Scientific Portal on Body Language, Kinesics, and Nonverbal Communication#

Words and gestures are alike

Evolution has given human race the gift of bipedal anatomy (ability to walk on two legs) and ultimately hands free to perform many tasks. Same aspect separate us from other species on road of material, social and communication development. While communicating, we can control the flow of exchange, emphasize, divert to or draw attention at or demonstrate something by hands.

Apart of spoken words, gestures, signs, metaphoric or actual symbols generated by hands play very significant role in communication to make it more visually acknowledgeable, clear, and interesting. Brain is more attuned to remember and interpret visual clues than words.

Very wonderful thing to know is that some people cannot communicate verbally without gesturing. For example, it’s proverbial truth that you can make Italian man silent just by tying his hand on his back. You can watch an interesting video that explains origin and meaning of different Italian gestures. Many of these gestures are global. Nice work by **Mr. Carlo Anurucci!


Moreover, words and especially symbolic gestures are alike. According to recent study done by fMRI (Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scanning of brain, words and gestures are processed by same areas inside it. Development of sign or code languages for verbally disabled people is very good example of adherence of verbal and nonverbal aspects of communication.

Gestures are also important while learning or teaching foreign languages, complex ideas, views or theories. It has been found that person making or mimicking gestures is more likely to master complexities and can learn new skills faster than person who doesn't.

Intel's' new gesture recognition technology allows you to control devices by making simple hand gestures like turning knob by fingers to increase or decrease the volume of your TV or waving a palm to receive an incoming phone call on cell phone. 

Discovering and meeting enormous potential of gesture recognition and their interaction with various objects has been transformed into SixthSense Technology by a young Indian scientist Dr. Pranav Mistry at MIT Media Lab (Massachusetts, USA). It's definitely going to change the world to come.


(**Mr. Carlo is retired construction professional who has published several videos on sign language and gestures on YouTube.)

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Body Image and Social Communication

Body image is self-perception of one’s body, specifically attributed to appearance and attractiveness. Most of us unnecessarily compare ourselves with some contemporary standards of physical beauty built upon popular personalities or theoretical modeling. In fact, most of us are quite in good size and shape - adhered with our genetic predisposed physical aspects. As per observations, people who are regarded as beautiful than average by masses also suffer from body image issues. On the contrary, markedly average or below average looking persons do well only by their positive thinking towards themselves and what they do.

Body image also corresponds to self-esteem. How worthy you feel about yourself affects the way you behave with yourself and others. While choosing, attracting, and retaining a partner in romantic or marital relationship; issues related body image become more serious but they are elusively ignored. Body image disorders can lead to martial dissatisfaction too. Two persons with dissimilar body image perception index might drift apart due to predictive complex they develop about themselves.

Obsession to meet hypothetical beauty standards escalates to physical and psychological disorders that are very difficult to cure.

We simply can’t deny importance of body image with respect to way we communicate both nonverbally and verbally with others. It has been widely observed by researchers and psychologists that persons suffering with body image issues avoid social approach and interactions as much as possible.

Following are some combined nonverbal or behavioral symptoms:

1) They smile very rarely, walk slowly, and appear more psychologically occupied - lacking energy and confidence.

2) They get nervous very quickly and ruminate a lot. They adopt defensive or withdrawal postures most of time. They engage themselves in petty tasks for long time. 

3) They refrain themselves from exposures, interactions, open discussions or debates. They avoid direct eye contact and comfortable parade. They don’t take initiatives of themselves.

4) They seat with arched back and maintain downward gaze mostly. They use more grooming gestures, engage in forced solicitations, and try to seek affirmation from others about their beauty and attractiveness.

5) Generally, they stay closer with others who suffer with body image issue. They feel paralyzed when isolated from such individual or group.

6) They may also impulsively defend to somebody commenting on their appearance even if it’s bogus or a joke.

7) They may express jealousy towards persons (irrespective of gender) having positive body image and stay away from them.

8) They pass sarcastic or derogatory comments in absence of person whom they suppose to be more beautiful and good looking. In fact, they never genuinely appreciate good looking persons.

9) They are more likely to develop eating disorders typically known as Bulimia or Anorexia. They hardly can understand that their eating habits are harmful to their health.

10) Frequent peeping into mirrors, trying different looks - attires that don't match with their social image and copying others blindly is also well known behavioral symptom in them. These traits are also more common in youngsters going through or following puberty.

Most women suffer from body image issues and there are very strong reasons of same. Especially after World War II, industrial revolution and socio-economical changes gave opportunity to women for working in offices, factories, institutions, stores and organization. At the same time, increasing penetration of television, advertisement and fashion industry that thrives to standardize and materialize female (and even male) beauty began creating an illusionary images that women started to chase desperately. Global hike in cosmetic sales and increased medications - therapies are the indicators of same.

