Monday, July 11, 2011

Body Movements and Their Meanings - Physical Expression Speaks Louder Than Words

Body language, also called as non-verbal communications, is typically subconscious behaviour. This is why it is considered distinct from sign language, which is a conscious and intentional act of communication.

There are believed to be six facial emotion found all around the world – happiness, surprise, anger, sadness, fear, and disgust. And since those emotions can be read so easily, people like to hide or mask them in situations when they dont want thier true feelings known.

According to Albert Mehrabian, a psychologist and expert on non-verbal communication, there are three elements in face-to-face encounters – tone of voice, the words, and body language. He believed that words made up a mere 7% of all the impression given, the tone of voice accounted for 38%, while body language 55%. The body language component was 40% for facial expressions and movements, and 15% for appearance. However, his experiments involved people’s feelings and attitudes. This means that the percentages may not be correct in other situations. This also shows us how important the face is in all person-to-person communications.


People who stroke, touch, or fondle their hair are subconsciously seeking reassurance.

People who twist their hair are suffering from stress or anxiety.

People who are stressed or harassed often run their fingers through their hair.

Many women like to stroke, rearrange, ruffle or run their fingers thruogh their hair in order to show off its beauty and length when in the company of someone they find attractive or charming. This is usually, but not necessarily done subconsciously.


Nodding the head is usually a sign of assent in most parts of the world. However, in countries like Iran, Slovenia, Montenegro, Serbia, Turkey, parts of Greece, and Bulgaria nodding the head up and down signifies no. Surprisingly, they will shake their heads from side to side to say yes.

Nodding rapidly tells that person is aware of the urgency of the siuation. But a slow, prolonged nod is a sign that he or she doesnt fully agree with what has been said or explained. Most of the time, when someone wants the speaker to stop talking, he or she would stop nodding.

If a person is tilting his/her head while listening to you then keep talking, it is a good sign as the person is already interested.

Rubbing the neck from behind or scratching the back of one’s head is a sign of frustration.


eye gestures body language
Your pupils dilate when you are showing interest in someone or something. Your pupils dilate when you like what you see, and constrict when you are displeased or dislike what you see. The lighting in a room will also affect the pupil dilation. When the room is too bright, your pupils will contract as a result of the harsh light. And when the room is too dark, your pupils will dilate so that greater vision can be obtained.

Two researchers, Ofer Fein and R. E Lubow, said that they could detect guilty people by measuring the size of thier pupils in phoographs taken at the scene of the crime.

Eye blocking is always negative. This often indicates disdain and dislike, it also happens when a person feels threatened, upset, or distressed. Eye blocking occurs when a person squints, covers, or closes his/her eyes. Liars often block their eyes when telling a lie.

Rubbing the eyes, or blocking the eyes with one hand indicates that the person doesnt like what she/he is being told. When someone briefly touching his eye during conversation, it indicates that the person doesnt think much of what you are saying.

Always looking upward when listening to someone means that person is bored. Rolling the eyes can also be a sign of impatience.

Rolling the eyes upward is a sign of astonishment or amazement. Its a universal gesture used by all people around the world.

Your eyes tend to look right when your brain is creating or imagining, and left when your brain is remembering or recalling.

Rubbing the eyebrows with the finger or adjusting the eyeglasses means that the person found something positive.


Imagine walking into a restaurant and seeing someone you know. According to expert, if the person smiled and at the same time raised her or his eyebrows then the person momentarily likes you but if that person smiled and at the same time squinted for a brief moment then the person doesnt like you even though she or he smiled.

Squinting is a sign of dislike and distrust. People also squint when they are feeling uncomfortable.


People blink more when they feel anxious, nervous, concerned, upset, or stressed. The blinking wont return to normal until they feel relaxed. Eyelid flutter is a sign of a person who is upset about something.


If someone rubs his ear using his forefinger and thumb, its a sign that he doesnt want to hear what is being said. He is either not interested or doesnt believe of what is being said.when a person scratches behind his ear using his forefinger, this may indicates that the person is perplexed, puzzled, or has doubts about what has been said.


Pinching, rubbing, or touching the nose can be a sign that the person doesnt really believe what other person is saying. But if the person touching/rubbing her or his nose is the one who is talking then that person could be lying.

When we get negative feelings the blood capillaries in our noses will contract and we will feel like wanting to scratch it.


A liar likes to touch his/her mouth continually, and unintentionally. When a person smile but his/her mouth becomes uneven is said to be a person who cannot keep promise.

According to some researchers, when we lie, our hearts pump faster. And this make the capillaries in our noses expand. Our hairs in the nose are also affected, this creates a desire to rub the nose. The nose will then increasetemporarily in size (although not visible), this is also known as the ‘Pinocchio Effect’.

There are also a fake smile and a genuine smile. Genuine smiles are symmetrical and produce creases around your mouth and eyes. We display a few crows feet when we smile genuinely. This is because the smile pushes up our cheeks which bunches up the skin near our eyes. A fake smile only activates the outer edges of the mouth.

According to an expert, a genuine smile was actually produced by the actions of our zygomatic major muscle and the orbicularis oculi muscle, which surrounds our eyes, whereas a fake smile was caused by the zygomatic major muscle that runs from our cheekbones to the corners of the lip. That muscle will pull our lips sideways and upward, creating a fake smile.

Arms and Legs

People with crossed arms are closing themselves to social influence. However, some people cross their arms because of a habit but this may indicate that they are reserved or uncomfortable with their appearance. If their arms are crossed but their feet are shoulder width or wider apart then it is a position of authority or toughness.

If a person talks and he/she likes to hold his hands together and move about means the person is cunning.

If a person rests his/her arms behind his head or neck, that person is open to what is being discussed or just laid back in general.

When someone is enjoying talking or being with you and doesnt want to leave, he/she will be oriented in such a way that her shoulders will be parallel to your shoulders. In other words, he will face you with his whole body. Someone who is not facing you properly while talking to you may be wanting to leave either because he doesnt like you or not interested talking to you.

Crossing legs away from another person is a sign of discomfort or dislike with that individual.


Genuine emotions are usually revealed in our faces symmetrically. Interestingly, when people deliberately make an expression, its often asymmetrical.

Our backs will also become straighter when we are happy or interested in something, and will be curved when we are feeling down.

body gesture meanings

Private Distance

Private distance, or also called as personal space, is the area around us that is regarded as our intimate territory.  Each of us has an invisible boundary that we put around each of our bodies in order to feel secure and comfortable, like a protective bubble. Usually, people dont like others to step into their private distance unless they are comfortable, interested with, or like them.

Intimate distance ranges from touching to about 46 cm (18 inches) apart, and is reserved for family members, children, lovers, pet animals, and friends. Personal distance begins about an arm’s length away; starting around 46 cm (18 inches) from you and ending about 122 cm (4 feet) away. This space is used in conversations with friends, associates, and to chat in group discussions. Social distance ranges from about 1.2 m to 2.4 m (4 – 8 feet) away from you and is reserved for strangers.

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