Human Body Language Essay

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Human Body Language

When we think of human communication, what examples spring to mind? The internet? Books? The spoken word? Of all our forms of communication, one of most often forgotten (and least understood) is probably the humble art of body language: The indications we give off - generally unconsciously - by means of our posture, our gestures, our facial expressions, and even our clothes. It performs a different function to verbal language - verbal language is for communicating abstract ideas or facts. But for communicating the feelings of a person, few forms are as effective as body language.

You're talking to your teacher - the class ask for a day off homework. The teacher listens
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That is maybe a slightly unreasonable generalisation, but there is certainly no doubting the indelible effect that these first impressions have on us.

This goes back to basic instinct; a hangover from our animal ancestry. In the animal kingdom, there is obviously no verbal communication, and so we have grown quite adept at recognising indications given off by the body. Plenty of animals manage very sophisticated hierarchies. These are established purely by communication through bodily indications. Anyone with two or more dogs, especially, will be very aware of this. As humans, we retain this instinct, but it now takes second place to language, relegated to the realm of the subconscious mind.

Body language has still had a considerable influence on our verbal language, however. Our verbal communication is littered with it - which are possibly easier to relate to. 'Shifty eyes', 'gut feeling', 'bite your lip', 'pushy' and 'get a grip' are fairly common examples. We can understand their meaning immediately, without need for explanation.

It's often questioned just how instinctive body language is. Some obvious expressions - the smile or frown - most definitely are, and have even been discerned on babies in the womb. On the other hand, gestures often used as part of body

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