Even when they don’t express their thoughts verbally, most people constantly throw off clues to what they’re thinking and feeling. Non-verbal messages communicated through the sender's body movements, facial expressions, vocal tone and volume, and other clues are collectively known as body language.
Body language isn’t always as clear as spoken language, but how we interpret it can play a big role in how we relate to and interact with others. It's a silent orchestra: Microexpressions (brief displays of emotion that an individual tries to conceal), hand gestures, and posture register in our brains almost immediately—even when we’re not consciously aware of them. These moments of recognition, however brief, can have long-lasting repercussions for how we interpret others’ motivation, mood, and openness, as well as how our own inner selves are perceived. Unfortunately, certain mental health disorders—particularly neurodevelopmental disorders like autism—may make it more challenging to notice and respond to the messages conveyed by body language.