We use body language every single day. We often end up judging people based on their body language. So now the question is, ‘What really is body language?’ The next question that follows is ‘How much really do we know about body language?’ Let us find out answers to these questions in our first part of the article titled 20 interesting body language facts.
Interesting Body Language Facts: 1-10
1. The scientific term for body language is kinesics (pronounce it as kin-EE-siks).
2. Body language is not just about body parts’ movements. It is also about facial expressions.
3. It can be voluntary or conscious or it can be involuntary or subconscious. Whether voluntary or involuntary, body language always conveys some kind of information.
4. Humans are not the only ones that make use of body language. There are several other animals that make use of kinesics to express information.
5. Body language is either a mood mirror or a mood betrayer. It reinforces speech and also replaces speech. Of these three uses, speech replacement is a conscious act.
6. Chirologia: Or the Natural Language of the Hand was the first ever modern handbook ever published on body language. It was published in 1644 and was authored by John Bulwer. The book dealt with hand movements.
7. Ogling someone’s body is also a body language because it involves eyes and eyes in turn are a part of facial expression.
8. It may look like men check out women’s body more than women checking out men’s body. This is not true. The ogling rate is same for both men and women. The only problem is that men get caught very quickly and women don’t.
9. Why does that happen? That’s because women have peripheral vision with wider range, making it extremely difficult to catch them when they gaze on a male’s body. On the flip side, males are equipped with poor peripheral vision which allows women to catch them quickly while they gaze on female bodies. Isn’t that sad? Women ogle too but men get all the blame all because of limited tunnel vision!
10. Just by noticing the blinking rate of the eyes, it can be said whether a person is lying or not. Eyes blink faster while lying or when people are under stress. The normal blinking rate is 6 times to 8 times in 60 seconds. This ramps up dramatically under stress.
Interesting Body Language Facts: 11-20
11. When people come too close to us, we tend to get repelled and increase the distance to a point where we are comfortable. This comfortable distance is known as personal bubble.
12. The size of personal bubble differs for different culture and of course from one person to another. For instance, Japanese are quite happy to find you standing 10 inches away. Americans will prefer anywhere between 18 inches and 48 inches. A person from a rural setting will have bigger personal bubble compared to a person from an urban setting.
13. During a conversation if a person suddenly crosses both arms and both legs, it simply indicates that he or she has is done with the conversation on emotional level.
14. Surprise, sadness, fear, disgust, happiness and anger are considered are facial expressions that are universal by nature. However currently experts have been arguing that facial expressions that convey embarrassment and contempt are also universal by nature.
15. Women imitate other women more than men imitate other men based on instincts. Women also tend to imitate the body language of men but again, the opposite is not true. Men will imitate the body language of women only during courtship.
16. Men have a unique way of showing dominance. This is nothing but crotch display while sitting. They will plant their feet on ground very firmly and spread them out giving a clear view of their crotch. This is hardwired in males and does not require a conscious effort.
17. In several areas of the world, socialization is displayed through physical contact during daily interactions. Southern Europe, Indian subcontinent, China, Latin America, Japan, Latin America are examples of such culture. These cultures are technically known as ‘high contact cultures’.
18. Similarly there are several cultures which are classified as ‘non-contact cultures’. Examples will be Far East, Northern Europe, which includes Britain. Their daily social interactions don’t include physical contact.
19. In several studies it has been found that men tend to be attracted more to those women who laugh at them. On the other side, women are more attracted to those men who they laugh at more.
20. When a man is caught saying, “Ah! She has excellent sense of humor”, all he means that the woman laughs more when he cracks jokes. He never means that the woman is good at cracking jokes!