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Published by shinedown1982, 2019-01-23 00:26:31

The Ultimate Body Language Book

The Ultimate Body Language Book

Chapter 1 – Why The Study Of Body Language Is Important

How To Use This Book
You Have Four Minutes!
How Hard Is It To Read People?
What Does It Mean To Read People?
How Fortune Tellers Are Like Hans The Horse
What Is Cold Reading?
How And Why The Body Reveals Emotions: The Brain-Body Interplay
How The Lymbic System Affects Body Language
Faking Body Language And Microexpressions
The Mirror Neuron
The Benefits Of Subconscious Mirroring
Virtual Body Language
The Types Of People You Will Read – Introverts Vs. Extroverts
OK vs. Not Ok Personality Traits
Using Body Language To Get The Results You Want!
Why We Should Picture People Naked!

Chapter 2 – The Basics Of Understanding Body Language

The Five Cardinal Rules Of Body Language
The Rule Of Four
A Caution About Biases During The Baselining Process
Baselining Versus Innate Actions
Intuition Versus Perception In Body Language: Seeing What We Want To See
The Feet Are Honest
Negative Body Language Is Usually More Honest
Silent Speech Has Flow
Verbal Language Is Confusing, Body Language Sorts Things Out
The Evolutionary Differences Between Men And Women
Are Men Bad Readers Of Body Language?
So How Exactly Do The Minds Of Men And Women Differ?
Age, Age Gaps, Status And Its Affect On Body Language
Body Language Of Children
Emulating Alpha’s Body Language
Reading Posture
Haptics: The Use Of Touch In Communication
Body language And Energy displacement
Fashion And Its Meaning

Chapter 3 – Cultural Differences


Genetic, Learned Or Cultural: Which Is It?
Emblems, Illustrators, Affect Displays, Adaptors And Regulators
Emblems: Word Replacement Gestures
Some More Examples Of Emblems
Illustrators: To Colour Language
Affect Or Emotional Displays
Recognizing Body Affect By Culture
Regulators, Regulate Speech
How To Use Regulators
Culturally Our Bodies Are All Basically The Same!
Some Gestures Are Universal
High/Low Context, Culture And Touching
The Ways Cultures Meet And Greet

Chapter 4 – Space And Territory

Personal Space Distances
Culture And Personal Space
Personal Space And Country Folk
Status, Context And Personal Space
People As Objects
Space And Eye Contact
Spatial Empathy
The Urinal Game
Indicators of Invasion

Chapter 5 – Seeing Eye To Eye – A Look At The Language Of The Eye

The Friendly Social Gaze
When Men’s Eyes Meet Women’s Eyes – The Intimate Gaze
The Business Gaze
Why Sometimes Eye Contact Is Bad
Putting Your Best Side Forth
How To Avoid An Attack Or Speeding Ticket
Dilated Pupils
The Room Encompassing Glance
Eye Blink Rate
Extended Eye Blinking
Eye Blocking
The Double Wink
Eye Flashes, Eye Widening And Flashbulb Eyes
Looking Up Through The Forehead
Eye Size And Neoteny
Shifty Eyes

Looking Askance And Eye Rolling
Stealing Looks
Audience Eye Contact
Eye Direction, Thought And NLP
Using The Eye Trick To Predict Things
How People Learn
Eye Contact In Business
Eye Contact During A Job Interview
Eyebrow Flash – The Social Greeting
When And How To Use The Eyebrow Flash
Catching People Who Fail To Recognize You
The Eyebrows In Communication

Chapter 6 – Smiles and Laughter

The Origins Of The Smile And The Honest Smile
Where Do Smiles Come From?
Perpetuating The Smile: On Mirroring And Smiling
The Most Common Types Of Smiles
Who Smiles More, Men Or Women, And Why?
Smiles Generate Leniency
Origins Of Laughs And Why Laughing Is Addictive
Laughing Cycle, Laughing Makes People Laugh
Theory Of Jokes, Humour And What Is Appropriate
The Purpose Of Humour, Bonding And Laughing
Is Laughter Unique To Humans?
Laughter Differences Between The Sexes
Put-Down Humour
The Types Of Laughs And Why Women Shouldn’t Snort And Grunt
Laughter And Health

Chapter 7 – Opened Mind, Open Body, Closed Mind, Closed body

Ventral Displays
Hands And Palms Language
Sudden Changes In The Hands
Rubbing The Hands Gestures
The Spear Throwing Pointer And Other Power Gestures
Being Opened And Closed Through The Legs And Arms
The Meaning Behind Arm Crossing
Breaking The Mold – How To ‘Close’ The ‘Closed’
The Meaning Of Leg Crossing
The Ankle Or Scissor Cross
Figure Four And Figure Four Hand Lock
Fig Leaf Position
Parallel Legs
Pigeon Toes

The Legs and Feet Tell About Where The Mind Thinks
Standing Positions And Their Hidden Meaning
How We Sequence The Letting Of Our Guard
Avoiding The Eyes
The Fetal Position
Openness As It Relates To Status

Chapter 8 – Dominant and Submissive Gestures

Reducing Body Size And Avoiding Conflict
The Shrinking Man
Environment Plays On Height And Dominance
Relaxed Body Language
Raising Status Through Relaxed Body Postures
The Language Of The Head
Headshake For Negative Thoughts
Head Nod And Bobble
Head Lowered Judgment
Head Tilted Interest
Head Back And Peering Over Glasses
The Chair Straddler
Leg Spreading
The Leg Over The Chair
The Full Body Steeple
Tilting Far Back In A Chair
Hands On Hips
The Cowboy Pose
The Military Man
What Does Thumbing Indicate?
Displays Of Ownership And Territory To Indicate Dominance
Dominance By Setting And Breaking Social Rules
The Dominant Control Their Faces
Touching Between And Amongst The Sexes
Touching To Get What You Want
Touching Heals Us Both
The Power Of The Pause
Speed Of Speech
Tonality And Voice Depth

Chapter 9 – Defensive and Aggressive Body Language

Defensive body language:
Double Arm Hug
Partial Arm Cross
Arm Gripping
Fist And Arms Clenched
The Security Blanket

The Stiff Or Curved Arm
Objects As Barriers
How To Use Barriers To Your Advantage
Cues To Indicate Defense
Aggressive Body Language:
Signs Of Aggression
The Unblinking Eyes
Invasion Of Space

Chapter 10 – Attentive And Evaluative Body Language

Attentive Body Language:
Undivided Attention
Fidgeting, The Feet, Jiggling and Kicking
Agreement Indicators
Hand On The Chin For Evaluation Or Negative Thoughts
Other Attentive Cues
Evaluative body language:
Chin Stroking And Tongue Protrusion
The Invisible Lint Picker
What Glasses Mean
Hand Steepling
Neck Rubbing
Other Evaluative Gestures

Chapter 11 – Emotional Body Language

Displacement Behaviours Protect Us In Public
Freeze, Flight or Fight
Clenching And Gripping
Nervous Hands
Poor Self Image And The Body Language That Tells
Eyebrow Lowering
Interlacing Fingers and Palm Finger Stroking
Suckling And Mouthing Body Language
Compressed Lips, Down-turned Smile And Lip Pursing
Tonguing Language
Sneering For You
The Ear Grabber
Hostile Body Language
The Sequencing Of Rejection Body Language
How Bodies Become Relaxed And Defrost
Neck And Nose Body Language
The Anti Crosser Is Uncomfortable
Other Emotional Body Language
Blocking Behaviour
Blushing – The Colour Of Emotion

Gravity Defying Body Language
How Can We Tell If An Emotion Is Faked?
Universal Facial Expressions
Emotional Downtime
Turtling – It’s When The Head Goes Into It’s Shell
The Types Of Hugs
Additional Emotional Body Language

Chapter 12 – Mirroring And Building Of Rapport

The Chameleon Effect (Mimicry)
Research Into Purposeful Mirroring
What To Mirror To Gain Favours
Using Mirroring In Negotiations
What Stops Mirroring?
When Mirroring Can Backfire
When Mirroring Creates Flow
Why Our Pets Look Like Our Kids And Couples Like Each Other
Who Is In Charge Of Mirroring?
Who Mirrors More, Men Or Women?

