Saturday, December 4, 2010
By Richard Brody
We have all heard or stated some reference to body language. However, while much information can be learned from "reading" this non verbal form of communication, it is certainly not an exact science. Using certain of these silent signals is often helpful in determining the truthfulness of certain statements that might be made. Many of us also interpret someone's body language to gain a "first impression," as well as to either confirm or negate something we believe about an individual.
Many law enforcement organizations, including the F.B.I., have extensively studied body language and body signs to assist in determining truthfulness during an interview. Many interviewers either consciously or subconsciously judge the individual they are interviewing to gain insight into the character of someone.
An individual's posture generally indicates quite a bit about someone. We ordinarily relate slouching to someone lacking self-confidence. Most people tend to respect people who exhibit good posture consistently. How someone tilts their head is often believed to say a lot about someone. One of the first impressions we gather about someone is based on our first glimpse of them, and the "firmness" of their handshake. The "sweaty" hand during the handshake stage is a "turnoff" to many people.
Another important non-verbal sign and message is gained by either eye contact, or lack of eye contact. Statistically, individuals who will not make eye contact are either lying or hiding something, or are not proud of something. Police and safety officers, as well as other specially trained individuals, have developed a system regarding how a person looks (whether up or down, left or right), and what that means. There are many tell-tale signs that body language indicates, especially when witnessed and evaluated by a trained professional. The concept of body language and its correlation to whether someone is telling the truth has even become the basis of a Fox Broadcasting series, "Lie to Me."
There is, however, the possibility that an untrained individual can misinterpret either actual body language, or what the untrained person believes to be a form of body language. Sometimes, an untrained individual is
"turned off," by a certain type of posture or movement, although the particular "gesture" has no actual "meaning" about truthfulness. Body language can certainly be of great assistance by a properly trained professional, but to others acts as nothing more than another "gut reaction trigger." It has meanings on a variety of different levels, and intentionally or inadvertently, provides many different meanings and feelings every day. Someone who really wants to utilize body language more effectively and accurately should therefore take courses to become better trained on what it means.