Gut Rumbles
 

December 02, 2003

body language

I took a lot of training classes at work designed to teach me to read body language. You know, that's how you tell a person's attitude and how well they are receiving whatever message you attempt to send.

The "gimmies" are the arms crossed on the chest. That person is erecting a barrier and does not trust you. A person who crosses his/her legs when you ask a question is hiding something. If you wish to encourage trust, then hold your arms away from your body and show the person you're speaking with your open palms.

That stuff is all well and good, and I believe that a lot of it works. But I talk a lot with my hands. I'm not certain how I fit into that body-language picture.
Someone once told me that if I had my hands tied behind my back I would be mute. I agreed.

Look at some of the pictures from the blog-meet. You will seldom see me in ANY of the pictures where I'm talking without making hand-gestures at the same time. I wave my hands. I point a finger. I show my open palm.

I don't know why I do that, but I'm not going to deny the fact. If my mouth starts to run, my hands have to move to illustrate what I'm saying. I believe that my brain insists that my hands are part of the verbal message. I do it without thinking about it.

That's instinctive body language.

Comments

Congratulations, Acidman.

You instinctively understand that the spoken language is immensely different that the written language.

We instinctively but subconsciously know that how we express ourselves verbally means we use inflection, voice tone and gestures to communicate whenever possible.

When humans write, we think carefully about what we are saying and use other conventions to express emphasis and emotion. Well, at least the intelligent among us do so. It can be punctuation, italics, strike-through, etc. Much thought goes into writing, and it takes longer to get it down in writing. But while you are talking, the creative part of your brain is working the rest of your body, your facial expressions, your gestures to simultaneously coincide with your words.

There is an interesting mental illness called aphasia. It is a mental disconnect that occurs in a tiny percentage of people. There are two versions of the condition. In the most common, the "patient" focuses on the manner and emotion of the speaker, relative to the words they are speaking. If the emotion of delivery does not coincide with the words being spoken, the aphasia patient typically responds with laughter. In other words, they recognize it as a joke. The other form of aphasia is someone who cannot recognize any inflection or tone or emotion tied to the speakers words and thusly concentrates on the exact meaning and logicality of the words.
In either case, researchers have been amazed by studying such patients while watching politicians speaking. With the former group the reaction is typically hysterical laughter, with the former it is anger, because nothing makes sense.

Posted by: Commander Will on December 3, 2003 01:07 AM

I was told once not to be so closed to an idea. I had no idea why they thought I was against the idea - I was all for it.

Then the person told me that my crossed arms signified that I was not open to what they had to say. Hmph, I had quit smoking and was keeping my hands occupied.

Don't assume what you see signifies what is taught - especially if you don't know the person!

Posted by: bogie on December 3, 2003 01:36 AM

I always thought the crossed legs meant they desparately wanted to take a piss and were just waiting for me to shut up but were too polite to say so. :-)

Posted by: Jonathan on December 3, 2003 07:58 AM

I still say 99% of psychology (in which category I think body language falls) is bullshit........my personal corollary to the famous s f writer's (name escapes me at the moment) dictum that 90% of everything is crap.

Posted by: Larry on December 3, 2003 09:21 AM

Larry,

The writer was Theodore Sturgeon, It's called Sturgeons Law.

Posted by: Mythilt on December 3, 2003 09:34 AM

Interestingly, it appears that Sturgeon tended to refer to this as 'Sturgeon's Revelation', and "Nothing is always absolutely so." as Sturgeon's Law.

http://catb.org/~esr/jargon/html/S/Sturgeons-Law.html

Posted by: Mythilt on December 3, 2003 09:36 AM

Heyyyyyyy, thanks, MYTHILT!! 20 or more names, none of them T S, ran through my lil pea brain.

Posted by: Larry on December 3, 2003 02:10 PM

Boy, talk about stupid bullshit.

Sturgeon's Law?

There was a time when, in the field of science, it was understood that something was a "law" because it was immutable. In other words, it ALWAYS applied.

Perhaps you've heard of the 2nd law of Thermodynamics, or gravity. Sturgeon doesn't know law from his own arse.

Posted by: Commander Will on December 3, 2003 03:52 PM

As a guitar player, I'm always fascinated by lead guitarists who "talk" while ripping a riff. John Hartford was a real talker while playing, even his violin would get all kinds of love whispers from him while he was sawing away.

It seems there's an opposite connect that if the hands are going, then the mouth has to, too. So, Acidhead, are you a talker, too?

Posted by: Joan of Argghh! on December 3, 2003 04:27 PM

Will: Your point? Are you proposing a counter-thesis saying 90% of everything is NOT crap?

Posted by: Larry on December 4, 2003 08:14 AM

Just read what I said. For pete's sake, can you not comprehend my simple post.?

I said what I said.

Would you like to deal with one scientific item at a time? Otherwise. quit waisting my time.

Posted by: Commander Will on December 4, 2003 02:09 PM

Geeze, Will, who pissed in your pablum?

I'm not familiar with Sturgeon's "law'. The "revelation" is provable. If you ponder a bit, you'll see a sense of humor is required.

PS: I think you meant wasting v waisting.

Posted by: Larry on December 4, 2003 02:48 PM

yea , next time ya hit somebody who uses a book like I'm OK, You're OK as a bible- just put your hands together (fingertips only) in a prayer position and smile at them- it hursts to be proud and fucks up there signals. damn game players.

Posted by: Mike on December 5, 2003 02:12 PM

Hi...Im just surfed in and want to say hello!
Regards George


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