Chapter 13 – Courtship Signals

Why Men Don’t Seem To Get It And Why Women Are Half The Problem
It’s A Women’s Job To Attract Attention
The Most Common Female Sexual Signals
She Displays Submissively, Sexually, Gets Closer And Builds Rapport
Tibial Torsion And Shoulder Shrugs To Appear Childlike
Wrist And Neck Exposures
Smiling, The Forehead Bow And Childlike Playfulness
Sexual Hair Play
The Hip Tilt and Parade, The Hip-To-Waist Radio, Breasts and Buttocks
The Room Encompassing Glance
Grooming And Preening
The Leg Twine And Leg Crossing
Hiking The Skirt And Showing Skin
Loving Tight Jeans, Short Skirts And Ornamentation
Proximity, Pointing And Touching
Echoing And Mirroring Is The Mating Dance
Kiss Test And Stages In Intimacy
How Women Can Avoid Solicitation By Men:
Gaze avoidance
Posture patterns
He Displays Dominantly, Sexually, Gets Closer And Builds Rapport – Introduction
How Men Display Interest – An Introduction And Further Reading

The Male Crotch Display
Eliminating Beta Male Body Language
Dominant Body Language
The Dominant Male Stance
How Men Can Use Negative Body Language
Tonality Advice For Men
Smiling And Gazing Advice For Men
How Men Should Gaze
The Ten Steps To Intimacy

Chapter 14 – Office Body Language

How To Signal I’m Here To Help But Not Be Your Friend – Some Tips For Salespeople
How We Prefer To Orient Ourselves When Standing
The Types Of Handshakes
Types Of Bad Handshakes
My Little Handshake Experiment
Thwarting Dominant Handshakes
Handshake Advice For Women
Handshake Conclusion
Power Sitting For Women – What To Do, What To Avoid
Appearing Masculine – Power Dressing Advice For Women
Leaning And Ready Language In The Office And Elsewhere
Leadership Body Language
How To Handle The Type Of Bosses:
Job Interview Body Language
Before You Get There
When You First Arrive
Your Entry
During The Interview
Your Exit
Reading Buy Signals

Chapter 15 – Seating Arrangements
How We Know Why We Meet
Early Research Into Seating Arrangements
Rectangular Seating Positions:
Casual Corner Position
Cooperative Side-By-Side Position
Independent And Opposite Position
Competitive Head-To-Head Position
Leadership Positions And The Head Of The Table

Square Tables
Circular Seating Positions
Positions In Circular Tables
Other Complex Seating Arrangements
How To Set Up Your Office
Some Ways To Set Up An Office
Office Artifacts – The Other Nonverbal Messages
The Power Of Chairs
How To Be Forgotten – The “Center-Stage Effect”
Who In The Audience Is The Most Keen?
Deciphering Cause And Effect From Seating Position

Chapter 16 – Deception and Lie detection

Why We Lie
The Nine Reasons We Lie
Deception Causes Arousal, Generally
Duping Delight, Eye Contact And Smiling
Lying Is Hard Work?
Nervousness And Guilt In Lying
Liars Freeze Up But Master Poker Players Become Dynamic?
Remaining Uncommitted
Touch Reduction
The Truth Bias
Are Truth Tellers Less Cooperative?
The Facial Action Coding System Or FACT Another Way To Detect Lies
Examples of Microexpression.
How Mentally Taxing Is Lie Telling?
Police As Lie Detectors
Lying In Children
The Most Common Gestures Associated With Liars:
Increased Face-Touching
Ear Pull
Neck Scratch And Collar Pull
Hand To Eye Gestures
Hand To Mouth Gestures
Nose Language
Closed Body Postures
Eye Patterns In Lying
Verbal And Paraverbal Cues
Nervous Body Language – The ‘Other’ Cues

Machines That Detect Lies – When All Else Fails Bring In The Machines:
fMRI In Lie Detection
Thermal Scanners, Eye Trackers, Pupillometers And Stress Sniffers

So Which People Are Good At Detecting Lies?
How We Really Detect Lies

How To Accurately Read Lies
Comfort and Discomfort In Detecting Deception
Comfort and Discomfort Body Language
Setting Someone Up To Be Read

Final Thoughts

Chapter 1 - Why The Study Of Body Language Is Important

Introduction – Chapter 1

Head down with hand to mouth is a “buy signal.” She’s considering the offer.

Body language is an exciting tool and I often refer to it as such because I can use it like a wrench or
screwdriver and sometimes even a hammer whenever I need it, but sometimes even just for fun. Most
everyone has had some sort of fascination with body language and has thought consciously about it at
one point in their life. However, not everyone will graduate from casual observer to expert or near
expert, as you will by reading this book. My biased opinion is that everyone needs to read at least one
book on body language, and since this is so, you might as well do it early in your life! Body language
works like compound interest, the sooner you know it, the sooner you can begin to benefit from it. We
will see that body language applies throughout many facets of our lives.

Certainly body language helps in sales and around the office or during an interview, but it can also help
in dating, in personal relationships, and even in marriage as speak from personal experience.
Understanding body language has helped me be more cognizant of my tact, or lack of thereof and has
allowed me to read my wife’s mind, sometimes to our her benefit and other times, to her annoyance. To
a husband, with a dry humour, who wishes to diffuse a distraught wife, pointing out his wife’s negative
body language as she stands over him with her arms crossed and her head down can be amusing. It’s
even more amusing to catalog her body language as it escalates when she discovers that instead of
paying full attention, you’re reading nonverbal cues instead! If you explain that words are not
necessary, she paints a vivid image without words, you might however, regain some respect.

Body language is useful in life because, no matter what we do, we are always dealing with people and
this fact becomes even more salient when understand that everything on the planet is currently owned
or controlled by someone else. That is, every piece of land, every tree, every desk, computer, television,
or rock, is the property of someone else or is controlled by someone else. Therefore to acquire anything
or everything you must formulate agreements with these people. Reading them becomes paramount.

Spoken language happened much later in our evolutionary history than non-verbal language and is
therefore deeply rooted in our minds. Nonverbal language is primordial, primitive and therefore
primary to speech. Our minds and bodies are tied together in language which is why we gesticulate
while we talk. We might try to bury or ignore our body language but it still creeps out when we aren’t
paying attention. For most people who have done no reading about body language at all, it is their
default mode and so they show us honest gestures. This is important to us as readers because we can
take these gestures more or less at face value.

An evolutionary perspective is how my framework on body language was developed.

Body language helps us predict the emotions and thoughts of the people around us and gives us a
framework from which to begin to understand them, even before opening with our sales pitch or
agreement, for example. My interest into body language first began in university, as I sought to learn
about girls and dating. I wanted to understand what made some men more successful than others, and
how, or rather if, women could be read. I was particularly interested in indicators of sexual interest. At
the time, I figured the end goal was just as good as good a place to begin, as any. As I learned and
studied, it became apparent that it was possible to manipulate the game all the way through and even
use body language in an active way instead of a reactive way to turn the tables in my favour. My
passion got me into other realms as well, such as evolutionary theory, animal behaviour and ultimately
into zoology. This pulled me away from psychology somewhat, but I always had an interest in people
and what made them tick. So while I studied animals, how it related to people was always at the back
of my mind and helped me create my formula. I now look at life through a zoological perspective
because while I was studying, psychology was just beginning to wrestle with evolutionary ideas, but
hadn’t totally accepted its force and weight. This is a huge factor in why I got away from psychology
and delve more and more into zoology and evolutionary theory. From the start, I knew it was the right
way to look at things. My current framework would be classified as sociobiological with a high degree
of favourtism toward the biological aspects, evolution in particular. I am particularly fond of primary
scientific research, that is, research studies that are normally published in giant periodicals in university
libraries. Now we can just grab them, and their findings, digitally through electronic files. The days of
photocopying endlessly are over, but the information still needs to be properly filter, dissected and
reapplied in a useful fashion by an expert of some sort. You can still get the information from the
source, and if you really are keen, should, but it still needs to be interpreted to become useful, and takes
a dedicated mind, because at times, it is quite dry. You’ll find this book heavily sprinkled with such
primary research which makes it powerfully predictive, tested, empirical, peer reviewed, and more
importantly, and as all real science should be, replicable.

By the end of my third year of university I had drafted the guts of a book about sexual body language
but never took any action. It sat there for years, but I finally decided to share it with the world and

publish it through the and named it Body Language Project: Dating,
Attraction and Sexual Body Language. Body language stuck with me throughout the years because
once I had the basics I was always able to read people and throughout life, it really helped me. Every so
often I would point out the body language of the people around me, such as my wife and friends, just to
make them a little bit more aware of what they are really revealing about themselves. Other times I
would read an employer, or read politicians on television, or just regular people walking about on the
streets. You will see, like I did, that body language is something that once learned will stick with you
for a lifetime. Most of us already have some sort of intuitive ability to read people but this book will
help spell it all out for you in plain English with no need for interpretation or guesswork. Next time you
read someone, you’ll be right, you won’t be guessing.

Knowing body language will be helpful while presenting to an audience, for example, since it can tell
you when it’s time to make your conversation more lively, when people are truly interested, or even
when it’s time to wrap it up and move on. Body language is the “intuition” that separates decent
speakers from amazing ones. Good speakers will read the degree of ‘head tilt’ in their audience, which
shows interest, and then know that they are onto something, or conversely watch for arm crossing, leg
crossing, or both, showing withdrawal to indicating that it’s time to switch topics, switch tactics or get
the audience involved. Body language can also help around the office to read your boss or if you are a
boss to read your employees. Even as a parent, body language will help in reading your children and if
you are married, help read your spouses hidden meaning before words set off flames.

