Nonverbal Communication and Body Language

It has been concluded by scientists that between 60-70% (some even suggest 90%) of our communicaiton is NONVERBAL, and is derived from BODY LANGUAGE and PARALINGUISTIC cues.


BODY LANGUAGE= posture, gestures, facial expressions, eye movement, proxemics (personal space)

PARALINGUISTIC CUES= pitch, volume, intonation

Nonverbal Communication is a language of sorts, and because it gives clues as to the state of mind of the person (the communicator), study of body language leads right into our next unit on EMOTION AS A WAY OF KNOWING.

Here is a Wikipedia overview:

We know there are cultural differences and even gender differences in the use of body language, but did you know that Charles Darwin described “Universal” facial expressions in his The Expression of the Emotions of Man and Animals (1872)? ***which outsold Origin of the Species!

VIDEO: Gestures around the World

VIDEO: The Human Animal: Gestures, Meanings, and Cultures

Link: List of Gestures from Around the World (yes, some viewer discretion advised)

Here’s a great link to explore what he was talking about:

and a YouTube: 

Picking up on body language symbols, and being aware of the ones you put out, is an important and useful life skill. You will probably need it most when interviewing for a job or other position, meeting new people, and, of course, flirting and dating.

More on that here:

Here’s a great video about “tells” in flirting.

Our good friend Charlie at the BBC again explores the Science of Attraction. How does our NONVERBAL communication play a role in our first impressions of others. Watch carefully for the cues or “tells”.

More useful links:

Psych Today article: Body language links

VIDEO: Gestures and Body Language

VIDEO: Science in Action: Facial Expressions (are they learned or innate?)

VIDEO: Microexpressions

VIDEO: Lie to Me show clip

VIDEO: How to tell if a guy is attracted to you (mostly about nonverbal communication)

VIDEO: How to captivate people when you speak

Article: How to read Body language

Article: How waiters judge you!

Article: Exploring the various types of body language based on emotions

Article: Nonverbal Communication basics

Wiki: Nonverbal Communication (all about)

Article: Top 10 Nonverbal Communication Tips

VIDEO: Are facial expressions universal? What stories can a face tell.

This is an hour long and excellent!

TED talk! Amy Cuddy: Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are


Liar Liar Cheat Cheat

Liar Card Game- Questions

The point of this exercise was to examine the nature, extent, acceptability of various kinds of deception. 

Answer the following questions on your blog:

1. Which cards did your group find easiest to place? Which did you find most difficult?

2. How similar or different was your order from that of other groups? Were there any surprises?

3. Were there cases where you’d need more information about the context before placing it?

4. How many of these forms of deception have you engaged in – be honest :) ?

5. How widespread do you think deception is in the population at large?

6. How do you define a “lie” – which of these cards would you classify as “not a lie” and why?

7. Under what circumstances, if any, is it acceptable to mislead or deceive other people? Should we tell the truth at any cost, or are other things, such as happiness, more important?

– adapted from Richard van de Lagemaat

Pam Myer at TED : How to Spot a Liar

Dan Ariely at TED: Why We Think It’s OK to Cheat (Sometimes)

Cheating: Collaboration? and Part II and Part III

Harvard University Cheating Scandal

More Thoughts on Harvard Cheating Incident (from student perspective)

NY TIMES: Cheating Epidemic (or is it a survival skill?) – Cheating in 21st c. Ed

Cheating (in school) FACT sheet