Understanding Body Language

People are constantly throwing off a storm of signals. These signals may be silent (non-verbal) messages communicated through the sender's body movements, facial expressions, voice tone and loudness. Microexpressions, hand gestures, and posture register almost immediately, a silent orchestra that can have long-lasting repercussions.

Recent posts on Body Language

Did You Watch or Listen to the Presidential Debate?

By Amie M. Gordon PhD on September 27, 2016 in Between You and Me
We pay attention to different factors when watching versus listening to a presidential debate. Here's why.

How Eye Contact Alters Our Behavior

Eye contact has the power to alter our behavior, attention, memory, and appraisal of who's looking at us. Is that always a good thing?

A Match Made in America: Who Will Dominate the First Debate?

By Wendy L. Patrick Ph.D. on September 20, 2016 in Why Bad Looks Good
Research shows that Trump and Clinton will be judged by what they say, and how they behave when their opponent has the floor—because viewers are voters.

Debate Winner Is in the Eye (Not the Ear) of the Beholder

By Wendy L. Patrick Ph.D. on September 19, 2016 in Why Bad Looks Good
Watch! Next week´s presidential debate may be won or lost visually rather than verbally. Research shows perception is driven by nonverbal reaction more than verbal response.

Fidgeting Has Benefits

By Susan McQuillan M.S., RDN on September 17, 2016 in Cravings
Do you tap your fingers, shift your feet, squirm in your seat, and just generally have trouble staying still? That could be good news!

How To Minimize Drama

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on September 16, 2016 in Ambigamy
Drama is a drag on any relationship, but what is it and how does it arise? Here's a roadmap with the pitfalls marked so you can avoid them.

How One Pilot Calmed His Passengers With Just a Few Words

By Meg Selig on September 14, 2016 in Changepower
This pilot used 4 simple communication skills to soothe the minds of his passengers. While not a "Miracle on the Hudson," he made life better for a planeload of people.

Why Do We Wince When We're in Pain?

By Nathan H. Lents, Ph.D. on September 12, 2016 in Beastly Behavior
The recent discovery that all mammals make the same pain-face begs the question, why? One reason could be that wincing is a facial expression intended to communicate danger.

How Eye Contact Brings You Together (or Pulls You Apart)

Science explains why making eye contact can be a friendly social signal or challenge another person.

Outta Control: Trump, Critics, and Circumcising Mosquitoes

By Gregg R. Murray Ph.D. on September 11, 2016 in Caveman Politics
We need some "mosquito surgery" in this year's presidential election. Calling all male mosquitoes.

Emblematic Slips

By Paul Ekman Ph.D. on September 07, 2016 in Face It!
Did you know that a shoulder shrug may be an indication of lying? Certain subtle body movements may be more revealing than you think.

5 Keys to Getting Through Difficult Conversations

By Marcia Reynolds Psy.D. on August 11, 2016 in Wander Woman
Shifts in emotions tell you if someone accepts or rejects your ideas. Here are five cues to look for that will help a difficult conversation have a positive outcome.

Study: The Male Warrior Hypothesis May Be Real

By Christopher Bergland on August 05, 2016 in The Athlete's Way
Why are male athletes more likely to be touchy-feely after a sports competition than their female counterparts? A new study from Harvard University offers some interesting clues.
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Tachykinesics—Those Fleeting Behaviors That Say So Much

By Joe Navarro M.A. on July 31, 2016 in Spycatcher
Sometimes the most fleeting ephemeral behaviors are the ones that reveal what is really in the heart and the mind.

Symptoms Are Dreams Trying to Come True

By Gregg Levoy on July 30, 2016 in Passion!
Passions become needs, and if they're not met they become symptoms. Here's how to use those symptoms to unearth your passions, and use pain to evoke growth

When Falling Brings About Great Work

In the blink of an eye, I found myself on the putty colored carpet surrounded by the shrapnel of scattered chair parts. And it was the best possible thing that could have happened.
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What Can a Kiss Tell You About Someone's Sexuality?

Kissing is a very intimate activity and it's been said that you can tell how passionate someone is by the way they kiss. Recent studies indicate that kissing unites people.

How People Perceive Dogs With Docked Tails and Cropped Ears

New data shows that seeing a dog with a docked tail and cropped ears may cause people to believe that the dog is aggressive and its owner might be aggressive as well.
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Oral Sex on the Menu

By Donna Barstow on June 30, 2016 in Ink Blots Cartoons
Don't worry about doing it "right." Just do it.

Presidential Debates - The Medium Matters

By Amie M. Gordon PhD on June 29, 2016 in Between You and Me
Whether watching on tv or listening on the radio, how you hear a presidential debate might change who you think won.

Are Voice Commands or Hand Signals More Effective for Dogs?

New data answers the question of whether dogs are more responsive to verbal commands or to gestures and body language.

How a Cultural Meme Was Born

New insights into the origin of language as a mandrill in an English zoo invents a gesture for "leave me alone," and it spreads through the community

Gender Communication: It’s Complicated

Women and men can be perceived as members of two distinct and separate subcultures within a larger, more general culture.

Why Babies Need Dads Too

By Darcia Narvaez Ph.D. on June 12, 2016 in Moral Landscapes
The brain is shaped by early experience, specifically, the mothering (nurturing responsive care) we receive from mothers and fathers.

How Compassion Fades in Love Relationships

In love relationships, negative emotions almost always feel different on the inside from the way they look on the outside.

What Are Emotions For?

By Adrian Furnham Ph.D. on June 03, 2016 in A Sideways View
Why do we experience and show emotions? What are the advantages of being emotionally literate? How do we classify and measure emotions?
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For the Families: Notes on the Subtle Art of Listening

By Susan Noonan MD on May 29, 2016 in View From the Mist
Feeling lost on what you can say or do to help your loved one who has depression? Here are some tips to get you started…

Want to Up Your Game? Visual Guidance Optimizes Motor Skills

A new visually guided coaching method improves both gaze patterns and the acquisition of complex motor skills.

Dogs Hesitate More and Respond Less Well When You Are Upset

Your emotional state can cause your dog to hesitate or to execute your instructions less accurately.

10 Ways to Know That It's Time to Go

Sometimes it's hard know when it’s time to leave. These 10 tips will help you figure out the best way to make an exit.