If you have ever heard a voice recording playback, absent of video, you know how important body
language is in communication and how much meaning is added through the visual channel. Monotone
words strung together with no inflection showing no emotion whatsoever makes the meaning of the
sentence lost and confusing. Electronic mail or instant messaging, are two wonderful examples of all
that can go wrong with communication absent of body language. Text messages become confused,
misinterpreted and misread, and as we all know, often end badly, sometimes so badly, it’s irreversible.
Message boards also suffer in this way, often resorting to massive infighting simply because the
intended meaning is lost. Emotional icons (emoticons) such as ‘smiley faces’ and ‘winks’ we now dot
our messages with are good indication of the importance nonverbal cues.

Speech takes meaning from our actions and body positions, not just from resonance, frequencies and
pitch carried through air molecules. When people speak, we can tell their emotions by how they use
their hands, which words they emphasize, and where they pause in speech. On the other hand, to
become more effective speakers we also need to be better at delivering proper body language so again
we need to understand the nonverbal channel. This book is a good start on your way to learning body
language, but certainly not the finish line. You will still be required to advance a significant effort
independent of this book to become proficient at both reading and delivering nonverbal messages, not
the least of which will happen by seeing it in real life and in real time.


Chapter 1 - Why The Study Of Body Language Is Important

How To Use This Book

This book was designed to be the only book you would ever need to read on body language, but in
doing so, there are probably some areas that you aren’t interested in or are only moderately interested
in. For that reason, don’t feel that you need to read the book in sequence and that skipping sections or
chapters is necessarily a bad thing. Having said that there might be areas of study that particularly
interest you, and for that reason, there are additional Body Language Project volumes to suite that niche

Once you get past the first few chapters, the readings become more and more optional depending on
interest. By skipping chapters or sections you won’t get the full picture, or gain the fullest amount of
power this book harnesses and from that which is nonverbal communication, you’re certain to gain the
knowledge that you can use most in your life. Some information, for example, is more applicable as an
employer, whereas other information applies most to employees. Others still will benefit from office
dynamics, but for others who work outside an office, it won’t be as helpful. We can all learn something
from information that doesn’t apply to us directly though so it never hurts to bank that information in
case we find ourselves in a novel situation in the future. Feel free to skip ahead, or skim the
photographs over, and hit areas again at a later date as your life changes. You will also be surprised by
how much more information you will pick up on your second read so by all means re-read. This isn’t to
say that we haven’t put a lot of effort into putting things into the best and most logical sequence
though, it just means that you won’t suffer by reading it out of order. So split the book at any page, skip
sections and just enjoy the wonderful photographs, it’s your book, read it how you want to!

While reading this book just keep in mind that there are quite literally thousands of nonverbal signals
that can be emitted by the human body, most of which are covered herein, although sometimes just
briefly. It would be entirely impossible and a very likely a futile effort to hit on every minor cue, not to
mention extremely long winded and boring! Nevertheless, this book is designed not only as a primer on
body language, but also the only book you will really ever need to read. The book covers more than
just the major cues, it hits on more the subtle cues, context specific cues and cues that vary from person
to person. This book is meant to be nearly exhaustive of all the body language out there, and meant as a
stand-alone guide to reading people in all facets of life.

Chapter 1 - Why The Study Of Body Language Is Important

You Have Four Minutes!

You’re on the clock, so make it count!
It has been repeatedly shown that the first four minutes are crucial to formulating life-long impressions
of others. The research has shown that the reality of the matter is that it might even be shorter than this.
Once a judgment has been past, people will vigorously resist changing it. In fact, our first impressions
are so strongly held, that we’d prefer to ignore, omit or distort information about someone as it comes
in that doesn’t fit our impressions than to modify our initial impressions of someone. Add to this, the
fact that only some our time formulating impressions is done verbally through speaking, but all of our
time is spent sending signals nonverbally. Our impressions are made passively, regardless of our desire
to create them, so being caught on an off day can really hurt future relationship. If, say, for example, we
are caught in a bad mood, or happen to be dealing with a rare crisis, the judgment others make during
this period will follow us for a very long time. Shy people who take longer to warm up to others know
this all to well and are often reminded of this fact later. As their relationships flourish, friends will tell
them how their initial impressions of them were quite different from the person they have come to
know. Being shy holds their true personalities from sight, and this hurts them in the short term because
the initial impression they make comes across as indifferent and cold.
Knowing that impressions are so important, we can use it to our advantage by placing added emphasis
on initial impressions and concentrate our efforts. Once this time has elapsed, we can either relax back
to our regular selves and allow our newly created reputation to keep us afloat, or maintain out initial
behaviour. The choice will be ours to make. This book will cover the all important job interview and
skills to portray confidence and knowledgeable and how to pack it all into the typical four minute
interview. Fortunately, this book is almost entirely about formulating and maintaining good impression.
So the rule here is to never ignore the power of first impressions. More often than not, first impressions
are the ones that last for an entire relationship and can’t be easily corrected later. I should also emphasis
that what you ‘say’ is often far less important than what you ‘do’. Listening, and using strong body

language will illustrate a much stronger impression then being a good speaker, so always pay more
credence to positive body language.

Chapter 1 - Why The Study Of Body Language Is Important

How Hard Is It To Read People?

Itchy nose or does this mean something else?

Reading people is fairly simple and common sense once the language is learned, but initially there are a
lot of cues to recall so at times it can be confusing. At first it might be difficult just remembering the
cues, let alone pull them to consciousness when applicable, but with time this second language will
seem to flow naturally and in real time. Body language is fluid and happening all the time around us so
we can’t hit pause or rewind in real life to review individual cues. Thankfully, though, we don’t have
to. Even beginners can get the gist of things just by picking up a few cues here and there, however the
full meaning won’t come until the reader can piece together all the cues.

Context and other factors also play a role in deciphering meaning and then there is cluster of cues
where more then one cue happens at the same time and how it is the collection of cues all pointing
toward the same meaning that really gives us predictive power. Some of the cues are also very difficult
to read such as “microexpressions” which is a subset of cues that happen in only fractions of a second.
Other cues such as smiles happen only fleetingly, making it difficult to tell the differences between
honest ones and fake ones.

Important body language isn’t happening all the time either so we should not get too carried away.
Sometimes body movements are to serve a real function such as relieving an itch (if you can believe
that!). However, specific cues, as we will cover throughout this book, will begin to pop out at you as
they occur and it will be exhilarating. Reading body language will open up entirely new channel in
understanding the people around you. You may begin to notice the insecurities in your boss, how he
plays with his tie or cufflinks or how he is particular about his favourite chair or you might notice
power plays between a particularly dominant employee and how she tries to usurp power from those
higher in the ranks. When you begin to notice things you hadn’t before, it will be obvious that I have
accomplished my goal.

Chapter 1 - Why The Study Of Body Language Is Important

What Does It Mean To Read People?

Reading people involves connecting all their signals, both verbal and nonverbal, throwing out the junk
and connecting the rest to create meaning. The full story can only be told when all or most the factors
about your target are connected. Research has shown that it is far easier to get away with a written lie
over one told over the phone. From those facts you might guess that telling a lie in person is the
hardest. Each additional communication channel that is added gives us more clues as to what is really
going on. If we could adding information, such as a person’s heart rate and sweat gland activity which
is the primary channels using in lie detector machines we could be even more accurate. Therefore, just
using one channel, and ignoring others, won’t allow us to do our jobs as accurately as using all the
available channels.

A classic boredom cue cluster, fingers tapping, blank face looking away.

When we say that a person is “perceptive” what we really mean is that they are able to read the
contradictions between what someone is saying and their body language. For example, someone might
fidget, avoid eye contact and touch their nose but still be delivering a true statement. The reason is that,
at times, these conflicting signals come from ambivalence, or outright uncertainty. Other times body
language leaks through fatigue or other anomalous stimuli. The expert body language reader will
intuitively understand the roots of nonverbal signals primarily by examining people through context

and then relate the body language seen to actual meaning. For example, a good body language reader
will properly connect fidgeting, tapping toes, and scratching the side of the nose with being tired,
which is the right conclusion, rather than lying, one that is fabricated, because they will note the right
circumstances surrounding the nonverbal language. To accurately read body language we need to
connect the perception we have of the situation with the body language present, then use context,
coupled with our know history of the person we are reading (i.e. their disposition and habits, or their
“baseline”) to determine what is really going on. Advanced reading of body language is not simple, the
process happens quickly and continuously.

Chapter 1 - Why The Study Of Body Language Is Important

How Fortune Tellers Are Like Hans The Horse

There’s an entire subtext of information just waiting to be read!

