Wednesday, March 29, 2017


Kinesics is the study of body language. It has came to be that many language show gestures and have different ways of communicating just by Kinesics itself. The only nonverbal behaviors that are universal throughout the world are facial expressions, such as the expressions of anger, happiness, sadness, disgust, surprise and fear are basic to all humans. However, the rest of them are specific to certain cultures. For example, in the United States eye contact is considered respectful. Parents tell their children to look at them when they speak because it is a sign that someone is paying attention to them. In some Middle Eastern and Asian cultures, eye contact is to be avoided because it might signal an inappropriate romantic interest or it may be just plain inappropriate in a social interactions. One interesting thing to note is that, the basic assumptions that underlie kinesics is that no body movement or facial expression is likely to lack meaning because, just like other aspects of voluntary human behavior, body movements, postures, and facial expressions are patterned and occur together. When breaking down this idea, I thought about a time when I was awkward or uncomfortable and not just one of my actions was out of place. I had my hand close to my mouth, avoided eye contact, and really tried accepting the situation I was in. It is extremely interesting how a few little movements and actions can display a real feeling someone is having and how other people can easily pick up on small gestures. It’s a unique way of communication that I believe isn’t thought much about nowadays. 

Salzmann, Z., Stanlaw, J., & Adachi, N. (2012). Language, Culture, and Society: An Introduction to Linguistic Anthropology. Westview Press


  1. Body language is fascinating to me. While communicating with someone, if you pay attention to the words they are saying as well as their body language, you can interpret so much more than if you just pay attention to the words alone. I'm taking a Symbolic Anthropology class this semester and for one of the assignments we had to observe people having conversations. I ended up writing a lot about body language: eye contact, facial expressions, hand gestures, subtle movements, etc. It was interesting to focus on the body language without the words to go with it.

  2. Body language is really interesting. I find it interesting because you can learn so much more from a person if you pay attention to what they do with their bodies when they are talking. And like you said there is no movement that does not mean anything. Every move me make has a purpose. I think that could be really helpful for police because if they know the signs when someone is lying that could make their jobs easier and they'd know when they are told the truth. Also I think that Kinesics is how characters such as Sherlock Holmes can easily solve crimes. By reading peoples actions and body movements they can figure out who's acting out of place and therefor the criminal.