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August 11, 2022

Can body language reveal thoughts?

We have seen mentalists or psychic readers which can tell your credit card’s PIN number, your personal cell phone number, your address or even other private details just by observing you or asking your name in the very first meeting on a road or during a stage show.

Going even further, some mentalists or psychic readers can tell details about an individual just by looking at its photographs. Such ability empowers the readers to see through an individual like a large X-Ray machine. This is outstandingly mind blowing but equally scary too.

Although highly debated or doubted, mentalism or psychic reading might be a latest phenomenon in a million year long human developmental. However, everybody doesn’t need to a mentalist or a psychic reader to know about others because we all commonly share different emotions, moods, feelings, intentions, impulses, urges, desires, biases, approaches and attitudes. Human body is designed to express, convey, display or give them away almost unconsciously throughout our lives.

We can decode or understand somebody’s psychological, social and cognitive status and condition just by keenly observing its body language in a given context and at a given moment. Hence, decoding body language is largely and mostly equated with reading minds of the others in real-time. It’s practically and socially an extremely advantageous ability. Surprisingly, everybody has this natural ability. However, the degree of accuracy of reading others differs from one individual to another.

Being human is more than creatures with mostly predictive and instinctive behaviors. We possess a unique ability of thinking. Thinking sets us apart from creatures but thoughts set two individuals apart. Unlike commonly shared spectrum of physical expressions and behaviors, it’s the kind of thinking and thoughts which sets one individual apart from another. Obviously, the greatest question is Can body language of an individual reveal its thoughts?.

Before trying to find the answer of the question, let’s try to understand WHAT EXACTLY IS THINKING?. Thinking or forming thoughts is a conscious and also higher cognitive process which takes place even without any sensory stimulation or input. Process of thinking broadly includes judging, reasoning, forming opinion, crafting concept, generating idea, solving problem and deliberating. Emotions interfere with thinking process whereas thoughts regulate emotions.

Triune Brain or Three Brain Sections

We humans have three different sections of brain i. e. Reptile, Limbic/Mammalian and Neocortex. Both reptile and limbic sections initiate and regulate behaviors, expressions and displays related with survival, social interactions, territorial needs and mating. On the other hand, the thinking process supposedly takes place within and largely governed by neocortex (literally 'new brain') which is recently developed section inside the brain which sits right above the reptile and limbic sections.

Statue of the thinking man or the thinker is famous. The man is sitting with isolated, adapting closed body posture, giving support of his right hand to his face, maintaining downwards gaze or almost closing his eyes. By sitting at one place, he has diverted his entire physical energy and focus towards the (deep) thinking process or contemplation. While thinking about something, almost every human individual unconsciously switches to the similar kind of body posture.

Normally, frequency, intensity and duration of physical movements is strongly correlated with thinking process due to energy demand dynamics. Brain is an energy hungry machine which consumes almost 20% of the entire energy that body produces. Moreover, thinking alone burns 2/3 out of the same. Minimized or completed halted body movements help in diverting blood, glucose, oxygen and nutrients to the brain and especially the neocortex.

The Thinking Man
By looking at physical isolation, minimized movements, lowered muscle movements on face, steady neck and unmoving eyes; we can instantaneously know that an individual is thinking at the moment. Eye ball movements can give clues about cognitive processing such as memory recall.

Tiny muscular movements and/or micro-expressions on face reveal how the individual is reacting to its own thoughts. Diverted gaze, fixated eyes and partially or fully closed eyelids suggest the high degree of deliberate focus and concentration while thinking.

Hence, we can easily know if an individual is thinking just by looking at its overall body language. However, body language itself cannot reveal the thoughts of the same individual. The textual, numerical, symbolic and geometrical details of ongoing thoughts cannot be known. Other than using sign languages, it’s extremely tough or even impossibly to convey the exact details by using facial expressions, emblems, postures and hand gestures voluntarily.

Spoken language is the only medium of expressing, sharing or spreading thoughts, ideas, concepts, opinions, judgments and plans which are the ultimate products of activities taking placed among billions of neurons or brain cells. They are almost impossible to read from outside until expressed voluntarily. We simply can’t understand the exact details of thoughts until an individual conveys them verbally, puts them down on a paper or acts upon them ultimately.

Don’t you still believe it? Please let me explain it very simply. This very article made up of hundreds of words, numbers and special characters put under several paragraphs is the final product of my own thoughts about this very extremely interesting subject. Without publishing the same, how come you could have understood my own thoughts about it? Indeed, it was next to impossible! Isn’t it? Hope you clearly understood my point by now.

"An individual's body language can and does reveal thinking but not the exact details of its thoughts."

By the way, technology is trying to read human thoughts. In 2019, Facebook made an announcement of developing a device that can read thoughts directly from ongoing neural activities and translate them into words. Initially, this development is intended to help the patients who are suffering from paralysis to express their thoughts. However, end goal of is to provide the Brain Machine Interface to control and operate other devices.

Do you have Tin Foil Hats to prevent 'Thought Hacking'?

[Special Note: Our brain has an unique ability of visual thinking which is absolutely free from the words and languages. Visual thinking is thinking in the form of images, illustrations, icons, pictures and symbols.

Visual thinking utilizes our brain’s visual processing center and it is extremely useful in organizing data, connecting different pieces of information, understanding complex concepts or ideas and modelling.]

Related Articles:
1) Is Human Communication 93% Nonverbal? 2) Self-communication by gesturing 3) Why exactly languages evolved? 4) Body Language Brain 5) Words and gestures are alike 6) Would aliens have emotions?

1 comment:

  1. For over 30 years I have read others without the use of verbal, body or written language, throughout my entire 20 years of sales. It is not personality dependent nor done with the help of psychic abilities which is why I have been successfully teaching this method since 2002.


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