Fortune tellers are particularly adept at intuitively reading other people’s body language, even if they
aren’t consciously aware of their talent. In fact, most fortune tellers will probably deny that they use
any body language at all in their predictions. However, after reading this book, follow along with them
and you will see that it’s fairly easy to read along with them, or at least follow their train of thought as
they pull at straws. You can often tell when the person being read gives off certain clues to indicate
(perhaps subconsciously) when they are on the right track. A large part of telling fortunes relies on

people’s natural desires to please others, and in this respect, willing participants are fairly generous.
In the late 1800’s a German based high school teacher Von Osten was studying phrenology which is a
now discredited theory that intelligence, character and personality traits are based on the shapes and
bumps on someone’s head. Van Osten was also interested in the study of animal intelligence and
believed that people had underestimated the reasoning skills of animals. That’s when he began tutoring
a cat, horse and a bear in the ways of mathematics. Predictably, the cat was aloof to his teachings and
the bear was downright hostile, but the stallion named Hans showed promise. With more focused
lessons, Hans was able to learn to use his hoof to tap out numbers written on a blackboard. With
practice, Hans was reliably able to perform this ‘feet’ for any number under ten.

“Unconscious cuing” has been reported in more than just a horse. ‘The Curious Case of Clever Hans’
has lead psychologists and animal communication experts to look for the phenomenon in dogs who
follow their owners’ facial expressions. Photo credit: Public Domain.
Von Osten steeped things up a notch by drawing out basic arithmetic problems such as square roots,
and fractions. To Van Osten’s delight, Hans was able to keep up with the new teachings and proved to
be a very clever horse which helped to maintain Von Osten’s original assertions about animal
intelligence. Happy with his progress, Von Osten began to tour Germany with Hans so that others could
enjoy his talents.
Han’s could answer simple questions such as “What is the square root of sixteen?” by following up
with four taps, “What is the sum of two and three?” with five taps coming from Hans. Hans was also
capable of spelling out words with each tap representing a letter of the alphabet in sequence. Thus, an
“a” would be one tape and a “b” would be two taps. While Hans wasn’t always one hundred percent
accurate he was on par with an average highschooler’s scores, which impressed his crowds.
Naturally, skeptics grew larger and larger. Germany’s board of education then requested an
investigation into Hans’ abilities. Von Osten agreed as he had nothing to hide and knew there was no

fraud to expose. The ‘Hans Commission’ was assembled including zoologists, psychologist, a horse
trainer, several school teachers and a circus manger. After extensive testing, however, they concluded
that there was no trickery involved and that Hans’ responses where genuine.

Having found no trickery the Commission passed the investigation onto Oskar Pfungst, a psychologist.
He had some unique ideas on how to get to the bottom of things. As usual, Hans answered all the
questions posed by Von Osten well under normal conditions but when asked to step further away
however, Hans’s success rate dropped inexplicably. The success rate also dropped to close to zero when
the questioner wasn’t himself aware of the answer. The same result came when the questioner was
hidden from view. Hans’ success therefore, was severely tied to his ability to see the person who knew
the correct answer.

Pfungst continued the research but turned his focus onto the people that were interacting with Hans. He
noticed that there were differences in breathing, posture and facial expressions as Hans tapped out his
answer. As Hans neared to correct answer, the handlers would increase the tension they held in their
body language which would tip off Hans. Once the final tap had been made, the tension suddenly
disappeared from the person and so Hans took this cue to mean it was time to stop tapping.

While Hans was discredited from being able to do math, he was very learned at reading human body
language. It revealed that horses had a keen ability to read non verbal cues perhaps as part of their
social interactions with other horses throughout their evolution. Hans’ ability to read body language
might also help explain why horse whisperers are able to “talk” to horses. Von Osten never fully
accepted this explanation and continued to tour Germany with his show and remained quite successful
even though Hans never really had any comprehension of math.

What fortune tellers do isn’t much different from what Hans’ the horse did. Tellers are able to pick up
on subtle body language clues and navigate these cues throughout a reading. They pick up on small
gestures that indicate they are on the right track which further fuels them and induces the person being
read to loosen up. They also rely on probability statistics to make educated guesses and knowledge of
human nature and psychology. What makes them even more believable is the fact that some aren’t even
consciously aware of their ability to read body language which helps them keep their techniques a
secret. This gives them an advantage in fooling the gullible since it’s much easier to deceive others
when you first have yourself convinced. People being read also have a positive expectation that they
will be read correctly and play into readers more readily often being quite charitable even when their
predictions are only remotely accurate. It would be much harder for a reader to accurately read a
skeptic, but any good teller will avoid reading these people. Fortune tellers have also been accused of
being vague and general which could be accurate for just about anyone. Fortune tellers hit on many
different subjects often contradicting themselves until they hit on information that sticks.

So before you get taken by a fortune teller remember how Hans and his owner where able to amaze so
many. Even after the tests showed that Hans was reading his master’s body language his show
continued to go on for years un-deterred and even grew more in popularity as time passed.

Chapter 1 - Why The Study Of Body Language Is Important

What Is Cold Reading?

Cold reading is a technique fortune tellers use to convince their audience that they know much more
then they really do and that they know it from scratch, no prewritten cue cards here. Rather they read
their cues on the fly such as clothing or fashion, gender, age, race or ethnicity, hairstyle and posture to
draw information about a person, although they never tell the audience as much. The cold readers find
themselves to be psychics, mediums and fortune tellers of the profession.

I’m always struck by those who think that some form of extrasensory perception is happening simply
because readers don’t rely on spoken words to discover ‘truths’ about a person. In this case ‘truths’ is a
bit of a stretch and not totally accurate, ‘leads’ is probably a better word. I suppose, the magic happens
because the audience really is not aware of all the information available to the reader from simple
observation. With a few additional cues derived from religion, place of origin and education, of which
the reader can simply ask, or even the manner in which they speak, a lot can be learned about a person
and quickly. As the cold reader moves forward with generalization and high probabilities guesses, he or
she (usually a she, as women are more perceptive and so make better psychics), they navigate through a
formulaic serious of potent topics before reaching conclusions. They pick up on cues emitted from their
subjects to verify correct pathways and can reinforce certain chance connections and guesses.

Other basic procedures used by readers include techniques such as “shotgunning” allegedly used by
mediums such as Sylvia Browne and John Edward where the reader quickly offers a huge quantity of
general information to an entire audience hoping something will stick. General information used in
reading is called the “rainbow ruse”, where a phrase is advanced that covers a large array of
possibilities. The rainbow ruse might include statements that are not quantifiable or so general that it
can apply to nearly everyone. The ruse can include statements such as “You are most often cooperative
and pleasant, but when someone does you wrong, you are easy to anger and hold a grudge.” Does that
not describe everyone you know?

Chapter 1 - Why The Study Of Body Language Is Important

How And Why The Body Reveals Emotions: The
Brain-Body Interplay

Many theories exist
about the human emotional brain. They range from more inward brain centered origins to more reflex
or environmental oriented origins. That is, one theory says that emotions come from the inside whereas
others say that emotions are created by reacting to what happens in the outside world. Which of the two
is correct? Where do our emotions actually come from? How do these related to our body language?
We cover these next.
Our amygdala is a part of the brain that has been shown to be the core structure of our emotions and it
is closely tied to our body function. The amygdala decodes the information received from our senses
and initiates adaptive behaviours through connections to the motor system (our body). Plenty of
research shows how this area of the brain is particularly adept at reading facial emotions and decoding
them. Other research has identified a structure called the “mirror neuron” found in the brain that
triggers a mirror response and causes us to imitate facial expressions. Mirror neurons work regardless
of our consciously awareness and in so doing induces us to imitate other people’s expressions. This
partially explains why we are negatively affected by people in our company whom persistently scowl
or frown. In the long term, negativity usually grates on us to the extent that we often feel a need to
actively address others who hold these positions, and if that address proves impossible, we resort to
isolating ourselves from them. We do so to protect ourselves from negative and destructive emotions
that can permeate our thoughts. Attitudes exempted, even facial expressions of the people we surround
ourselves with play a big role on how we tend to see the world. The contagion of negative emotions,
thoughts and body language is probably a large player in the recent success of the positive thinking
movement. Here, a reverse tact is used to “think” positive, and so be positive, and promises that
success and riches will follow.
The brain and body are closely linked and it is difficult to “untie” them from one another. Telling a lie
is difficult when holding honest gestures, such as palms exposed, and similarly, it is difficult to have a
negative attitude while dancing spryly. The actions the body performs tends to bleed through into the

mind and create positive or negative feelings. Even laughing, done for no good reason, can put
someone in a good mood because it helps release all sorts of positive hormones.
Body language, for this reason, is very powerful. As we learn the gestures associated with opened and
closed minds, we can create positive changes in ourselves. We can even induce emotional changes in
others through the use of mirroring, as we shall see in a later chapter. Just by uncrossing the arms, or
unfurrowing the brow, can make us not only appear more open and happy, but also make us feel that
way. Smiling, even if one is not in the mood, can be particularly effective because it can set the
framework by which an interaction might take place. So to provide a quick answer to our initial
question, emotions likely have inward and outward forces with varying strengths. With some practice
we can either resist outward stimuli, or adopt them, or can induce inward stimuli and emit them.
Having the ability to spot reasons for bad moods and body language can allow us to replace them with
more positive body language helping us feel happier.

