17 Tricks That Can Help You Understand Someone's Body Language. | WMA 富道学院

17 Tricks That Can Help You Understand Someone’s Body Language.


A person’s body language can reveal a lot about what they’re thinking and feeling but reading other people’s body language is tricky business.

Below, I’ve rounded up 17 scientific insights into the significance of body language, pulled from research journals, psychology experts and a few awesome books:


1. A ‘Cluster’ Of Gesture,  Shows A Real Feeling Of Connection.

Photo Credit: Philippe Put/Flickr

Attraction isn’t communicated through one signal but a sequence. Neuropsychologist Marsha Lucas suggests one to watch for: “after making eye contact, she looks down a bit, gathers or otherwise preens her hair, and then looks up at you while her chin is tipped.”

2. Looking Into Your Eyes For Too Long, He or She Might Be Lying.


According to a behavioral analyst and body language expert, in an attempt to avoid looking shifty-eyed, some liars will purposefully hold their gaze a touch too long, so that it’s slightly uncomfortable. They may also stand very still and not blink.

3. Lack of Crinkles Around The Eyes, Suggests A Potential Fake Smile.

Faking a smile is  what scientists call a Duchenne smile.A recent  study by Northeastern University researchers, found that people could do a pretty good job of faking a Duchenne smile, even when they weren’t feeling especially happy.

It seems safe to say that if the crinkles aren’t there, the person’s probably not genuinely happy. But just because the crinkles are there doesn’t necessarily mean they’re elated.

4. Open Palms, An Ancient Display Of Honesty.

When someone swears to tell the truth in a court of law, they put one hand on a religious text and raise their other hand into the air, palm facing whoever they’re speaking to.

That’s because, an open palm has been associated with truth, honesty, allegiance, and submission throughout Western history.

5. Raised Eyebrows, A Sign Of Discomfort.

In the same way that real smiles shape the wrinkles around your eyes, University of Massachusetts professor Susan Krauss Whitbourne writes on Psychology Today that worry, surprise, or fear can cause people to raise their eyebrows in discomfort. So if someone compliments your new hairstyle or outfit with their eyebrows raised, it may not be sincere.

6. Pointed Finger, Displaying of Dominance.

Photo Credit: Thomson Reuters

If someone is closing their palm and pointing with their index finger, then they’re trying to display dominance, though it doesn’t always work out. Subconsciously, it evokes negative feelings in others because it precedes a right overarm blow, a primal move most primates use in a physical attack.

7. If  Someone Copy Your Body Language, The Conversation Is Probably Going Well.

When two people are getting along, their postures and movements mirror each other’s.

When your best friend crosses her legs, you will, too. If you’re on a date that’s going well, you’ll both be making the same goofy hand gestures.

8. The shoulder Shrug, An Universal Signal Of Not Knowing What’s Going On.

According to Barbara Pease and Allan Pease, authors of The Definitive Book of Body Language, shoulder shrug Is a multiple gesture that has three main parts.

Exposed palms to show nothing is being concealed in the hands, hunched shoulders to protect the throat from attack, and raised brow, is submissive greeting.

9. Crossed Legs, Sign Of Resistance and Low Receptivity, And Are A Bad Sign In A Negotiation.

Based on a survey by Gerard I. Nierenberg and Henry H. Caleroout, out of 2,000 negotiations there wasn’t a single settlement when one of the negotiators had their legs crossed.

Psychologically, crossed legs signal that a person is mentally, emotionally, and physically closed off which may mean they’re less likely to budge in a negotiation.

10. A Clenched Jaw, Tightened Neck, Or Furrowed Brow, Shows Stress!

All these are limbic responses associated with the limbic system in the brain. Emotion, spotting and reacting to threats, as well as assuring our survival, are all heavy responsibilities of the limbic system, writes former FBI counterintelligence agent Joe Navarro.

11. Eye Contact Shows Sexual Interest, Both Positive And Negative.

When you look someone in the eyes, it sets an arousal state in the body.  How that arousal is interpreted, however, depends on the parties involved and the circumstances,

For example, being stared at by a stranger who appears large or ominous can be seen as a threat and elicit a fear response

Whereas, the gaze of a potential sexual partner causes arousal that can be interpreted positively  as a sexual invitation.

12. If Someone Repeatedly Touch Their Face Or hands, They’re Probably Nervous.

Photo Credit: Flickr/Courtney Carmody

Some of the most common manifestations of our anxiety is touching your face and rubbing the skin on your hands. Both can be soothing behaviors when you’re feeling uncomfortable.

13. If Someone Is Laughing With You, They’re Probably Into You.

If someone is receptive to your humor, they’re likely interested in you.

Evolutionary psychologists say that humor and positive reception to humor  play a pivotal role in human development. They serve as a way of signaling a desire for a relationship, be it platonic or romantic.

14. A Shaking Leg Signals A Shaky Inner State.

“Your legs are the largest area of your body,” University of Massachusetts professor Susan Whitbourne says, “so when they move, it’s pretty hard for others not to notice.”

A shaky leg signals anxiety, irritation, or both, she says.

15. A Slight Smile Along With Direct Eye Contact Is An Attempt At Seduction.

Illusive Photography/Flickr

Riggio’s research suggests that there’s a specific type of smile people display when they’re trying to act seductive. Interestingly, the seductive smile could be accompanied by submissive behavior tilting the head downward, or dominant behavior – proudly and slowly glancing away.

16. An Expansive Pose Signals Power And A Sense Of Achievement.

How people hold themselves is a big clue to how they’re feeling. If someone’s leaning back and relaxed, they probably feel powerful and in control.

In fact, research has found that even people born blind raise their arms in a V shape when they win a physical competition.

17. If One Side Of Their Face Is More Active Than The Other side, They Are Faking The Emotion.

The vast majority of facial displays of emotion are bilateral – that is, they show up on both sides of the face equally. So, next time you tell a joke, look to see if his/her smile is symmetrical when he/she laughs.