This is a term given to those gestures and movements, that a person makes with their body, which convey information about that person's mood, feelings or attitude.

Body language can range from changes in facial expression to the position in which a person will stand or sit or how they move their hands while they are talking. It can be seen either on its own or as an accompaniment to speech and may be deliberate or subconscious.

Observation of a person's body language has become a popular method of assessing their response to stimulus or their surroundings. A simple example is that a person may be feeling defensive if they are sitting with their legs crossed and arms folded.

As people are aware of each others body language it is wise to consider two points:

  1. A person may deliberately manipulate their body language to mislead you.
  2. People may misinterpret each others body language and make incorrect assumptions as to the other's intent.

Body language is one of the few true universal languages out there.

Used deliberately and quite practically, it is how a stranger in a foreign land communicates with the natives therein. Quite often, it is the only way to breach the language barrier in such situations. a good number of gesticulations are understood world-wide. However, due to cultural differences certain gestures can still be misunderstood as they can mean one thing to a particular people and another thing entirely to a different people.

The key facet to body language, actually, is its ability to communicate without the "speaker's" knowledge or intent of doing so. Most people do not exhibit a constant state of self-awareness or, more aptly, body-awareness as to render them completely conscious of their actions and how they may be perceived by others. What their body speaks is most often the truth, often at ends with what is actually being verbalized. This is most taken advantage of in employment interview situations where the interviewer is trying to dig past the presentation paraded before him by the applicant.

It takes a conscious effort to mask one's body language - a skill that few possess to any advantageous extent. It takes a person effective enough at observing other's behaviors and mannerisms to properly hide or "lie" with his.

Many people I know can read body language without knowing how they do it. Some are aware of this, while others -- well, they can merely observe their reactions to changes in other people's body languages.

Most such people are regarded as "excellent judges of character", though this isn't always a requirement (I have only encountered 2 people who are quite that body-language-blind, but are still good at evaluating people).

Out of all these people, only a handful have actually admitted this ability to others beside their spouses. When asked, most replied that they are aware how uncomfortable broaching this subject is to other people. Some other replies were based on paranoia, while still others never even entertained the idea of telling anyone.

I've yet to meet a person capable of modifying his/her body language at will in a perfect manner. All I have heard are second-hand rumors are best. I myself have dabbled in this, with some interesting results:

  • People who are totally body-language-blind are not really affected, unless they've gone through self-training (reading books on the subject is the most common method). Then they are very susceptible to deceit.
  • People who are unaware of the signals, and of their ability to read them will respond to some of the faked signals, while others are ignored or make them a little puzzled or bothered. This might be due to imperfect emulation of the signals while I'm trying to fake them. Unknown.
  • People who are very aware of their abilities, and have used/honed them over the years will recognize most (but not all, depending on the amount of faked signals and the subject) of the signals as fake, but only very few were able to penetrate the facade and interpret the real data. Note: This totally creeps me out. And I wish I could do it too.

    In my personal experience, modifying your body language is very uncomfortable (like wearing a tight suit), and tends to lend a certain sliminess to the way people perceive you. I'm probably not creating a believable whole out of all the pieces.

  • A charades game show produced by Mark Goodson and hosted by Tom Kennedy; it ran on CBS from June 4, 1984, to January 3, 1986.

    Two teams consisting of a contestant and a celebrity partner competed to solve fill in the blank puzzles. One member of each team would attempt to pantomime five words or short phrases in 60 seconds to the other member. Then each word or phrase that had been correctly guessed would be revealed in the puzzle, and one team member would try to solve it. If their guess was incorrect, their counterpart from the other team could ask for another blank to be revealed; the two would go back and forth until the puzzle was finally solved.

    The first two puzzles on each show were worth $100 each, and the second two were worth $250 each. Since it took $500 to win, the games often came down to a tiebreaker puzzle with no acting involved, just the two contestants calling out numbers of blanks they wanted filled in.

    The winning contestant and their celebrity partner would play the bonus round, but their opponent might be back on the next episode. Soon after the show premiered, a rule was added that contestants had to lose twice to be kicked off the show.

    The bonus round was a two-part affair. First, the contestant had 60 seconds to communicate 10 words to the celebrity for $100 per word correctly guessed. Then the contestant had 20 more seconds to communicate three more words; if the celebrity guessed all three, the dollar amount won in the first part would be multiplied by 10, for a possible total of $10,000.

    Because "Body Language's" network time slot was 4:00 P.M. Eastern time, many East Coast CBS affiliates preempted it for syndicated talk shows or local news. Fortunately, it's rerun on Game Show Network. Between the giant white illuminated globes on the set, the casual outfits and hairdos seen on the contestants and the celebrities, and the frequent appearances by Jamie Farr (introduced as being "from AfterMASH'"), it may be the quintessential 1980s game show.

    Queen's sexiest song, with its driving bassline, swooping synthesizer riffs, and blatant lyrics. This Freddie Mercury composition is from the 1982 album Hot Space, and was released as a single which went to #25 on the British pop charts and #11 on the American ones (in the U.K. with a cover depicting an apparently nude man and woman viewed from nose to hips and in a position that could be interpreted as ready for sixty-nine; a plain sleeve was substituted in the U.S.)

    It also had a video that was rather controversial at the time. Neither MTV nor the BBC would play it. I've seen it on a 1980s music video collection called Red Hot Rock, which boasts of music videos "you could never see on TV" -- "Body Language" is definitely the tamest thing on there (if one of the better-made ones), with no real nudity of any kind, just legs, stomachs, and backs of people rolling around shadowed situations, the band members walking through what might be a Turkish bath, and the hips of a row of leotard-wearing dancers swaying in and out of the shot.

    Give me body give me body body
    Give me your body
    Don't talk don't talk don't talk don't talk
    Baby, don't talk!
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    Give me your body
    Just give me yeah your body
    Give me yeah your body
    Don't talk
    Body language huh huh
    Body language body language

    You got red lips, snakes in your eyes
    Long legs great thighs
    You got the cutest ass I've ever seen
    Knock me down for a six any time

    Look at me; I got a case of body language
    Look at me; I got a case of body language
    Look at me; I got a case of body language
    Look at me; I got a case of body language
    Of body language of body language

    Yeah sexy body sexy sexy body
    I want your body!
    Baby, you're hot!

    Body language body language body language
    Body language body language body language
    Body language body language body language


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