Psychology of Body Language

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Your brain not only controls your thoughts, but is also responsible for all the physical actions of your body. This connection with the brain allows you to express thoughts in your mind verbally, which further manifest themselves in your physical actions.

Body language is the study of this non-verbal form of communication. The thoughts in your brain constitute your psyche, which is continuously interacting with your body. A person’s body language can therefore give an insight into his thoughts and state of mind.

Psychology pertains to any form of study of the brain. Body language broadens the context within which the state of the brain can be studied. It encompasses both the voluntary and involuntary movements of the body and how they can be related to thoughts and emotions.

Applied properly, it can give us an insight into what the person is thinking or feeling. This has been achieved through the work of psychologists who have sought to understand how emotional processes can be linked to certain types of physical movements. This can not only reveal a great deal about a person’s emotional state, but also helps determine whether they’re lying.

There are two forms of body language: conscious and unconscious. Conscious body language is used as a complement – or indeed at times an alternative – to verbal speech. This form of body language is intentionally used to convey information and serves as an alternative to speaking.

Unconscious body language covers gestures a person is unaware of and is of greater interest to psychologists. It can reveal things about a person he might not necessarily want to share. In your interactions with others, there is a wide range of body movements you continuously pick up and evaluate at all times.

This can allow you to make judgements about how a person is feeling just by looking at their body language. Common examples most people would be aware of include relating biting the nails to nervousness, tapping of the feet to impatience, lack of eye contact to confidence problems – and the list goes on.

Then there is a whole range of other minute, less obvious gestures you continuously pick up in others without even being aware of it. The overall effect is a sort of “intuition” which allows you to have a glance into another person’s state of mind without them ever saying a word.

Psychologists are professionals trained and experienced in this very form of “mind-reading”. Body language is integral to the work of psychologists, since so much of what they do revolves around effectively putting these principles to use and finding links between a person's physical and emotional state.

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