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5.2H: Applied Body Language

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  • Page ID
    8034
  • Body language is a crucial part of social interaction.

     

    LEARNING OBJECTIVES

     

    Discuss the importance of body language as a means of social communication and give specific examples of body language

     

    KEY TAKEAWAYS

    Key Points

     

    • Research has suggested that between 60 and 70 percent of all meaning is derived from nonverbal behavior.
    • One basic body- language signal is when a person crosses his or her arms. When the overall situation is amicable, it can mean that a person is thinking deeply about what is being discussed, but in a serious or confrontational situation, it can mean that a person is expressing opposition.
    • Flirting is an example of applied body language. Sexual or romantic interest is primarily communicated through body language, which may include flicking one’s hair, eye contact, brief touching, open stances, and close proximity between partners.

     

    Key Terms

     

    • Flirting: It is a playful activity involving verbal communication and also body language to indicate an interest in a deeper romantic or sexual relationship.
    • body language: Nonverbal communication by means of facial expressions, eye behavior, gestures, posture, and the like; often thought to be involuntary.

    Body language is a form of human non-verbal communication, which consists of body posture, gestures, facial expressions, and eye movements. Humans send and interpret such signals almost entirely subconsciously. It is impossible for social scientists to study body language in any manner that is not applied. Indeed, social scientists are interested in body language precisely because of what it conveys about social interactions and the relationship between nonverbal interlocutors. This dynamic can only be studied in applied contexts.

    Research has suggested that between 60 and 70 percent of all meaning is derived from nonverbal behavior, making body language a crucial part of social interaction. Body language may provide clues as to the attitude or state of mind of a person. For example, it may indicate aggression, attentiveness, boredom, relaxed state, pleasure, amusement, and intoxication, among many other clues.

    One of the most basic and powerful body language signals is when a person crosses his or her arms across the chest. This can indicate that a person is putting up an unconscious barrier between themselves and others. However, it can also indicate that the person’s arms are cold, which would be clarified by rubbing the arms or huddling. When the overall situation is amicable, it can mean that a person is thinking deeply about what is being discussed, but in a serious or confrontational situation, it can mean that a person is expressing opposition. This is especially so if the person is leaning away from the speaker. A harsh or blank facial expression often indicates outright hostility.

    Another obvious example of expressive body language used in everyday life is flirting. Flirting is a playful activity involving verbal communication and also body language to indicate an interest in a deeper romantic or sexual relationship. Flirting usually involves speaking and behaving in a way that suggests a mildly greater level of intimacy than the actual relationship between parties would justify, though within the rules of social etiquette, which generally frown upon a direct expression of sexual interest. Body language may include flicking one’s hair, eye contact, brief touching, open stances, and close proximity between partners. Thus, by watching two individuals, one can tell if they are flirting.

    Flirting Instruction: This video is a how-to on how to flirt. Note the significant attention paid to body language.

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    Marilyn Monroe: Marilyn Monroe has been described as the ultimate flirt. Does this photograph fit that perception? Does it have anything to do with her body language?

     

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