Nonverbal language studied by television industry

Oh That Body Language!
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Body language is an important part of everyday communications and relationships. It is important to people in business management, leadership and day to day interactions. Nonverbal communication is also important to relationships outside the workplace in such interactions as dating and parenting.

The television industry is well aware of need to study nonverbal communications. One drama teacher has a website you might be interested in. It’s Another is 102: Insiders Guide to Getting on Television

This communication skill includes listening because while nonverbal signals are exchanged. These are accompanied by spoken words as well.

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Body Language: Nonverbal Clues

A man winking with his right eye

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The study of body language is much more than just a study of how people move their bodies. Some of the aspects we need to understand nonverbal communication include the following:

  • How the body is positioned
  • How close two people are to each other and how that can change
  • Facial expressions
  • How the eyes move and focus
  • How people touch themselves and others
  • How bodies connect with things like glasses, pens, cigarettes and clothing
  • How a person breathes and perspires
  • Voice type and other sounds can be used here as part of understanding non-verbal clues.

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Microexpressions-Face It

In the study of body language the face has a special study all its own – microexpressions. This is a brief, involuntary facial expression that flashes across the human face according to a person’s hidden emotions. These are quick intense emotions. Here are some things I discovered about them.

  • When people have something to lose or gain is when they are most likely to flash a microexpression. Unlike regular facial expressions, it is difficult to fake one.
  • They are made of the seven universal emotions: contempt, surprise, disgust, sadness, anger, happiness and fear. They can occur as quickly as a quarter of a second. So that it is difficult for a person to observe them.
  • Often the only way a researcher is able to spot a microexpression is by slowing down a video of the person’s face frame by frame. These expressions betray the liar. He can cover up his feelings with a fake smile, but the involuntary face muscles reveal his hidden emotions.

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Nonverbal communication-the eyes

Tim Roth (Emil Blonsky in "The Incredible...

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The study of the eyes in body language is one of the most fascinating studies around these days. Perhaps shows like “Lie to Me” have sparked the public interest. This show follows a psychologist who can detect a lie by watching a person’s minute facial gestures and body movements. This show’s main character, Dr. Cal Lightman (played by Tim Roth), is based on an actual person, Dr. Paul Ekman, who serves as the show’s scientific advisor. One of Ekman’s books that you might want to read is” Emotions Revealed, Second Edition: Recognizing Faces and Feelings to Improve Communication and Emotional Life by Paul Ekman” (Paperback – Mar. 20, 2007) at

A lot of what the show displays has to do with a person’s eyes. In the study of body language the eyes are a very significant part of the nonverbal signs a person sends another. We all read people’s eyes without knowing how or why.

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Mouth to Mouth Body Language

Headshot of Mayann Karinch taken in April, 2007

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The mouth is related to very many body language signs, probably because its main function is verbal language. But although the mouth is also associated with infant feeding, it also is associated with later life feeling of security, love and sex. You can read more on body language on this site:

The mouth also has more visible moving parts than any other sensory organ, so there is a greater potential variety for signaling. The mouth can act independently of hands and fingers which is another reason it deserves more detailed consideration.

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