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Absorbed actions: Body language that is passed from one person to another through culture and hence observation.  It is a form of mirroring and happens unconsciously.  These sets of nonverbal movements vary from culture to culture and group to group.  Take the “gangster” walk by example where an exaggerated bounce is added to the step – this is absorbed from others.

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 Abrazo: A term originating in Latin America that describes a brief hug between men.  It says “I like you.”  It is done by pressing the chests together and engulfing the back of the other with the arms.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Accenting Moderating Body LanguageAccenting/Moderating body language: One of the six main categories of body language.  This type of body language is aimed at enhancing, amplifying or emphasizing a specific verbal message.  In other cases it can be used to soften a point and make it less salient.  Gestures include pointing, using the hands to show how big something or an idea is, using a fist chopping action in unison with an important point, fist pounding to display anger, or a honest smile and a bounce in the step to display happiness while speaking of a loved one. —————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

BodyLanguageProjectCom - Accidental Touching 2Accidental touching: Touching that happens without meaning between random people usually in busy or crowded environments, or alternatively, done out of conscious awareness but of which is laden with meaning such as a woman might do on a man she finds attractive by brushing up against him.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Active ListeningActive listening: The opposite of passive listening where a person reflects on what is being said through nonverbal indications.  An active listener holds good eye contact, orients toward the speaker with their head or torso and nods their head appropriately demonstrating undivided attention.  When listening is done to the extreme it is called emphatic listening.  Active listening also usually has so form of light touching to build a connection.

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Achiever (the): One of three types in business.  They arrive on time and won’t want to waste a minute.  They keep time, don’t stray off topic and leave as soon as the meeting is over.

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Acting (a): A poker term whereby players act weak when they have a strong hand, and act strong when dealt a weak hand.  It is a beginners strategy and unsophisticated.

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Acting (b): A nonverbal term that describes a person who is playing a role that misrepresents their true honest selves.  We say that politicians are “acting” when they display honest body language when they are in fact lying, or when a person who is shy and timid acts confidently during a job interview.  Acting does not always involve polar opposites, and can be done by a person in more minute and specific situations. —————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

Active attraction: A man or women who oozes attraction signals without effort.  Men who have active attraction will seem to have high confidence and physical attractiveness such as ideal build and height, have style, personality and especially good body language such as excellent eye patterns, will walk with confidence, be relaxed and hold their ground.  Women who have active attraction will exude sexual cues, they will have above average looks such as hour-glass figures, large breasts, will dress provocatively and have social personalities, they will also emit flirty nonverbal sexual signals regardless of a attempt to attract. —————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

BodyLanguageProjectCom - Adaptational MirroringAdaptational mirroring: Mirroring that is done intentionally and with consciousness to either put someone at ease or to create discomfort.  The goal of adaptational mirroring is to manipulate someone else’s emotions for their own benefit.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - AdaptorsAdaptors: Include variations such as postural changes or other movements that occur at such a low level they often happen without awareness.  They are frequently made to adjust ones body and to make someone more comfortable by relieving physical stress.  Plenty of unwarranted emphasis was placed on adaptors as hidden meaning but today we see them as merely movements which serve a purpose.  An example includes scratching the nose to satisfy and itch which is a movement of purpose, it doesn’t have any hidden meaning. —————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

BodyLanguageProjectCom - Adornments 1Adornments: Decorations of the body including tattoos, jewelry, make-up, elaborate clothing and so forth.  Adornments are designed by the individual in order to portray a specific quality and character.

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Adrenal glands: Also called suprarenal glands, the adrenal glands are located on top of the kidneys.  This endocrine gland is responsible for producing the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline (epinephrine).  These hormones are linked to the flight or fight response and so are connected to visceral body language.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Affect DisplaysAffect displays: Occur in synchrony and within the rhythm of speech and emphases certain words or phrases and are integrally connected to our speech and thought.  They are used to reveal our emotional state and can show enthusiasm if we are happy, or if relaying somber information sadness. Examples of affect displays include facial expressions such as smiling, laughing, crying or frowning.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Affection 2Affection (nonverbal) or affectionate or loving: Nonverbal signals that display liking such as hugs, kisses, back rubbing, adoring eye contact, handshaking, blowing kisses, increased proximity and submissive body language such as head tilting and neck exposure. —————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

