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Body Language

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flashpig | 15:48 Thu 06th Oct 2005 | Body & Soul
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Is this instinctive (both in using and interpreting)?

Do all cultures share the same body language?

To a certain extent I believe that body language can be read, but perhaps I feel that certain people put too much weighting on body language to read people's mood / true feelings on certain things. And I also believe that sometimes the symbols in body language are purposefully put in.

F'rinstance, If I say "yes, a day clothes shopping would be fun" I probably would put in the "I can think of nothing less enjoyable" symbols on purpose.

BUT, did I learn them from seeing what the "I'm lying" symbols were and copy them, or was I born with them?

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No, cultures vary considerably in their body langauge. Even just over the water in Europe, you will find people far more invasive of personal space than the average Brit finds comfortable. European men think nothing of kissing each other on greeting,and linking arms as they walk down the street. Similarly, the concept of queuing is unknown - everyone simply pushes in, and they think the English are slightly odd when they huff and puff about it. Expand those differences to other nations, and far more obvious differences will apply. I conclude that body language is learned behaviour, based on the culture in which the individual grows up - absorbing customs comfortable to those around him.
I agree with andy hughes, different cultures have completely different body language. For example, in turkey if you nod your head up it means yes, but if you nod your head down it means no. This feels really weird for an English person to do, and takes some getting used to! If you�re interested in any particular cultures, the lonely planet books usually contain a bit about a country�s body language

When I read the question I thought you were asking about body language in the sense of that which is detected on a subconscious level such as subtle movements and facial expressions you subconsciously detect in people and not just cultural variations in social manners and customs.

Bodylanguage definately varies in different cultures.

You are right, people put too much on bodylanguage. Like if I have my arms crossed, it's not NEGATIVE or DEFENSIVE... It's because I am cold. It CAN BE because it's negative or defensive but it isn't always. People mis-read BL too, folding my arms could be because i'm focusing.

Leaning back can be because you're not interested in whatever. OR it could be because you're relaxing.

I can usually tell when people lie now, the classic most common (imo) sign is the hand covering the mouth. Usually a lie is just an exaggeration or a white lie. People like Derren Brown who are experts at reading liars even subconsciously do things to give away that they're lying. He said it himself in an interview.

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