Which came first? The body language, thought, or emotion?


Published: 26 Jul 2018

Body Language

You can read the emotions of people by reading their facial expressions and body language. This fact has not changed in body language science. It is true, and will continue to be true. You can tell for sureĀ  (if you know what you are looking at), how someone feels by reading body language.

But can that be reverse engineered? Is the body language from the emotion? Or, the emotion from the body language?

There is currently much debate in the science of body language as to how it is formed, where it comes from. The thought before the emotion. The sub-conscious? The words you use?

So which is it?

And then, let’s throw in a generous measure of pre-conditioning, role models, and default attitudes, and see where that leads us!

Is it possible then, that how you feel about a person, before you even engage with them can affect your body language?

I believe it is. It is feasible for example that a person you are used to being dominant or bullying with you will make you ‘ready’ to engage with them in pre-determined ways – more submissive? More aloof? Different tone? In reverse a person you feel or know to be kind, may get a different version of you.

Your body language tries to help you out 24/7. It could be your best ally ever…….if only you’d pay attention! As soon as you even begin to have the thought about what is happening/being said, your body language kicks in to help give you confidence, protect you, or help you to get your point across.

Sometimes the very words and tone you use dictate your body language. Think this is impossible? Then try and convey something in a low and slow voice with non-judgemental language and watch what your body language is like. It would likely be open, soft hands, upturned, reaching out towards your person.

Alternatively raise the volume, add an aggressive or sarcastic tone, and watch your body language – hands raise up from 3-9 on the clock face to 10-2. They become stiff and choppy, fingers open in exasperation, or jabby, with thumbs up. (Power/control/less choice/inflicting your viewpoint).

Try it. Watch your own body language and see if you can pinpoint what is happening, and whether it is because of a thought before the emotion, or the words you use. And then do an analysis on what you might have done differently.




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