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

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 it’s Time to Leave

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.

What has happened to American education?

What is happening to our students?

Chirality: A Look at Emotional Asymmetry of The Face

By Joe Navarro M.A. on May 21, 2016 in Spycatcher
The face sometimes reveals multiple emotions at once—here is a look at emotional asymmetry of the face.

Why Do Men Find Women’s Legs So Alluring?

Researchers have spent far less time studying men’s attraction to women’s legs than the typical man devotes to gazing at them . . . and maybe finding himself spellbound by them.

Manifest Joy

By Bernard L. De Koven on May 17, 2016 in On Having Fun
Joy substantiates something profoundly spiritual. Something in life that validates living itself.

Introducing the Atlas of Emotions

By Paul Ekman Ph.D. on May 12, 2016 in Face It!
Backed by funding from the Dalai Lama, read about our new Atlas of Emotions.

Man’s Best Friend Meets Man's Best Robot

Scientists have distilled the elements of dogs’ behavioral language for use in robots.

Mobile Devices and Corporate Culture

How mobile devices alter our thinking and corporate culture

Babies' Brains May Process Social Thinking Via Motor Systems

A new study published today reports (for the first time) that motor systems in the brain may drive infants' earliest social learning, thinking, and behavior.

Men's Top-Dog Power Gestures Make Them Seem Untrustworthy

By Rebecca Coffey on April 05, 2016 in The Bejeezus Out of Me
In a new study, male speakers making lots of wide-reaching arm gestures (like Trump's) were generally seen as dominant. But they were also seen as fakers.

5 Types of Smiles and What They Mean

Is that smile seductive, sarcastic, or fake? How can you tell?

Tinder Study Shows Science of Best First-Date Body Language

By Garth Sundem on April 02, 2016 in Brain Trust
Want to be attractive on a first date or on Tinder? "People who are seen in expansive, open nonverbal displays enjoy increases in others’ romantic attraction," writes a new study.

13 First Date Red Flags

What are some of the "warning signs" of potential relationship trouble that might show up on the first date?

How We Read People's Minds Through Their Eyes

By David Ludden Ph.D. on March 30, 2016 in Talking Apes
Our eyes are a two-way channels, providing us with information about the environment but also communicating our thoughts and intentions to others.

9 Reasons Communication Can Go Wrong in Your Relationship

The bad habits can lead to serious communication breakdowns.

Why Are Presidential Debates Like NASCAR Races?

By Gregg Murray Ph.D. on February 28, 2016 in Caveman Politics
Non-verbal behavior has a huge effect on how we view politicians, sometimes even greater than their policy positions—the information we ideally hope drives our vote choices.

What People Really Think When They See Your Profile Picture

By Liraz Margalit Ph.D. on February 26, 2016 in Behind Online Behavior
On each of the social platforms, a profile picture carries a different meaning and attempts to convey a different message

Are Men Really Lousy Listeners?

By Audrey Nelson Ph.D. on February 25, 2016 in He Speaks, She Speaks
Think about your top three screening factors for your incoming and outgoing messages. How might they impact your ability to listen to others and to respond appropriately?

How Your Lie–Detector Chin Gives Away the Naked Truth

By Richard E. Cytowic M.D. on February 20, 2016 in The Fallible Mind
We surmise what lies behind facial expressions, decipher body language, and interpret tone apart from literal words. We read between the lines and hear what isn't said.

Bernie and Hillary Naked on Stage

By Richard E. Cytowic M.D. on February 18, 2016 in The Fallible Mind
Body language broadcasts more than people realize. Politicians try hard not to say what’s really on their mind, but sometimes they might as well be naked on the stage.

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!

By E E Smith on February 14, 2016 in Not Born Yesterday
George Washington proclaimed, "I cannot tell a lie," and Lincoln was called "Honest Abe." Can we conclude from these two examples that American politicians aspire to be truthful?

Is It Possible That a Dog Could Be Racist?

By Stanley Coren Ph.D., F.R.S.C. on February 10, 2016 in Canine Corner
New data shows that minor actions by a dog's owner can cause it to develop negative emotions toward particular people.

6 Seductive Body Language Channels

What does seduction really look like?

"Interpersonal Synchrony" is Vital to Harmonious Matchmaking

By Christopher Bergland on February 10, 2016 in The Athlete's Way
A new study on "interpersonal synchrony" has pinpointed the optimal ingredients for creating harmonious partnerships.

Why Do Dogs Turn in Circles Before Lying Down?

New data helps to explain why dogs spin around in circles before laying down — it's all about comfort.

Code Switching Solves Workplace Communication in 2020

By Audrey Nelson Ph.D. on January 26, 2016 in He Speaks, She Speaks
The term "code switching" refers to having knowledge of both the male and female cultures or languages and readily swapping between them as you communicate.

5 Ways Effective Body Language Can Help Your Career

Here are 5 areas where effective nonverbal communication matters in your career success.

Obama's Tears

By Erika Rosenberg Ph.D. on January 18, 2016 in About Face
Amidst controversy over the authenticity of President Obama's emotional behavior during a press conference on gun control, a facial expression expert offers a scientific analysis.

Why Ted Cruz’s Facial Expression Makes Me Uneasy

By Richard E. Cytowic M.D. on January 01, 2016 in The Fallible Mind
We learn to read faces from birth, and easily tell a natural smile from a forced one. The Senator’s expressions feel atypical, which leaves me feeling uneasy.