Here are 25 psychological facts about human body language backed by science to help you understand the actions of the people in your life. You will also learn about the different types of human body language, see real body language examples, the importance of body language, and how human body language is being used in modern-day psychology.
Body language psychology, also known as nonverbal communication is used daily by detectives, CIA, FBI, and law enforcement entities to catch criminals and read the minds of individuals by watching the way they sit, their facial expressions, and how they stand or speak. This technique is not new and was even studied by Darwin’s evolution theory dating back to 1872!
25 Psychological Facts About Human Body Language
The following facts about body language or non-verbal communications are for educational and entertainment purposes only. In no way should this content be used to harm others.
There are over 18 different smiles used by humans to show emotions, 99% of those smiles are actually fake and only one is real and shows real happiness. The Duchenne smile is the only one that shows genuine happiness. A simple way to understand a Duchenne smile is by imagining a 5-month-old baby smiling! The eyes become smaller, the cheeks are raised and the lips are opened enough to show teeth while smiling.
Research shows that when someone crosses both arms and legs during a conversation or an argument, it shows that the person has emotionally withdrawn from the conversation. Don’t bother continuing the conversation because he or she has already made up his or her mind on the topic!
3. Universal Expressions
There are 8 universal facial expressions which are sadness, fear, anger, surprise, happiness, disgust, contempt, and embarrassment. Everyone in the world will show the exact facial expression for each and every one of the feelings above.
4. Disbelief Or Disagreement
Taking time to open your eyes, covering your eyes, lowering your eyes during a conversation is a strong indication of disbelief, disagreement, anxiety, or dismay. As soon as you notice any of the eye actions above while in a conversation with someone, it’s time for you to stop talking and just let it go!
In a difficult or discomforting situation, women usually touch their necks, clothing, jewelry, arms, and hair while men on the other hand tend to touch their faces.
Leg cleansing is when a person slides their palms back and forth from their upper thighs down toward the knees. This action shows that the person is either nervous, lying, or deceptive.
A very common sign of confidence and authority is when a man or a woman spreads or plants his/her fingertips on a table or surface while speaking, standing, or sitting. Another way to spot how confident a person is is by watching the thumps, if a person sticks his or her thumbs out of the pocket, this indicates confidence and authority as well.
Study shows that people who lie or are actively lying tend to use fewer gestures such as touching, making conversational gestures, or moving their arms and legs while speaking. In contrast, someone speaking the truth will make hand gestures, and naturally, move parts of their body as they normally would.
9. Distress & Weakness
A common sign of distress that is found in almost all cultures around the world is the act of wringing the hands. It also indicates that a person is concerned about the wellbeing of someone else. You can pinpoint the weakness of a person is by watching his or her thumb action, if he or she sticks her thumb in her pocket, this indicates weakness, low self-esteem, and confidence.
10. Dilated Pupils
Research shows that one of the main reasons why pupils dilate is because of interest. If a person sees something they like, the pupils dilate and if they are not interested in the object the pupils constrict. This is a very easy way to notice if your attitude is acceptable by others when in a gathering or while having a conversation with someone.
After researching thousands of thieves and shoplifters, researchers found that 98% of them had the same body language when caught in the act. Most thieves will try to keep their heads down and limit hand movements and gestures. A common posture found among shoplifters is the “turtle effect” the head down shoulder raised posture. Are you going to start noticing others the next time you are at a grocery store?
Research shows that in most cases, people tend to blink faster when they are either lying or under stress. This is one of the most common ways to detect if a person is lying or if they find the environment too stressful to handle.
When people find themselves in a positive situation or they are happy, they tend to rub their hands together. This is also a universal gesture that is found in many cultures as well.
Nodding one’s head excessively during a conversation is a sign that the person is doubtful of their capabilities or worried that you think negatively of them.
What Are The 4 Types Of Body Language?
There are many different types of body language or as researchers call it “nonverbal communication” used to determine a person’s intentions or thoughts but the 4 main types that are often used in most scenarios are body movement and posture, voice, eye movements, and eye contact and facial expressions. Gestures, touch, and space are other types of non-verbal communications as well.
Facial expressions such as sadness, happiness, anger, surprise, fear, and disgust are some of the most common body languages found in all cultures and parts of the world. Body movement and posture are simply how a person walks, sits, stands, or holds their head, and other subtle movements.
Eye contact or eye movements can show a person’s interest, affection, hostility, or attraction while the sound of one’s voice can indicate sarcasm, anger, affection, or confidence.
Gestures, however, may have different meanings in different cultures, for example, the way a person waves may have a different meaning in Asia than it would in Europe. Pointing, beckoning, waving, and moving your hands when speaking or arguing are some of the common types of gestures used in nonverbal communication.
How Do Psychologists Read Body Language?
Psychologists read body language by studying the eyes of a person, gazing directly at the face, paying attention to proximity, watching out for mirroring, observing head movements, watching the person’s feet, looking at hand signals, and observing the position of the person’s arms.
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