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It's been said that we communicate as much if not more by unconciously doing things with out body as we do using verbal communication.

Verbal communication sometimes seems to contradict what we perceive the other person is saying through body language.

What are some types of body language that give people away who might not be telling the truth. For that matter what body language reinforces what we are being told as the truth?

In the end, can body language be really trusted, or is this just something that's been made up?
 
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i don't know where i picked up on this bit of info but somewhere i heard that only 7% (or something like that) of our communication is verbal. the rest is all body language.

body language is a big thing, in my opinion. the trouble is we may misinterpret it :)
 

Holly

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Hi everyone,
Communication is very important, body language, sign language, and verbal language defines who we are, it helps and hinders us, we have ways to communicate that we do not know how to express!!
 

ThatLady

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I take heed to body language, but I'm sure not an expert in it. I do notice things about people's presentation, stance, and use of hands and eyes that give hints as to what they're thinking. If a person can't look me in the eyes, or keeps glancing downward while talking, I tend to doubt their veracity. A person who folds their arms over their chest during conversation isn't really taking in what's being said. Of course, we've all seen the person who fiddles with the crease in their pants, or taps their fingers on their knee while sitting in a meeting. Poor soul is bored senseless, and may well have something else pressing. :D

I do believe we convey quite a bit this way, often without realizing we're doing so.
 

just mary

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I've been misled (a lot) by body language, it all has to be taken in context. I know people who can't look others in the eye, not because they're lying but because they don't believe in themselves. And it's sad to see. They seem frightened.

I think you have to get to know the person, you have to listen to both verbal and non-verbal cues It would be nice if we had a rule book but we don't.

Interesting question, thanks TSOW.

jm.
 

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What was the name of that book everyone was reading a few years ago on body language?

One of the suggestions in the book was that people felt sorry for another person who was on their hands and knees...some sort of primal reaction.

So all of a sudden when people got stopped by the police for a traffic infraction, they would be dropping their wallets on the ground, then getting on all fours to get the sympathy of the cop in the hopes of getting let off:D

It seems the cops caught on to that one pretty quick!
 
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Halo

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Very interesting question TSOW. I know for me that I fidgit a lot but that is my anxiety spiking and the feeling of not being able to get out of the situation that I am currently in. I often feel sorry for others when I see them fidgit because I think that they may be in the same category as me. Now about eye contact. I have in the past had trouble in therapy with keeping eye contact (with specific therapists) but in normal conversations I don't have trouble but I do have trouble with others not being able to even make any eye contact with me at all. We have a person here at work that when talking to you she will not at all make any eye contact with you and will look away from you.....that irritates me....now how did I get on this topic.....oh ya.... I think that I am a good reader of people and their body language, much more than I was say a few years ago and a lot of it has been by watching myself and the way that I portray myself and what my expressions with my body have been.

I do find that sometimes I tend to overanalize peoples expressions and movements (especially my therapists) to the point that I start to worry excessively about what this and that expression may have meant but that is just my nature of worrying which is an area that I need to work on :D
 
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i notice that when it's hard for me to talk about something in therapy i don't look my therapist in the eye, i just kind of look away. also when i am trying to think up an answer to a question that takes more thought i tend to look away at a blank space somewhere. i think that is a common one.
 

Halo

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Well BBC at least I know that it is not just me that looks away when something is hard to talk about in therapy. It is good to know that I am not odd to do that. I tend to stare at the floor and really try and formulate an answer to a question or on second thought I hope the question will just go away :D

I actually had a therapist that I disliked so much that I didn't look at her for almost two years. I knew the pattern on her floor area rug so well that I could draw it from memory :lol:
 
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lol nancy i don't know how you did it, watching a rug for 2 years! i don't think i could go back to a therapist i didn't like. it must have been torture.

obviously looking away while talking to someone can mean many different things. so body language is very important and very diverse.
 

Halo

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The rug had a very detailed design and well she didn't talk very much either so we really sat in silence for most of the time while she watched me watch the rug. The design on that rug was awesome (it is a design I will never forget :). At the time I just knew that I couldn't be left with no therapist so I continued to go until I found someone else (thank god).
 

