was not having positive opinion about the offer. Sam claimed that I was not going to have any better opportunity than what his company was offering. At end of call, I given him clues about discreditably of company’s survival plans that Sam laughed off about.

No communication took place between both us for next six months other than how about emails and Facebook chats. Sam was deployed in Middle East to train new clients and I got good job opportunity in a multinational property management software development company in Pune, India. My decision to join the company turned out to be very fruitful for my professional career.

One day, Sam called me in a very sad voice. Sam told him that he was asked to return to Pune (India) immediately and was also forced to resign with no formal clarifications. After week, the shocking news published in a local newspaper

The company ran into bankruptcy after major clients terminating their contracts on the basis of dissatisfaction, lack of coordination between support and training departments and also the failure to curb soaring implementation costs.

Escape from long queues for job interview can be deceptive.

Sam was completely startled and he was wondering how he risked his career just by an overrated impressions built up in his mind. He asked me that how I came to know that company was going to take wrong turns and meet disaster. I shared with him that exactly happened during the interview that took place six months ago.

fter answering all questions, I was given an opportunity to ask questions about company. Interviewers seemed quite satisfied and in my favor. They were in hurry to seal the deal immediately. Offer letter was pulled out and kept in my sight. I asked them about company’s plan to survive global economical recession. This was the only opportunity to assure future course of my career with this company.

The moment I asked the question, seemingly satisfied faces of interviewers turned very anxious and their overall body language shifted suddenly. Rather than answering me with comfort and confidence, both of them kept clearing their throats while speaking and looking at faces of each other, exactly like two brothers lost their way in the huge crowd. They could not make proper eye contact with me and kept their gaze hovering.

Finally, they somehow tried to convince me about an exposure to new technologies which naturally attracts every inexperienced candidate who needs to gain experience before switching to a highly paid job in a large company. Initial enthusiasm and charm in their voices was disappeared and the offer letter was put back in the file right before my eyes.

Sam was mesmerized after hearing this story and how I could know reality by reading body language of interviewers. Clearly, they were lying to me at that decisive moments but not by words. Sam realized that how crucial was to read people conveying the truth nonverbally.

Although both interviewers tried harder to convince me till the end, their overall body language gave the clear indications. In short, their own words betrayed with their body language. Didn't they?

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1) Face to Face 2) Emotional expressions are manipulated 3) Face of a liar(?) 4) Analytical Interview: Are HR Professionals ready for it? 5) Entire body can’t lie 6) Truth about Lying

Importance of Touch

Communication in human relationships is incomplete without a touch, just like an eye contact or a smile. In fact, a touch can establish, repair or even ruin an existing relationship. Touch has very crucial importance in expressing our feelings about and for the other person i. e. from a formal to an intimate.

A touch breaks spatial, physical and territorial boundaries thus brings two different persons to form a close and an intimate relationship. The secret behind the same is more than skin-deep. Understanding the same would definitely help you in understanding the importance of touch.

Skin covers the largest surface area of our body and also protects vital organs located inside body's cavity. Skin is stretched tight, held on place and supported by muscles and bones beneath it. Also, it’s the largest sensory organ by itself. It senses temperature, humidity, pressure, stress and vibrations.

Secretion of oil and sweating keep the surface of outer skin wet, flexible and free of infections. It helps in regulating, maintaining and retaining the core temperature of our body at 37° Centigrade or 98.6 Fahrenheit, by following the timely instructions of hypothalamus.

Skin is the largest sensory organ, protective shield and interface.

Most importantly, skin can sense of pain and pleasure. Skin has a vast and intricate network of blood vessels and nerves. In skin areas are more sensitive than others due to density of nerves. Nerves and brain communicate between each other on constant basis whereas blood vessels supply blood, moisture, oxygen and nutrients to the skin cells.

Goose bumping, vasodialation (widening of blood vessels), sweating and shivering are skin's natural reactions for regulating, maintaining and retaining the core temperature of body which is unique to mammals. Also, emotions like anxiety, terror, excitement and thrill are conveyed through these reactions.

Apes have skin covering almost their entire bodies and exposing only their face, palms and soles of feet. Still, they spend hours in grooming, caressing and cleaning each other by running their fingers through hair of each other, indirectly touching skin, to strengthen social bonds among themselves.

We and apes separated and evolved from common ancestors but we don't have that much amount of hair cover over skin. Course of evolution lead us to shed hair from most of the parts of our bipedal body. Hairless, bare and exposed skin brought new challenges and opportunities equally.

Being highly sensitive to temperature, physical surroundings, surfaces climate and changes in it, we needed to cover most of the skin surface with clothes, covers and cladding. Also, we started living in artificially built shelters accompanied with family members for survival.

Coming into close physical contact with each other frequently with bare and unprotected skin was quite obvious. Like Apes, our ancestors too adapted to and evolved touching as a medium of communication more efficiently than any other non-Ape social creatures.

A touch can express and convey emotions, feelings, urges, needs, desires, impulses, motives and intentions depending upon the amount of pressure and strain being applied, the amount of time being spent in contacting, the part of one person's body contacting the part of other person's body, the area of skin's surface being contacted, the kind of movements on skin's surface that is being contacted, the psychological, intellectual or physical states of two persons engaged in a contact, physical space between them, their developmental stage and their body postures.

On the basis of the aforementioned factors, a touch can be curing, healing, comforting, consoling, cooperating, complementing, courting, soothing, supporting, surrendering, soliciting, protecting, defending, respecting, requesting, pleasuring, pleading, assuring, arousing, alluring, favoring, satisfying, appreciating, encouraging, suggesting, provoking, suppressing, warning, offending, insulting, rejecting, dominating, coercing, threatening, punishing, hurting, choking, smothering or harming.

Touching breaks personal boundaries and establish social connection between two individuals. When we receive caring, pampering and firm touch; we feel quite relaxed and cherished. We cannot forget the kind of soothing comfort and the sense of security we experience as a child while being hugged, cuddled, pampered or massaged by its mother.Self-touching also brings some amount of relaxation at some extent.

Touching is very important in child's social, emotional and mental development. Gentle touch, pamper or caress secretes happiness hormone Oxytocin inside the brain. It helps strengthening emotional bond between mother and child so among others. Oxytocin prohibits Autism in children. Research proves that lack of massage can lead to emotional and cognitive disorders in children.

Two persons who aren't interested in going beyond formality avoid touching each other. Even if they touch each other, it appears to be very brief, fleeting or as if it happened by mistake or accidentally. Frequency, time engaged in and amount of contacting increases during romance, love-making, child-rearing and therapy.

In public or private, receiving a touch without consent on some of the sensitive zones of one's body by a (complete) stranger or even a familiar individual belonging to an opposite gender is considered as a sexually offensive one and is mostly met with harsh verbal, physical or legal punishments.

Complete absence or lack of informal touching between two persons in a close relationship is sign of lack of affection, interest, trust or empathy. On the other hand, an accidental touch among two (complete) strangers can lead to hostility, anger, aggression or even fighting.

Haptics or Haptic communication is a branch of nonverbal communication that refers to the ways in which people and animals communicate and interact via the sense of touch.

Touching each other in public could be regulated, governed and dictated by institutional, ideological, social, gender, cultural, regional and legal norms.

Unlike a shake hand, casually touching each other is one of the most neglected or undervalued body language aspects in the modern human world.

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1) Child inside us 2) Why we hug? 3) Why we smile? 4) Making true friends 5) Importance of eyes in relationship 6) What is hand shake? 7) Secret of Metropolitan nervousness 8) The Power of Handshake 9) Subtle clues given by itching skin