Chapter 1 - Why The Study Of Body Language Is Important

How And Why The Body Reveals Emotions: The
Brain-Body Interplay

Many theories exist
about the human emotional brain. They range from more inward brain centered origins to more reflex
or environmental oriented origins. That is, one theory says that emotions come from the inside whereas
others say that emotions are created by reacting to what happens in the outside world. Which of the two
is correct? Where do our emotions actually come from? How do these related to our body language?
We cover these next.
Our amygdala is a part of the brain that has been shown to be the core structure of our emotions and it
is closely tied to our body function. The amygdala decodes the information received from our senses
and initiates adaptive behaviours through connections to the motor system (our body). Plenty of
research shows how this area of the brain is particularly adept at reading facial emotions and decoding
them. Other research has identified a structure called the “mirror neuron” found in the brain that
triggers a mirror response and causes us to imitate facial expressions. Mirror neurons work regardless

of our consciously awareness and in so doing induces us to imitate other people’s expressions. This
partially explains why we are negatively affected by people in our company whom persistently scowl
or frown. In the long term, negativity usually grates on us to the extent that we often feel a need to
actively address others who hold these positions, and if that address proves impossible, we resort to
isolating ourselves from them. We do so to protect ourselves from negative and destructive emotions
that can permeate our thoughts. Attitudes exempted, even facial expressions of the people we surround
ourselves with play a big role on how we tend to see the world. The contagion of negative emotions,
thoughts and body language is probably a large player in the recent success of the positive thinking
movement. Here, a reverse tact is used to “think” positive, and so be positive, and promises that
success and riches will follow.

The brain and body are closely linked and it is difficult to “untie” them from one another. Telling a lie
is difficult when holding honest gestures, such as palms exposed, and similarly, it is difficult to have a
negative attitude while dancing spryly. The actions the body performs tends to bleed through into the
mind and create positive or negative feelings. Even laughing, done for no good reason, can put
someone in a good mood because it helps release all sorts of positive hormones.

Body language, for this reason, is very powerful. As we learn the gestures associated with opened and
closed minds, we can create positive changes in ourselves. We can even induce emotional changes in
others through the use of mirroring, as we shall see in a later chapter. Just by uncrossing the arms, or
unfurrowing the brow, can make us not only appear more open and happy, but also make us feel that
way. Smiling, even if one is not in the mood, can be particularly effective because it can set the
framework by which an interaction might take place. So to provide a quick answer to our initial
question, emotions likely have inward and outward forces with varying strengths. With some practice
we can either resist outward stimuli, or adopt them, or can induce inward stimuli and emit them.
Having the ability to spot reasons for bad moods and body language can allow us to replace them with
more positive body language helping us feel happier.

Chapter 1 - Why The Study Of Body Language Is Important

How The Lymbic System Affects Body

The limbic system is a set of brain centers including the amygdale, hippocampus, anterior thalamic
nuclei, and limbic cortex. These structures in collection handle emotion, behavior, long term memory
and olfaction or the sense of smell. In 1952 researcher Paul MacLean started using terms to divide the
brain by function and what he thought was their origin. He called collections of the brain the “reptilian
brain” which included the base of the brain and brain stem, the “mammalian brain” or the limbic brain
and the “neocortex” or human brain. Scientists have proposed that the brain has evolved from a
primitive reptilian brain to the more complex neocortex. By examining images of the brain, it become
apparent to scientists that the brain has “stacked” specialized structure upon specialized structure in
what seems like a progress through time. Think of how rocks form through sedimentation over time,
and you have a rough idea of how brains have evolved. By moving inwards from the outer layers of the
brain to the center it has been theorizes that one is moving back in time to the original “primitive”
brain. This is why the center brain is called the reptilian (original, less complex) brain whereas the
neocortex (“neo” meaning new, more complex) which the mammalian brain, is located on the outside.

As it applies to nonverbal behaviour, it is the limbic brain that is responsible because it reacts naturally

to the world around us, and the stimulus it contains. Behaviours produced by the limbic brain, over say
behaviours that are controlled by the neocortex, are a true honest response. In other words, the limbic
brain controls emotional body language so it’s our best gauge to indicate what the body is really
feeling. It is the limbic brain that controls the arms, feet, hands, heads, and torsos when someone is
feeling embarrassed or ashamed, sad, fearful, excited or happy. The limbic brain is hardwired into our
nervous system and goes back in time with us through our evolution.

While our neocortex can at times suppress the limbic brain, it can only do so when it is no occupied
doing other things. The neocortex is in charge of doing complex conscious tasks (like calculus,
engineering, and so forth), so when it is overwhelmed or turned off entirely, the body accidentally leaks
emotional body language for others to read. The neocortex, because it is under conscious control, is the
least reliable and least honest part of the brain. Research shows that the neocortex is the most active
part of the brain during deception which is why it has been called the “lying brain.” Cheats might be
able to control the words they use to describe their thoughts, but they can’t control their visceral
reactions to these words, nor can they control their expressions stemming from this motivation. This is
exactly how and why we can catch liars, read fear, stress, sadness, anger and so on.Chapter 1 - Why
The Study Of Body Language Is Important

Faking Body Language And Microexpressions

Is body language a “learnable skill” and can it therefore be faked? The answer is yes and no. The vast
majority of the more prevalent body language can be learned. For example, keeping your hands out of
your pockets or using the hands expressively to remain honest and open, or keeping the hands away
from the face to come off as more confident as easily learned through conscious thought and repetition.
However, a new area of study reveals that there is a whole new set of cues that are much more difficult
to control, if not impossible.

A furrowed forehead can happen in a split second and reveal negative emotions.

These are called microexpressions or microsignals. These signals can be used to decipher liars from
truth tellers. Microexpressions appear as furrows, smirks, frowns, smiles and wrinkles and can offer an
accurate, though fleeting, window into emotions. These microexpressions are controlled by muscles
such as the fontalis, corregator and risorius and they are provoked by underlying emotions that are
nearly impossible to control consciously. One of these emotions is the fake smile to show appeasement
in lieu of genuine joy or happiness. The fake smile is obvious, as will see later, because the lips are

pulled across the mouth, but the muscles controlling the eyes, play no part.

With specialized computer software, researchers have been able to detect these signals. Computers
were employed because the signals flash across the face in fractions of seconds making it hard for
humans to pick the signals up consciously. Slowing down video on high speed video cameras and
playing it back repeatedly to observers can also be used to detect the expressions. So part of the story is
that microexpressions are difficult to detect and control but the rest of the story tells us that if they exist
(and they do), that we must at some level have evolved the ability to read and detect them. Therefore,
we must be cautious about assuming that just because they happen so fast, that they can’t be picked up
and conversely that we can easily fake our way through the nonverbal channel. It just might be that the
subconscious intuition is hard at work giving us that sixth sense feeling that can’t trust someone despite
not quite being able to put to words. The reason, it seems, is a combination of microexpressions and
our intuition.

Some researchers will tell us that the face is the easiest part of our bodies to control, but this isn’t
entirely true and is a poor excuse for the full story. If our faces were so easily controlled, why have
botox treatments to freeze up our faces with low level toxins in order to erase wrinkles? Why not just
stop using the muscles altogether and therefore avoid suffering from facial wrinkles during the aging
process? The simple answer is that it’s not the simple. While our faces are in fact under a large part
under our control, we can’t always be focused on it, lest we not be able to focus on anything else. Not
the least of which is controlling our speech. Can you imagine what it would be like to construct
sentences free-form while trying to remain expressive but at the same time avoid contracting
“inappropriate” facial muscles (whatever they might be)? When we talk or see, or do, our faces
naturally respond to what is going on around us because they are closely tied to our mind and our
emotions. It is a cause and effect relationship, or even an arms race, and it precisely because the face
provides such a vast amount of information, that we are so tuned into reading it.

Other ways to spot a fake is with regards to incongruent body language. That is, language that is
inconsistent with either, the words being spoken, and the nonverbal language that accompanies it.
Women are particularly adept at reading the whole picture since they are naturally more perceptive, can
usually pick up on the subtleties in others more quickly then men and have been shown by research to
be able to perform multiples tasks at once. To women, something just won’t seem right, their sense will
“tingle.” We call this the “female intuition”, but thankfully, with practice men can develop their skills
just as readily and that is what this book is all about.

Turtling is a limbic response to confrontation. The head sinks, shoulders shrug, and the body takes on a
smaller form to avoid being seen as a threat.

