Psychology 101: Body Language

For this week’s Psychology 101 I’ll be talking about body language. If you’re new to this “series” then go check out the last two posts about phobias and dreams. As you already know, first we’ll start with the basic questions and topics, then progress to some more complicated ones. So first…

What is body language?

Body language is a form of non-verbal communication. Body language can come in forms such as facial expressions, eye contact, posture, voice tone and even the way a person sits. The signs we send through our bodies are not always intentional and are usually products of our subconscious. They are usually pretty subtle signals and are often misinterpreted.

Why is body language important?

The way we move and react tell people a lot about us at the moment. For example, another person’s body language can let you know if they’re lying, whether they care and if they’re listening. Body language also reveals personality and characteristics about a person, which is why actors focus on developing their characterization and character’s body language so much. Body language can also play big parts in job interviews or presentations through the amount of confidence being displayed. Numerous sources say some politicians actually hire actors to teach them how to present themselves in a particular way.

Reading body language

Now for a change from the usual facts and research, I’ll give you some signs to look for when a person is “doing” (i.e., lying) something. Although, these are just some more general signs most people would look for:

How to tell when a person is lying

  • Hesitation to make eye contact
  • Or if they’re trying to trick you, TOO much eye contact
  • Create small details in conversations
  • Answer questions that weren’t being asked
  • Clear/swallow throat before answering questions
  • Slow blinking
  • Higher vocal pitch
  • Try hiding mouth, eyes or throat
  • Grooming gestures (i.e., adjust clothes)
  • Stuttering
  • Tend to not use contractions in speech

How to tell when a person is attracted to you

  • Dilated pupils
  • Mirroring your actions
  • Excuses to touch you
  • They lean in even though they can hear you
  • They remember important dates
  • Look to you after telling a joke
  • Their feet are pointed towards you
  • They ask you questions
  • They try starting the conversation

Is there a difference in body language between men and women?

According to multiple sources, there actually are a few differences! I’m not really sure why, but my guess would be it’s just the different natures and ways of thinking. An example of how men and women use or interpret body language differently would be nodding: When women nod, it means they are being attentive and listening and wants the person speaking to continue. When a man nods, it’s more of a sign of agreement. Another one would be how men and women like to be approached. Women prefer being approached from the front, not from behind- researchers believe it has something to do with protection. Men, however, prefer being approached from the side or from an angle because it’s less assertive to them. Researchers also say that women are better at reading body language than men are, but that doesn’t mean you guys should feel bad!

I hope you enjoyed this article and that you learned something too! See you guys next week!


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