Talking Body

From a PSY 13 student:

I stumbled upon this website and I thought that it was interesting and related to what we talked about at the beginning of the semester about how we perceive others based on their body language and facial expressions. I just figured I’d share!

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7 Responses to Talking Body

  1. Profile photo of kalper02 kalper02 says:

    I don’t remember who told me (source amnesia), but apparently when you shake hands, it demonstrates power when your hand is closer to the other person’s body than your own. This, getting your hand on top of the other’s , shaking with both hands, etc… all make sense as power moves. I wonder if presidents and CEOs practice these methods, or if their power naturally displays in these ways. Are these postural and body-language tendencies conscious or unconscious? I am curious how we determine who is more powerful and if these decisions are more emotionally or factually based.

    • Zihan Chai says:

      I remember reading an article (sorry, don’t remember where exactly, source amnesia) about how the Trump enablers helped reshape Trump’s gesture. If you compare Trump’s past appearances on talk shows (e.g. SNL) with his 2016 campaign footage, a lot of his signature moves did not surface until his annunciation of candidacy. So I guess at least for Trump, the gestures are acquired, not merely the results of his personality… (or maybe his decision to run instantaneously makes him feel more powerful )

      As for the handshake rule specifically, it’s really hilarious to see how Trump tries to apply the rules to the extreme. And what’s even funnier is how the other world leaders fight back after learning more and more about Trump!
      (For Macron, he just squeezes Trump’s palm really hard and forces Trump to let go. haha.)
      https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/may/28/the-trump-handshake-how-world-leaders-are-fighting-back

  2. Image really is everything when it comes to body language. I think that body language and facial expression are so important and necessary because they are truly universal forms of communication. You can travel anywhere in the world and not know the language, but I can almost guarantee you that they will be able to interpret your facial expressions and body language, and you will be able to read theirs. This is so crucial because no matter where we are, or what we are doing, it allows us to communicate (even to a small degree) with those who are around us. More so, this is an instinctual form of communication that we pick up on from a young age, so as human beings we are equipped to communicate with each other.

    • This is mostly true… using your hands can really help you communicate when you don’t speak the language and helps you get a sense of your surroundings. We are use to it. However, not all body language is universal… you are always at risk for misinterpreting it because you don’t realize that it means another thing in another culture.

      • Not only do your hands help you demonstrate your presence and your meaning in another language it can also point out your status as a foreigner. I find most interesting when we learned about power posing a few weeks ago the power of body language can even influence your level of self-esteem in a new setting and give you the confidence to preform better even if its a hard task.

  3. Kavya says:

    This was a really cool article! I didn’t realize how much of the body language cues we do and recognize innately. It also reminded me a lot about Dr. Amy Cuddy’s research on power poses and how to extrapolate power poses in social scenarios to communicate warmth as well as dominance. Dr. Cuddy’s work went viral since it came out and you can actually see her in quite a few ted talks talking about power poses. Basically, she talks about how changing your body language can actually affect the levels of cortisol and testosterone in your body and activate favorable stress based responses. It seems to be basically manipulating the physical body language to change the mental state.
    Here is a short article on Cuddy’s work. https://hbr.org/2013/03/want-to-lean-in-try-a-power-po-2

  4. I think it’s incredible that 93% of what we communicate is nonverbal. So much of what gets people in trouble these days is the words they decide to use. The 93% figure emphasizes just how easy it is for statements or questions to be misinterpreted or taken out of context.

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