When you think of the limbic brain imagine the autonomic response that happens when we are startled
by a loud bang. Naturally our bodies tense up, our heads duck into our torsos and our hands are pulled
inward while our nervous system puts our heart into high gear through a dose of adrenaline. It is the
same part of the brain that makes the feet fidget or hands shake when excited, or makes our hands
sweat when under pressure. Our limbic brain also goes into hyper-drive when we see a distant relative

after years apart, or when someone wins the lottery or gets a strong hand in poker. No matter what we
do, we can’t stop this from happening. I will add too, that with some practice we can learn to hide, or
minimize even these reptilian behaviours such as clasping the hands together to reduce shaking when
excited, or tucking the legs in behind a chair to lock them in place when someone really wants to flee.
However, even this body language shows the neocortex trying to override the reptilian brain and in so
doing producing yet another stream of body language for us to read. At the scene of an accident we
fully expect to see the limbic system take over producing trembling, nervousness, and discomfort.
What would First Responders be left thinking if they showed up at an “accident” where the caller was
relaxed and calm, yet the victim lay strewn about, dying and bloodied? Naturally, the police would
think something was amiss and would pull the witness aside as a prime suspect for a crime. Therefore,
we should always look for limbic responses and tie them to context so we know when something is not
right. When limbic responses stop, we know that the stimulus for their creation has also stopped, so we
must then find out the reason.

The limbic brain is the part of the brain that controls our root processes. To put this into perspective,
imagine the activities in the repertoire of a lizard. Being cold blooded, he seeks sun when possible to
speed up his metabolism, eats when hungry, drinks when thirsty, either freezes, flees, or fights when
scared, and has sex when horny. He does not do calculus or engineer tall skyscrapers because he does
not have the capacity, but this notwithstanding; he survives, because his limbic mind tells him
everything necessary to do so. In evolutionary terms, so too does our limbic mind. It tells us when to be
scared and what to do about it, be it freeze and reduce movement so as to get under the radar of
assailants, to run and so get our feet pointed in the right direction, to get our hearts pumping to run and
so on. It also controls root emotions – it tells our feet to move and jump with joy, and fidget in
preparation to leave when bored.

Chapter 1 - Why The Study Of Body Language Is Important

The Mirror Neuron

When people “jive,” they are in agreement, and this commonality leads to liking. In this photo we see a
couple mirroring each other by drinking in unison.
The discovery of the mirror neuron happened by accident at the University of Parma in Italy by
researchers Giacomo Rizzolatti and Vittorio Gallese. They were studying the planning and movement
activity in monkey brains and found that a specific set of neurons responded when monkeys grasped a
peanut while other neurons altogether fired when they ate the peanut. When one of the researchers
reached for a peanut to give to the monkey, they observed the monkey’s brain react as if it where the
monkey who was reaching for it. They found that the same regions of the monkey’s brain activated
whether the action was performed by the monkey or if the action was simply observed by the monkey.
The mirror neuron was an important discovery, but one that happened completely by chance.
In follow up studies, the mirror neuron has been directly observed in other primates and even birds.
Researchers conclude that it very likely exists in the minds of humans as well. However, the mirror
neurons in the human brain are much more difficult to study because isolating single neurons is
impossible. In animals, the neuron fires when an animal acts and also when they view another animal
act. Studies show us that the neuron therefore fires as if the motion was actually performed, when in
reality the movement was merely observed. Similarly, brain scans of human’s show that areas of the
brain light up when they view others performing actions. These are the same areas that would light up
had the action been performed. Today, it is generally agreed that there is no such single neuron at work,
but rather a network of neurons working together making the “mirror neuron” a bit of a misnomer.
The origins of the “mirror neuron” might stem from imitative learning. By observing people
performing actions we could pick up skills instead of having to learn the actions all on our own. In
other words, mirroring allowed us to learn vicariously which is a much quicker way to learn and also
less dangerous. Just imagine having to learn to use a sharp knife or chainsaw having never seen one
used, nor what either is capable of doing, either to a tomato or tree trunk. Another possible reason for

these class of neurons might be related to empathy and emotion since the neurons might help us
connect with others. For example, when we view pictures of people who display happiness, disgust,
fear or pain, we react to them as if we had felt it ourselves. This ability to connect with people, even
strangers, has an important function in our daily lives since it allows us to build and hold relationships,
creates sympathy, and inhibit fighting.

Chapter 1 - Why The Study Of Body Language Is Important

The Benefits Of Subconscious Mirroring

If you haven’t yawned yet, you’re active mind is working hard to suppress it!
The more attention we give to an action during observation, the more likely we are to copy the
behaviour. Take traveling abroad, for example, where a constant exposure to accents eventually sees us
adopting it presumably to fit in better. It’s been shown too, that the more we imitate other people, the
more we tend to like them and presumably the more they like us. It works in reverse as well since the
more we like them the more we imitate them. Mirroring and imitation therefore is a salient
characteristic in our nonverbal communication and shows others that we like and are connecting with
In 2000 Swedish researcher Dr. Ulf Dimberg exposed volunteers to frowning, smiling and
expressionless faces. They were then told to react to them in various ways. When they saw a smiling
face, they were sometimes asked to smile back and other times to frown back. The researchers found
that it was difficult for the subjects to remain expressionless to a face that appeared happy or angry and
even more difficult to smile at sad faces or make sad faces at laughing faces. The theory was advanced
that our unconscious minds exerts much more control over our faces then we think. While it was
somewhat possible to control the subject’s reactions, it required a great deal of mental power to reverse
their natural tendencies. The study showed that even when we could control our emotions, minute
spontaneous twitches still revealed true responses, and in every case, mirroring was the natural


The research on the reasoning behind the mirror reflex remains obscure for the moment, but this
doesn’t mean we should ignore it. In fact, we should be very careful about our facial expressions and
gestures since they will necessarily have a profound effect on others. Our expressions and body
gestures illicit similar responses from others, so if we want to make people happy, we should smile
more and use more expressive body language. In turn, others around us will naturally mimic our

Chapter 1 - Why The Study Of Body Language Is Important

Virtual Body Language

The original emoticon for happiness. It’s called a SMILE!
Dr. Yee and his colleagues conducted research out of Stanford University in 2007 into the online

gaming industry. He revealed some interesting findings as they apply to massive role playing games
such as “Second Life.” In these games, users create personalized characters and interact with other
players in a rule-free environment. Characters are free to interact as they please, have houses,
automobiles, jobs and attend social gatherings. There are no set parameters to these interactive games
yet Dr. Yee found that users still followed set non-verbal rules. That is, male characters tended to hold
larger distances between other males and females tended to hold less distance between themselves and
other females. Male characters also maintained less eye contact with other males whereas females did
not. His research also draws attention to other social norms such as avoiding interactions with more
eccentric characters. In one case, it was a naked character in a city park setting.

It seems therefore that non-verbal body language norms are so engrained in us through our culture and
genetics that we bring these into environments that aren’t even real showing that body language is
potent and ubiquitous!

Chapter 1 - Why The Study Of Body Language Is Important

The Types Of People You Will Read – Introverts
Vs. Extroverts

There are essentially two types of personalities that exist in the world around us. They are introverted
and extroverted each type have a subset called “OK” and “Not OK” (which is discussed next).
Introverted describes a personality that is inward thinking, they recover from life by being with
themselves and reflecting. The will normally enjoy nature or a good book, prefer quiet areas where not
a lot of people distract them. These people will often be found alone and prefer jobs that don’t involve
a lot of people and that they can do independently. Being introverted doesn’t mean that a person is
antisocial and it’s not a personality deficiency, it only means that someone is more comfortable being
alone with their own thoughts than being in the spotlight. Extroverted people are the very opposite.
They find social situations necessary and stimulating and “recharge” by hanging out with friends or
going out. The like being in busy places like malls or city cores, in acting outwardly and garnering
attention through telling jokes or acting funny.

Physiologists now believe that there is an actual physical difference between the nervous system of
introverts and extroverts. Introverts are more easily stimulated by social interactions and quickly
become oversaturated to the point where they become agitated and feel a need to withdraw. Extroverts
can’t find enough stimulation and constantly need to find people to be around, and socialize with, and
use social contact to feel satisfied. How you use your time most often will tell you which of the two
personality types you are. With every classification, there are variants however, and people can be a
mix of the two or can fall in at the extremities.

