People have often said to me things like "All this body language is a load of rubbish" as they gesture with their hand outward spreading their fingers as if to throw away the rubbish !
My absolute favourite was someone I was working with on a TV show, I came out and gave my opinion of this particular person's body language and how it betrayed what they were trying to fool everyone into believing.
He then said
"You people are paid to come on these programs and give out a load of waffle, body language what a load a crap I don't believe in it myself"
At this point I intervened and came back at him to confirm that he truly did not believe body language represented anything, which he duly did.
I then gestured with my hand a signal which meant he was, how shall I put it, someone who played with himself !
He then got highly agitated and said something along the lines of
"How dare you call me a w****r" ???
Point proved, he had just repsonded to my body language, which immediately got him upset.
Well here's just a snippet I found about some research in Tilburg, Holland.
Tilburg University researcher Beatrice de Gelder and colleagues compiled photographs of men and women showing fear or anger in their facial expressions and body postures. Some photographs were altered so, for instance, a fearful facial expression was paired with an angry body posture, which resulted in two "congruent" and two "incongruent" combinations.
Each photograph was shown to 12 participants while measuring their electrical brain activity. Participants were asked to focus on the face in the photographs and decide whether the person was angry or fearful. The photographs were shown briefly, so only a "first impression" glance was possible.
Researchers found when the face and body in the photograph showed conflicting emotions, the participants' judgment of facial expression was hampered and became biased toward the emotion expressed by the body.
The results suggest the brain possesses a neural mechanism sensitive to the agreement between facial expression and body language and can evaluate that information very quickly.
The research is detailed in the early online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Copyright 2005 by United Press International