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December 31, 2011

Reading Body Language - Context

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

Let's see how exactly two different environments, circumstances, situations or surroundings can give two different meanings to the same expression or action.

There are two different persons taking out their frustration following 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.

Both of them are in two completely different environments and conditions to express their feelings, motives, intentions and emotions while reacting to something. Context plays very crucial role in understanding what they want to convey actually.

Both of them suddenly yelled and smashed 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 the fist on palm because we cannot punch anybody else at the moment.

The young football fan smashed his fist on palm after watching an ace player missed the goal post during the last few minutes of the second half. He took out his frustration over the wasted opportunity by his favorite team 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 smashed his fist on palm, yelling “Damn it!”. He took out frustration because all efforts he and his team took to arrest the criminal got wasted.

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