This is a response on an article of the University of Leicester.
Facial expressions are perhaps one of the most important sources of non-verbal cues following Ekman’s theory, but there is so much more to read on the body… The working of the brain shows us preferences of the hemispheres and similar responses in body language. When we use our hands during a conversation, they support our thinking. Right- and left-side of the body translate the preferences of the hemisphere used at that moment.
When we look to our interlocutor we can notice with which eye he is addressing us. Like the hands, the body shows signs of openness or closure, but our hands are good indicators of what we think. We use them to touch our face or body during the communication even without noticing this ourselves. But observing these movements (which hand is used) and where on the body the hand goes is a good indication of someone’s thought. Ex: If we wipe under the left eye with a movement from the inside to the outside of the face with a tip of our finger, we see a movement of opening ‘to see more’: a sign of interest in the subject of the conversation.
Like we tend to touch the calf of the leg during a long business-meeting because it ‘is itching’, it tells us non verbally that we want to finish the meeting and go. Sure, facial expressions tell a lot about felt, hidden or expressed emotions and are likely to been seen most, because we are used to look at someone’s face, but our body is a complete organism of impressed, expressed and suppressed emotions. It did not learn to lie and will always respond to thoughts even when we tend to control this. Politicians are good examples to explore signs of control using the least possible movements. Most of their audiences concentrate on words while they know how to camouflage body language.
Body language is ‘movement’ -the latin word for e-mo-tion. Body language is a constant flow of movements (read: emotions) and is a result of brain activity. What we do not say will be expressed by the body…somewhere! Therefor it is good to use all messages given by the body in order to have better communication.
Synergology is an overall study of body language and a refreshing new tool decrypting body language. Gerard Stokkink is lecturer at the University of Applied Sciences of Amsterdam and an expert in non verbal communication.