The body language of introverts in public places will be rigid; they will zone out more quickly or find
quiet places and park themselves. They are at ease being alone even when at parties and might even
take breaks away from the noise to ‘chill out’. They’ll spend more time at home and less time in
nightclubs. The nonverbal language of the introvert will show more closed body positions. Their
shoulders will pull in, they will orient their bodies away from others, they might be less animated and
they will often be the first to stop speaking and resort to listening or observing others instead. They
might even keep their distance more frequently, be soft spoken, initiate touch on others less and avoid
eye contact. Extroverts are the opposite and tend to spontaneously turn toward people, they will start up
conversations with random people, they will touch more in conversation and talk more frequently to

keep the conversation going. They’ll use more gestures in speech in attempts to draw attention to
themselves and generally take up more space. They will also tend to move about a room more and
jump from person to person trying to get as much stimulation from others as possible. A quick test to
verify extroversion from introversion is to watch how people break gaze. Generally speaking an
introvert will break their gaze by looking to the right whereas extroverts will break their gaze to the
left. This fact alone suggests that the differences we see between these two personality types has less to
do with environment and more to do with how the brains are hardwired.

To work productively with the introverted, formulate groups as small as possible. For the introverted
one on one represents the best scenario. Set up meetings in quiet areas with little distraction. Maintain
as much space as possible, talk quietly, reduce eye contact, use touch infrequently or not at all. To work
with the extroverted do the exact opposite. Talk louder with more expressions, touch frequently, be
dynamic, move in closer, and give plenty of eye contact. Extreme extroverts and extreme introverts will
be happiest at the end of their respective spectrum.

Chapter 1 - Why The Study Of Body Language Is Important

OK vs. Not Ok Personality Traits

Dr. Eric Berne, the founder of the psychological school of Transactional Analysis (abbreviated TA)
coined the terms “OK” and “Not OK” to describe two essential types of people. The “OK” types are
secure and confident in who they are and carry little emotional “baggage” whereas the “Not OK” types
are insecure about themselves and often feel inferior. Dr. Berne also helped to define certain terms that
were important in studying social interaction. When two people meet eventually one of the persons will
acknowledge the presence of the other person. He called this the “transactional stimulus” where a
“transaction” refers to a conversation between people. When people interact to each other, they talk or
express nonverbal body communication, they issue a “transactional response”. Those that are
(obsessively) interested in social dynamics often begin to think of interactions down to the unit. These
definitions, however, are merely presented for interest sake, since for our purpose they aren’t terribly

Berne’s approach was much different from that of Freud who though perhaps too simplistically, that he
could learn everything about someone just by asking them, and then listening to their response. Berne
felt that therapists could learn more about people by watching their body language and facial
expressions instead of words by themselves.

Eric Berne published a very popular and interesting book called Games People Play in 1964. To date it
has sold over five million copies. The book describes the function and dysfunction that happens in
human interactions. Without getting into too much detail, let’s look at one example of a game.

The example I wanted to bring forward makes light of how we control our interactions with people by
the tone and words we choose. As a boss, if we attack an employee by taking up a controlling
“parental” role we will normally elicit a childish tantrum in return. The real way to deal with adult
situations is to attack them from a constructive integrity based position where we act like “adults”.
Adult actions normally yield adult responses, but as we see in Berne’s book, not everyone uses the best
framework to work through life. As he sees it, some people get stuck between three ego states, the
“Parent”, “Child” and “Adult”. Berne outlines well over ninety games that people play, some good, but
mostly bad. He defines games as social interactions that are counterproductive. Today, there are few
ardent followers that use the TA approach in any rigid way, even the ego states have been scrutinized,
however, the principles of the method do help us look at how we run our lives and the ways we hold

ourselves back through games we play with ourselves and others. He also ran a results-based
framework which was new to psychiatry at the time and says that if it’s not working for you and you
aren’t getting the results you want, change it!

Chapter 1 - Why The Study Of Body Language Is Important

Using Body Language To Get The Results You

A confident posture includes having the shoulders back and upright, head up and level and a well
balances body. Confident people move freely without hesitation, make appropriate gestures, and hold
smiles often. People that lack confidence will walk with a hunched back, they will be careless with
their arm gestures, will sulk and frown, and their head will droop. They often appear sad or tired and
the frown lines in their face will depend with time producing permanent wrinkles. Often they aren’t
much fun to be around and seem to be taking every chance to drag you others around them down.
However, far from acting consciously, people who lack confidence are acting out of habit and routine.

Subconscious facial expressions can make people think you don’t like them which might be opposite to
what you intend. In this case, we see ‘scorn.’

Part of the power behind body language stems from its direct connection to someone’s overall
disposition, how life has treated them, and also how they treat life in return. Since all people face
challenges confident body language tells others if a person actively takes control of their life or lets life
push them around.

If you meet a “Not OK” person you will subconsciously feel uneasy or suspicious. Sometimes people
put on a good temporary show but within a few minutes their bodies relax only to revert back to their
natural dispositions. We instinctively know this and read it, but don’t always bring it to our active
consciousness to process it. Have you ever asked others what your body language portrays? Do you
hold certain gestures that make you look unapproachable or negative?

One of my wife’s friends consistently receives negative comments about her scowls despite being an
extremely kind hearted person. However her natural face appears ‘bitchy’, so much so that it’s her
defining feature and one that is joked about by those that really know her. This example raises an
important point. Our bodies leak information without our consent and when we aren’t receiving the
results we want, we should do something proactive about it. From an outside perspective, people think
that her face really shows inner turmoil and then discount her kindheartedness even on a first
impression. It is her facial expressions that set the tone with others, even before she has the chance to
speak. She then must work extra diligently to reverse the first impression she creates. People naturally
perceive those that hold negative facial expressions and body language to be holding a grudge. This
story outlines the importance of monitoring our gestures and facial expressions to convey the types of
feelings we wish to show the world and achieve the results we desire. Thus, while I don’t know this
person well enough to explain this trait to her without offending her, others have, but with only
mediocre results. At least now she is aware of what impression she makes, so she can resolve matters
more quickly if she senses negativity from others. With just a modest change she could reap immense

The point here is that if you hold negative body language, it’s not yet too late to fix things so hold your
head up high and watch people around you begin to treat you better. Sit more upright, swing your arms,
smile more and despite inner feelings, start acting happy. Body language is a great way to ‘fake it until
you make it’. Holding confident body language makes us feel confident so let’s use our bodies to
change the patterns in our brains.

Chapter 1 - Why The Study Of Body Language Is Important

Why We Should Picture People Naked!

How does this posture appear fully nude?
My final thought in this opening chapter should keep your imagination in full gear because I am about

to recommend that you do something naughty to become more proficient at reading body language. I’m
instructing you to picture your body language subjects as if they were totally nude! Body language cues
came about over our evolutionary history, so it naturally follows that they developed without clothing
or coverings. Imagine, for example, a full body steeple where the arms are placed behind the head and
the body leans back with the legs spread wide open – a crotch display! It is the way a proud (or
arrogant) man sits to put his full package on display. True, it is slightly less offensive with clothing on,
but it still carries the exact same meaning since its true intentions were delivered as if the clothing were
absent. Picturing people naked helps us to think about not just the message, but also the route behind
the message. Men who hold their legs spread wide open are perceived as arrogant but women who hold
the exact same posture will be thought of as sexually open or “easy.” While each party might not
specifically intend to deliver this message, it matters little to how others subconsciously perceive them.

What is her body saying with it’s “openness.”
Arrogance and sexual openness are not the only gestures that are made more salient by picturing people
naked but they are the most dramatic. We can also picture meek gestures in the same way. Women that
place their hands over their laps are doing so for just the opposite reason as do women who spread their
legs, they do so to hide or protect their genitals for view or from access. The same intention is obvious
when women fold their arms over their chest. They are trying to hide and protect their breasts since
someone or something has made them withdraw and has made them insecure. Naturally, their arms
fold, one over the other, and they hide from view something important to them. There will be times
though, when protection isn’t the reason, arm crossing due to being cold is one of them. We will
discuss the importance of context in this regard in more detail later. There are other times still, when
women put themselves on full display. Women do so by walking with their hips forward and chest
back. This is called the parade and her intension is to have men and subordinate women take notice. If
you have trouble visualizing this, put it in the context of the local nightclub. Suddenly you see that it
follows naturally, and next time at a bar, you might actually notice it in an authentic context.
While we are on the subject of nudity, think about how and where we hold our possessions. A handbag
can be held to our sides, but equally, it can be placed on our laps or held to our chest. Handbags
therefore, can have a protective shielding purpose, as do other objects in our environment and some
women will even admit this as fact by tell you that they feel naked without one! Desks can be used as

barricades to block ourselves from view and chairs with backs can be used in full on assault by turning
them backwards and straddling them, putting the “boys” or “girls”, on full display. Then from the
security of our seated position we can toss verbal arrows and spears. People who sit in this way are
obviously aware of being fully clothed and most certainly wouldn’t sit this way while naked, but that’s
not the point. The point is that people continue to sit this way despite holding the evolutionary
hardwiring telling them that the way they are sitting is offensive. Someone that is defensive, on the
other hand, will use desks, walls, doors, or other barriers to protect and hide themselves rather than
flaunt. You can think of shields such as handbags or jackets like towels, objects that we use fresh out of
the shower to block our private areas from view and appropriately conceal our modesty. An excellent
example of a real life “towel” and one that is very commonly used during presentations is the podium.
Most would say that it is a great place to store our notes and an area to place the microphone, and
nothing more, but in reality it’s a place of refuge that public speakers us to escape full view of the
crowd. Only the most confident speakers who are accustomed to being exposed in front of large
audiences will move about a stage for everyone to see.