Affiliator (the):  One of three types in business.  The affiliator is generally a woman or sociable man who is focused on group cohesion and building relationships.  They arrive early and make a point of checking in with everyone and making sure everyone is happy and taken care of.  They will set up meetings to foster cooperation and will often stay behind to answer any questions.  They make lots of eye contact, smile often and will show tension if signals of conflict arises.  Their voice will often be calming and hand movements will be used to appease everyone.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Aggressive 3Aggressive body language:  Aggressive body language includes nonverbal language that prepares the body for a real or figurative attack.  It includes making the body loose or tenses and making the body appear larger and more threatening.  Aggressive body language can happen by clenching the fists, finger pointing or flared nostrils and so forth.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Agreement Indicators 1Agreement indicators: Nonverbal communication serving to show that a likeness of mind is present.  Agreement is shown through open body language such as arms uncrossed, leaning inward and ankles unlocked.  Not all times do nods, “mhums” and smiles, show agreement however, sometimes they merely indicate that a person is being heard.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Alerting Or Announcement Gestures 1Alerting or announcement gestures:  Those nonverbal signals that tell others they wish to speak such as raising a hand or motioning, taking in air or making eye contact.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Alpha FemaleAlpha female:  Similar to the alpha male, other females in their community or sub-community look up to her, she makes decisions for the group and other women look up to her.  In humans, the alpha female will be the most listened and obeyed socially as dominant body language for women is much less potent although some dominant body language will still appear.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Alpha MaleAlpha male:  Found in all social animals.  The alpha male is the individual in the community or sub-community whom others defer to and follow, he makes the decisions for the group and other’s look up to him.  In animals, the alpha is sometimes the only one who secures breeding rights.  In humans, the alpha male is that which holds dominant body positions.  He is normally relaxed, with open postures, he may form a steeple with his hands or rest his arms at the back of his head to display his superiority.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Alpha You 2Alpha you (the): The conscious manipulation of the self to produce the best possible person in the view of others.  It includes various nonverbal, people and sales skills to yield above average results in personal relationships, business and life in general.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - AmygdalaAmygdala: A region of the brain that in accompaniment with the hippocampus and thalamus influences fear, rage and aggression along with friendship and love.  It has been shown to be a key player in the creation of emotion and closely tied to our bodies.  Fear responses are carried to the thalamus which then produces anxiety and alertness within the freeze response.  The amygdala decodes the information received from our senses and initiates adaptive behaviours through connections to the motor system (our body).  Research shows how this area of the brain is particularly adept at reading facial emotions and decoding them.  The amygdala is responsible for various nonverbal signals due to the root emotions it creates.

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Androstadienone: A chemical signal released by men and found in their perspiration said to affect women and homosexual men in a sexual manner.  Researchers have found that androstadienone is able to change mood, sexual arousal, and even brain activation.  It also commonly added to male perfumes and fragrances.  While the chemical itself lacks a direct link to overt behaviour it does affect underlying physiology include hormones and psychological patterns providing root causes for behaviour.  Thus, the chemical itself is the nonverbal message.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Anger 2Anger:  Characterized by a downward pull of the eyebrows and narrowing of the eyelids. Lips may tighten or press together and the nostrils may flare.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Ankle Cross 1Ankle lock or foot lock (the): Happens when the top of one foot locks around the leg of the other while seated or standing or when the legs are wrapped around the legs of a chair.  It indicates a negative and defensive attitude.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Ankle Cross 3Ankle lock (standing): Done by raising and locking the ankle behind the calf of the supporting leg.  This is a mainly female posture and one that spells defensiveness.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Ankle Cross Or Scissor Cross Or Ankle-Ankle Cross 1Ankle cross or scissor cross or ankle-ankle cross:  Indicates that the person is holding a negative emotion, uncertainty, fear or is generally uncomfortable or timid.  Adding to this, the feet might be pulled in under the chair withdrawing emotionally even further.  In other context it is modest and formal.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Annoying Alpha (the) 2Annoying alpha (the):  A man/woman who is overly concerned about coming across as the main alpha, yet instead of appearing confident, really comes off as cocky.  They might take up too much space, become boisterous, and order people around.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Anthropology Monkeys TypingAnthropology: The study of humans in all respects, from socially, evolutionarily, behaviourially and especially culturally.  Anthropology is a source of study for body language as it provides context and origins of movements as it relate to purpose.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Apocrine GlandsApocrine glands:  Located in the groin, armpits, mouth, eyelids, back of the knees, wrists, and palms.  These glands release a chemical called androsterone in men, which is chemically related to testosterone, the male sex hormone.  Androsterone is (weakly – not strongly proven) linked to sexual attraction and is unperceivable consciously, when it is effective it works without awareness.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Apologetic Smile Or Lopsided SmileApologetic smile or lopsided smile: When there is unevenness across the face and the context is appropriate it says “Wish I hadn’t made that mistake.”