Following pregnancies, most women develop body image issues due to sudden change in body shape and size. Many women might choose very weird ways to gain their self-respect and confidence that are not easily understood or accepted by male partners.

Only way to overcome body image issue is to accept inheritance and adopting healthy practices. Don’t compare your physical features with others at all. Equating healthiness with beauty should be kept in mind. Persons acutely suffering from body image issues should approach counselors or psychologists as early as possible.

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Let your spirit soar higher

Even though we don’t pay much conscious attention, body language definitely speaks louder than words. This phenomenon is exactly like looking at illuminated bulb without being able to touch, taste or smell an electricity. Body language is the dialect of subconscious mind. It’s an in-built survival mechanism which we can’t defy consciously.

How you attire, walk, stand, maintain interpersonal distance, lean, orient, seat, postulate, gesticulate, touch, pronounce words, glance, gaze, and express facially helps building your image in minds of others and same image is reflected through their behavior or treatment to you.

In personal, social or professional life, positive attitude is the most important. Positivity always attracts positivity. Simply, it’s a law of nature. You treat others in positive, respectful and harmonious way; you get same kind of treatment in return. Take an example of smile. When you smile impulsively or intentionally, it makes others smile and helps soothe tense environment.

Positive attitude means to be open, humble, confident, comfortable and favorable towards others; approaching, welcoming, showing interest, respecting, complementing and persuading in an appropriate way without intrusion, intimidation and humiliation. Moreover, positive attitude is not a salesman’s style. It’s not like making smiley face and trying to make everyone happy all the time. Reasonable and constructive defense is also required whenever necessary.

If you closely watch all great, respected and most loved personalities around us who influence our lives and you may find how their positive attitude manifests both verbally and nonverbally.

Adopting and expressing positive attitude is simple but only when you are mentally prepared for same. It’s very crucial to look at yourself exactly the way you want to get treated by others. You need to believe in yourself. Not comparing yourself at all with others, valuing your existence, not underestimating strengths, identifying your virtues - skills - competencies, remaining determined - focused - goal oriented and respecting diversity of personal nature bring emotional stability - harmony and cognitive precision.

More you feel better about yourself; more you become healthy, immune and charming. Don’t curb your ultimate potentials, don’t down your spirit and let it soar higher. Let it be promise to yourself for lifetime. Let each venture make you feel more and more fulfilling with positive attitude towards yourself other.

May your every good wish get fulfilled. Have a great life!

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Secret of metropolitan nervousness

You may easily spot the difference between rural, sub-urban and metropolitan populations. Rural and sub-urban people appear more open, friendly, stress free and more expressive as compared to metropolitan population. Metropolitan people appear more shrunk, tense, nervous or expressing no emotions on face while traveling, shopping, standing in queues or transportation points, riding in elevators, or walking - driving on roads. The secret behind this weird behavior has to do with amount of space each person shares with others in any environment.

Every living creature needs certain amount of physical space for fundamental necessities like sheltering, resting, consuming food and breeding. Member of some species mark and aggressively defend their physical boundaries like the way they compete during mating season. More the intrusion in physical boundaries by strangers or rivals; more there are tensions, conflicts, battles, bruises and killings.

It has been observed that animals forcefully packed in limited geographical areas are more susceptible to anxiety, violent - abnormal behavior, psychological disorders, diseases - infections and deaths ultimately. Despite of being advanced species, humans are not excused of this rule.

Despite of being advanced species, humans are not excused from this rule. We also struggle to maintain comfortable and safe interpersonal distance. We invade interpersonal space under two situations only – either to attack or to get intimate.  Lesser the distance remains, more we expect display of favor. Otherwise, we try to fight or run away (flight) for our own safety.

In large cities, strangers trespass or accidentally come closer to each other very frequently, at different places and occasions. Expressing something to someone you don’t know is likely an intrusion without letting know your true intentions. A stranger gesticulating, talking loudly, touching, fidgeting, exhibiting intimacy or expressing emotions on face would make others feel interfered, invaded, insulted or attacked unconsciously.

During such unavoidable situations, we share individual space with others on unspoken agreement. When two strangers invade or share individual spaces; they tend to appear idle or almost motionless to appear harmless for other. This adaptation assures less uneasiness, stress or conflict and let all to perform different tasks peacefully. This adaptation assures less uneasiness, stress or conflict and let all to reach their destinations or performs tasks peacefully.

Public transport system is evident to any observer. Forming group or friendship helps most of us mitigating (unconscious) threat of being looted, harassed or harmed by strangers. Most people simply divert their attention from others by mimicking sleep, reading newspapers - books - magazines, listening songs, eating,  looking at sealing - flooring or looking out through windows.

In rural or sub-urban areas, there are very less chances of intrusion or trespassing since every person has more geographical area. Also, people more familiar with each other unlike strangers are skillful to handle intrusion or trespassing in more friendlier and social ways.

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