So in summary, do as any amateur public speaker is recommended to do, when in doubt, and to make
the points expressed in this book more salient, picture your targets naked!

Chapter 1 - Why The Study Of Body Language Is Important

Summary – Chapter 1

In this opening chapter we have looked at some body language primers. Hopefully you have grabbed a
hold of the frame of mind necessary to read body language. Not all reading comes naturally, but then
again, reading people is not as difficult as it can be made out to be. We have looked at how to use this
book; as not only a guide, but as a tool, an encyclopedia. It might not flow exactly in your ideal, but of
which, can be used in varying sequences and be revisited from time to time as a refresher. In fact, this
book should be revisited again and again. You will be surprised just how much you pick up the second
and third time around!

We have learned that it is the first four minutes that often dictate life-long impression we have with
others, how fortune tellers are like horses, how to read someone cold, how the mind mirrors through its
neurons and the body and brain are linked, the vital importance of the limbic systems and how it is
paramount in creating honest body language, and what it really means to read people. We also covered
the difference between “OK” types and “Not OK” types as well as introverted versus extroverted, and
how this can affect body language. From there it became more obvious to understand how to get the
desired results with our new tools and how it can be difficult to fake body language due to
microexpressions. Finally, we advanced a ‘fail safe’ technique which implied that looking at people as
if they were nude can tell us a lot about body language and helps make reading a more common sense

Chapter 2 – The Basics Of Understanding Body Language

Introduction – Chapter 2

Mastery of anything begins by first learning the basics, and body language is no different. A solid
structure can not be built without first forming and pouring a solid foundation. This chapter is aimed at
accomplishing just that, as we tackle the basic, but very important rules of body language. It might
seem as though reading body language is as easy and simple as just reading cues and postures, but it
isn’t. At times it can be downright confusing, although the aim here is to simplify the language by
breaking it apart then reassembling it, but not until the cues are first put through a strong filter. One of
the filters we use is based on the five cardinal rules of body language which says that we need to use
the rule of four. This rule tells us that we need at least four related cues to form a conclusion. We also
need the cues to ‘jive’ called congruence, they must be taken in context, fit along some baseline of
behaviour and finally must not be filter through a bias, meaning that they must be true rather than
created fictitiously for an ulterior purpose. We will examine the five cardinal rules in detail in the pages
to follow.

Just like regular spoken language or written language, silent speech or nonverbal communication also
has what is called flow. Body language has rhythm, syntax and all the other nuances associated with
general communication and ignoring this flow is akin to throwing away valuable information. We will
also see that body language is much more reliable than spoken words because people generally pay
little attention to it, and because of this, people will monitor it less readily allowing it to appear
naturally and untainted. We will see that when body language and spoken language contradict one
another, we should rely more heavily on what is happening non-verbally.

We will also cover the differences in body language reading ability between men and women, how age
can influences reading, which may or may not be surprising and how leaders or alpha members of our
society call the shots even when it comes to body language. We will touch a bit on good posture, how
best to use touching, and how body language relieves pent up energy and displaces it. Finally we will
touch briefly on the meaning of fashion and how it plays into nonverbal communication.

Chapter 2 – The Basics Of Understanding Body Language

The Five Cardinal Rules Of Body Language

Is she cold, or angry?
Single gestures by themselves can not reveal the true meaning of the situation. There are many more
factors that play into reading people then just identifying single cues. When people move, they are fluid
and changing, so too are their moods and context. One must use the full picture to discover the story.
The ‘rule of four’, congruency, context, baselining, and intuition are the five cardinal rules that any
body language master must abide by and we cover them next.

Chapter 2 – The Basics Of Understanding Body Language

The Rule Of Four

Are there enough cues to justify a conclusion in this case?
The rule of four, and it’s an important one, says that you can’t attach meaning to a single gesture and

accurately judge a person. The rule of four calls on us to read cues alongside other cues commonly
referred to as “cue clusters” before drawing conclusions. The more cues that appear in association with
other cues, the more accurate one can be about the underlying meaning. It isn’t impossible to see cue
clusters in the six’s and sevens or higher. However, most agree that four independent signals is enough
to positively identify true meaning.

Sitting with arms tightly pressed against the chest can mean that a person is uncomfortable, but it can
also mean that a person is cold! Scratching the nose or face can mean that a person is lying or it could
actually have an obvious purpose; to alleviate an itch! However, touching the nose, wiping the mouth
in a down-stroke, avoiding eye contact and fidgeting tells us that something dishonest is probably going
on. Another example of a cue cluster is as follows: crossing the legs by bringing one foot over the
opposite leg (the figure-four leg cross), fingers interlinked together (steepling), leaning back in the
chair, and tilting the head back and looking down through the nose at others. This cluster shows
arrogance and superiority. However, just the figure four, which is a mild crotch display on its own,
means very little. The figure-four-leg-cross only tells us that the crotch has been put on display, but
does not necessarily attach meaning to the gesture and indicate arrogance. To some, this posture might
not even mean that, it just may be a comfortable way for them to sit.

In all cases, gestures are just gestures and nothing more. It is our targets, the creators, who, knowingly
or accidentally, attach meaning or emotions to gestures; it is the senders who are in charge of the
delivery phase, and we, as readers, who are in charge of the deciphering phase of the transaction. In
other words, it is the sender who is responsible for the message and the meaning entirely, the reader is a
passive entity that should never project meaning, especially from that which is not present. That’s not
to say that a reader would try to create emotions inaccurately, as this would be counterproductive, but
rather that it would be a mistake to bring a gestures to the consciousness of a target and then try to
persuade them that their intentions are different from that which is actually true. In many cases,
however, you may find that targets won’t be aware of their true emotions anyway and will generally be
uncomfortable to be made aware of their subconscious gestures, so reads are best kept to one’s self.
Just like you wouldn’t show your cards in poker game, you shouldn’t actively show off your body
language skills. Reads, and the skills in this book, are much more powerful if kept a secret.

Not all body movement has hidden meaning either. Sometimes our bodies are quiet and do no talking at
all. It is normal for novice readers of body language to immediately begin to see body language cues
creep into consciousness, but it’s a mistake to assume that all gestures suddenly have hidden meaning
and get carried away with reckless diagnosis.

Let’s take another cue cluster: arms crossed tightly over the chest, legs crossed, head down and
shoulders pulled inward. Our conclusion here is that our target is uncomfortable and is closing off the
outside world. As signals are removed from this cluster we can be less certain of their emotional
origins. Legs crossed with head down can mean just about anything, but even if we add in shoulders
pulled inward, it does not provide solid evidence of anything underlying. What we really need here is
the fourth, the arms pulled in tight against the body, to really give us enough information to justify a
conclusion. The other cues by themselves are closed body postures, but they can be due to other
factors. Leg crossing can sometimes even demonstrate interest, as is the case when they are crossed
toward a girlfriend or boyfriend (rather then away) for example. The rule-of-four says that we need a
“preponderance of evidence”, a term borrowed from the civil judiciary system. We have preponderance
of evidence, not when we have achieved absolute unquestionable or irrefutable data, but instead,
happens when we have superior weight in our favour and in this case, four independent cues is plenty
of weight.

This doesn’t mean that it’s impossible, or that we shouldn’t read people who only exhibit one or two
cues. Reason being that the damage that might occur from an inaccurate read is likely very small so

long as we keep it internalized. We can still make educated guesses or employ “working hypothesis”
that can change with additional information as it is collected. One or two cues is sometimes all we get.
Older people, who naturally have more controlled and subtle affect, and people learned at controlling
their body language, such as public figures, only emit very subtle, fleeting or few nonverbal cues. In
this subset of very controlled and practiced people, we often only see cues that are accidentally leaked,
which in and of themselves are important, perhaps even more so then complete cue clusters in regular
people. The caution here is to avoid premature conclusions on weak data especially when the stakes are
high and that sometimes a gesture isn’t anything more than a gesture.

Chapter 2 – The Basics Of Understanding Body Language


Honest hands – palms up, but what happens next?

Hands return to pockets indicate dishonesty and is incongruent with the intended meaning.

The word congruence, as it relates to body language, refers to the degree to which body language cues
in a person matches one another in terms of their meaning. If, for example, one is speaking honestly
with the palms up (an honest gesture) we can say that the body language and verbal language are
congruent. That is, honest words match up with honest body language. A child with their hands in their
pockets (dishonest gesture) speaking about how they didn’t steal a cookie is incongruent since their
body language does not match their verbal language.

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