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Appease 1Appease: Refers to the desire to concede to an aggressor through submissive or compliant body language such as shoulders turned inward and head down.  Smiles are often referred to as appeasement expressions.

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Argyle, Michael: Born 1925, he was recognized as a social psychologist.  His interests compelled him to study gaze and other nonverbal communication, social skills, happiness and social class and his book “The Psychology of Interpersonal Behaviour” became a best-seller.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Arm Crossing 1Arm crossing:  Arms as they relate to non-verbal meaning are like shields.  They can block and shank ideas from entering just as well as they can protect against swords and arrows.  Using the arms across the body in a fold is like cutting off access to our core where our heart and lungs are present.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Arm Crossing With Clenched FistsArm crossing with clenched fists: Happens by crossing the arms and clenching the fists underneath them.  This posture indicates defensive hostility and anger nearing outright aggression.

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Arm freezing behaviour: A fear driven response that reduces or eliminates movements by the arms.  In children, it can indicate the presence of abusive parents or relatives, and in adults indicates that a stressful or emotional stimuli is present.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Arm gripping or gripped crossed arms 2Arm gripping or gripped crossed arms: Happens as the person grabs each arm with the opposite hand as they cross their arms.  It symbolizes tension and is common for people waiting for bad news or waiting for a dentist appointment.  It is similar to other forms of self-hugging as it protects the body from exposure and provides comfort.  This posture shows both negativity and restraint, meaning that a person is ready and expecting to face a negative outcome and isn’t going to relax until that news comes.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Arm Over Shoulder 2Arm over the shoulder: A type of hug gesture done by tossing the arm over the back of another.  It is a friendly type gesture signifying camaraderie.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Arms Forward 2Arms forward: A signal that contains a context specific message.  Having the arms forward can mean that a person wishes to hug, to fight if fists are clenched, to repel if the palms are facing vertical toward an opponent or begging if palms are turned upward.

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Arms up posture: A gravity defying nonverbal cue done in triumph or victory such as winning a match or scoring a goal.  It is done usually quickly and short in duration where the arms are thrust stiffly upward into the sky so as to draw as much attention to the victor as possible.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Arm Twister HandshakeArm twister handshake:  Part way through an ordinary handshake the hand is twisted underneath into the submissive palm up position.  Someone who does this is absolutely committed to being on top and dominating.

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Arm withdrawal: When the arms are pulled inward toward the body rather than away.  It indicates a lack of agreement or a difference of opinion.

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Arousal: Defines changes in the autonomic nervous system including changes in heart rate, blood pressure, sweating, temperature, breathing, flushing and blanching.  Arousal can be due to negative and positive stimuli.

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Arrector pili muscles: Microscopic band of muscle tissue that connects hair follicles to the skin that when stimulated by cold air or fear, stand on end.  When we have feelings that send shivers down the spin, the arrector pili muscles are being stimulated.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Arrogance Or Arrogant Body LanguageArrogance or arrogant body language:  Body language that indicates that a person feels superior to others and that one wishes to separate themselves from the crowd.  An arrogant person wears expensive clothing or dress more formally, will act aloof, bored or pretentious.  Arrogant people often preen, glance in mirrors to check their appearance, trying to be the center of attention, make grand gestures, keep greater distance from others, stop listening to the conversation of others, make sexually suggestive movements, boast of accomplishments, avoiding eye contact on purpose and holding the head high with the nose pointed upwards.  Arrogance indicates that a person is insecure with themselves and is often over-competitive with others.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Artificial Smile Or Pretend SmileArtificial smile or pretend smile: A fake smile where the muscles surrounding the eyes play no part.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Asymmetry 3AsymmetryGestures such as shoulder shrugs, or facial expressions such as smiles, that are not equal on both sides indicating incongruency or dishonesty.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - AsynchronyAsynchrony: A barrier to good communication.  It is a lack of synchrony, or the relative similarity, in the bodies of two people.  It shows a difference of opinion.

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Attraction triggers: Cues in men and women that produce feelings of attraction within the opposite sex.  These cues stem from fertility in women and resource acquisition in men and are tied to social value.  They are evolution in origin brought about through sexual selection.  Attraction triggers include physical looks including fertility, personality, social alliances, and nonverbal signals of confidence, charisma, and overall worth to the opposite sex.  The value placed on these triggers is relatively person specific and highly sex specific.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Attentive Body Language Or Attentiveness Or PensivenessAttentive body language or attentiveness or pensiveness:  Cues that indicate that a person is actively paying attention, is interested and engaged.  They include such factors as head tilted at forty-five degrees, leaning inward, proper eye contact, greater stillness, chewing a lip or pencil, furrowing the brow, stair into space in concentration, looking upward and scratching the head.