^^Phoenix^^

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I think that body language is certainly a big part of how we communicate, however - I'm not sure I credit the 'experts' in it, that tell you if you're folding your arms then your 'closed off' etc. I think as well as body language, we use tone of voice, breathing, eye contact etc as part of getting our meaning accross. We just have to look at our closest animal relatives to see that they also use body language to communicate. The thing is, I think, is that since we have started to rely on verbal communication we have 'forgotten' how to correctly interpret it. Plus- throw in 'civilised society's' rules on ettiquette etc, and it can really confuse things.
 

stargazer

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What an interesting thread! Thanks TSOW, for posting this. I don't know what the name of the book was, but I would like to.

I find myself not looking into the eyes of someone when I am afraid of the immediate reaction I might get from them, which might be conveyed in a scary way eyeball-to-eyeball. I also think that, as Phoenix, just said, there are so many factors in addition to body language (such as tone of voice) that tend to suggest that we communicate with our entire being, not just with words.

If someone who usually smiles when he sees me enters the room looking straight into my eyes without smiling, but directing his "vibe" at me, I immediately begin to believe I'm doing something wrong in his eyes.

I have two students who are sisters, one year apart. The older sister is very outgoing. She communicates verbally, honestly, and directly. The younger sister is extremely shy, and for the first year or so I had no clue what was going on inside her. It concerned me, because communication was so necessary to the educational experience. But at the same time, it fascinated me. You know what they say: "still waters run deep."

Well, her mother told me that ever since the siblings were little girls, the older girl got into the role of making decisions for the younger sister, and the two girls just accepted it, and grew up that way. That's why the younger girl was so quiet.

During the second year, and as I got to know her somewhat, I noticed that it was becoming easier and easier to "read" her. Without her saying anything, I started to believe that I could tell from her expressions, her eyes, and overall non-verbal language whether she was afraid of the assignment, or eager to pursue it, or intrigued, or concerned, or puzzled, and so forth.

I would then ask her a "yes" or "no" question based on what I suspected was going on. These kinds of questions were usually easier for her to answer, and this would usually give me enough information to proceed. If she didn't seem to be truthful when she said, "yes," I'd nudge her with an "are you sure?" and she would eventually open up and say, in complete sentence form, what her reservation was about the assignment.

Her mother told me that it was because it took her a long time to get used to people, and that now that she had known me for a couple years, she was becoming more comfortable with me. But she still seems to communicate mostly non-verbally, which of course can lead to misinterpretation, rather than verbally. On the other hand, I can't tell from her older sister's "body language" anything at all. With her, everything seems to be communicated in words.
 

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I don't know what the name of the book was, but I would like to

As I recall it had the word "ape" in the title, like "Language of the apes" but that's not it. The theme was in reference to primordial communication going back to the apes.

Maybe someone will recognize the book I'm thinking about:)
 

ThatLady

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Hmm ... I can think of a couple of books on body language, but I don't know if any are the one you're thinking of. The only one I can think of that has "ape" in the title is Desmond Morris' "The Naked Ape".

A couple of other good ones are "Body Language" by Julius Fast, and "Body Language: How to Read Others' Thoughts by Their Gestures", by Allen Pease.
 

Halo

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See if anybody knows what we are thinking or talking about it is TL....she is always on target :D
 

ThatLady

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I do think you have to take other factors into consideration when analyzing body language in the common sense. There are people you know are shy. Those people probably will have more trouble making eye contact because they feel uncomfortable. That discomfort is shown by other, simultaneous body language, like fidgeting.

I don't think it would be as easy to analyze the body language of a total stranger. I think you have to know, at least, something about the person before you endeavor to read his/her body language.
 

ThatLady

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See if anybody knows what we are thinking or talking about it is TL....she is always on target :D

Heh. Because the subject interested me, I did do some reading on it a few years ago. It seems to me, I read something a long time ago about the subject, but I can't for the life of me remember what it was or who wrote it. I'll have to do some research. ;)
 

Halo

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I can just hear the detective music in the background as TL goes on another mission.........:)
 

ThatLady

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Heh. The book I'm thinking of was published in 1970, and I've already named it. It's Julius Fast's book, "Body Language". :dimples:
 

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