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Audience eye contact:  Eye contact that is directed toward a large group of people to create interest in them and liking as well as to create a more authoritarian and effective presentation.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Auditory Learners Or Auditory CommunicatorsAuditory learners or auditory communicators: Account for about 25% of the population.  This group of people prefer to hear the information through oral presentation, lectures and speeches.  Oral learners can be identified because as they learn, they will play music, listen to a television or radio or if that is distracting to them in particular they will play sounds containing white noise by running a fan or listening to soothing sounds of the ocean.  Auditory communicators use phrases such as: Maybe we should tone thing down.  Here me out, okay?  That sounds right.  Listen to the plan I have in mind.  We can’t whisper a word to anyone about this.  This has a ring to it.  Can you speak to this?  We should announce this to everyone.  Are you listening?  We should all voice our opinions.  It’s like music to my hears.  It’s clear as a bell.  That strikes a cord with me.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Authoritative Body Language Or Authoritative PostureAuthoritative body language or authoritative posture: Nonverbal communication that says “I am in charge.”  It can include hand positions like palm down (rather than palm up), hand steepling where the fingers touch to form a bridge, head back and looking down on others, a lowered voice, raising height by taking a taller chair, sitting at the head of the table, or using compliance testing to see if someone will do as you indicate by taking the path of least resistance.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Auto Contact Or Self TouchingAuto contact or self touching: A term used to describe gestures such as stroking the beard, rubbing the hands, tugging the ear, massaging the throat, pulling the fingers, rubbing the back of the neck and so forth, which is meant to sooth the body and create comfort.  Women habitually use self touch far more often than men.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Autoerotic Touching 1Autoerotic touching: Touching that is done to the self driven by sexual thoughts.  It is a term used to describe when women are seen stroking their own lips rubbing their upper arms, cheeks, thighs, hips and waist. Autoerotic touching is usually to satiate an internal desire by performing what one wishes to experience on ones self instead rather than having it done by someone else which is risky.  It also creates interest through teasing and prepares the body for eventual touching by drawing blood to the surface creating sensitivity.

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Autocratic bosses:  We can tell if our boss autocratic if they are attached to the status artifacts around them.  Their desk will be used as a barrier protecting them from intruders, they will have cleaver title markings on their desk or door, and usually have trophies or accolades on their walls, their dress will be formal and expensive and their posture will be rigid and straight.  Friendliness is the foe of the autocratic boss so he will keep you at arms length, keep conversations on task and hold expressionless faces.  If you get out of line, he will use his body language to put you back in your place with harsh voice tones and eye contact.  Often autocratic bosses are seen as unloving, unfriendly or inhumane.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Automatic GesturesAutomatic gestures:  Motions of the hand that happen without conscious awareness, usually during speech to add emphasis and colour.  Hands might motion when trying to explain something complex or when talking about something excitedly to add emotion.  Automatic gestures can happen by down-stroking the mouth when uncomfortable, or wiping the nose with the index finger when stretching the truth.  Often gestures that happen out of conscious awareness tend to be more reliable and honest.

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Autonomic nervous system: The ANS is the part of the peripheral nervous system that acts as the control center for various operations in the body below the level of consciousness.  It controls visceral operations such as heart rate, digestion, rate of respiration, salivation, perspiration, pupil diameter and sexual arousal.  The ANS is extremely important to the nonverbal body language reader specifically because the operations occur without the permission of the conscious mind making them very honest and reliable cues.  While the ANS controls inner functioning, the consequences are seen externally and can be read.

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Autonomic signals or automatic signals:  Involuntary stress-induced physiological behaviours that includes shaking, increased heart rate, pupil constriction, vomiting, fainting, blushing and breath rate.  These are nonverbal cues that are impossible to consciously control under normal circumstances with the exception of heart rate which some individuals have conscious control, and breath rate, which almost everyone does despite a propensity for breath holding under high stress or hyperventilating.

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Get a free start in learning body language today! Click here: Getting Started.

The Body Language Project is the result of a decade of personal research including a thorough review of over 60 primary scientific research journal articles. Learning body language forms the perfect foundation for success in ALL your communication.

If you are only picking up on what is being said, you are missing more than half of the message.

For more information on BodyLanguage be sure to check out: BodyLanguageProject.com and the Ebook – The Body Language Guide to Dating, Attraction and Sexual Body Language.

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