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Casual corner position or kitty corner or right angle seating:  A seating arrangement where people sit at the corner of rectangular tables.  It preserves closeness, but also offers a barrier.  This seating position is unique because it neatly allows for independent thought, but the proximity still permits intimacy.

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Center leader effect: The phenomenon whereby the most dominant person usually chooses the head of rectangular tables and when no leader is present, leadership is attributed to the person who sits at the head of the table.

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Center-stage effect: Those who sit in the middle of large lecture halls tend to be overlooked.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Chair Straddler Or Seat StraddlingChair straddler or seat straddling:  A dominant body position.  The posture happens by spreading the legs and sitting with the back of the chair facing other people.  The back of the chair is utilized as a barrier or shield to separate the individual from others making them appear cowardly.

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Chameleon effect (mimicry): A term first coined by Chartrand and Bargh in 1999, the “chameleon effect” refers to the unconscious mimicry of postures, mannerisms, facial expressions, and other behaviours such that one partner in an interaction passively and unintentionally changes his body positions to match that of others.

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Channels of communication:  Include methods of sending information and meaning from one person to another.  They include written notes, verbal speech, paraverbal cues and nonverbal body language.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Chatting Distances 1BodyLanguageProjectCom - Chatting Distances 2Chatting distances: The distance which varies from culture to culture and person to person whereby conversations comfortably take place.  The most common distance is at arms length, but some cultures require elbow length and some even less than this.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Chest Protrusion 1Chest protrusion: A sexual or aggressive body language posture.  When done by men it can mean either depending on the context, but in either case, is meant as a dominance display by appearing larger.  This is meant to appeal to women and repel other aggressive men.  When done by women, it is aimed at drawing attention to the breast and making them appear larger in order to secure the attention of nearby men.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Chest Shield 6BodyLanguageProjectCom - Chest Shield 4BodyLanguageProjectCom - Chest Shield 5Chest shield: Gestures such as arm crossing and placing objects in front of the chest such as tables and chairs meant to figuratively protect the body from attack.

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Chest puffing: When air is brought into the lungs and held so as to appear larger and more dominant.  Usually the back is also arched and the head is held high.  This is a posture that indicates conflict is nearing and is an advertisement of such.

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Chew rate: A pacifying nonverbal cue that intensifies during stress or excitement – arousal.  Happens more prominently with chewing gum.

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Childbearing hips: A term referring to the anatomical feature of women who’s hips are wider in relative terms, than men’s.  This permits women to successfully deliver babies, and because of this is a sexual feature.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Childlike Playfulness 3BodyLanguageProjectCom - Childlike Playfulness 2Childlike playfulness: This is a form of submissive signal and is not a posture or gesture at all, but rather a class of behaviours.  Both sex can resort to these games during courtship and they include stealing a hat, playful teasing, tickling, playing hide and seek or peek-a-boo.  Acting like a child shows that a person is ready to let their guard down and feel that no threat is present.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Chin JutBodyLanguageProjectCom - Chin UpChin jut: A greeting gesture done by quickly forcing the chin outward and returning it to its origin.  It is done to acknowledge someone else without having to directly interact with them and done most often by dominant individuals.  It signifies superiority, fearlessness and arrogance.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Chin LiftChin lift: This is a signal used to display pride, confidence and smugness because it exposes the vulnerable neck to attack.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Chin Stroking 1BodyLanguageProjectCom - Chin Stroking 2Chin stroking: Chin stroking is an evaluative gesture which was made popular by movies, television shows and cartoons.  The cliché says that the chin scratcher is old, wise and is bearded!  Beard or chin stroking signifies that the decision making process has begun, but that a conclusion hasn’t yet been reached.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Chin TuckChin tuck: When the chin is pulled down toward the sternum.  It spells anger and disdain or when used in courtship submission, innocent and childlike.

 

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Clap Or ClappingClap or clapping: A celebratory nonverbal signal usually done by large audiences untoward a presenter or performer.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Clasping Hands Or Self Clasping Hands Or Hands Holding HandsClasping hands or self clasping hands or hands holding hands: Done by placing one hand inside the other.  A gesture indicating the desire to begin when done by a presenter.  Also signifies a need for pacifying as a parent would clasp the hand of their infant.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Clenching And GrippingClenching and gripping: A body position that creates unnatural tension.  Clenching indicates hostility or defense.  Holding the fists clenched and holding a full arm cross are two examples.  Whereas fists clenched shows that physical aggression is imminent or possible, a full arm cross shows defensiveness.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Closed Body Language 4BodyLanguageProjectCom - Closed Body Language 3Closed body language: Any body language that shows that a person is not open to outside ideas or thoughts.  In closed body language one or more parts of the body cross the mid-way point of the bisected body or where a portion of the body is made smaller, or hidden.  Arms crossed, legs crossed, arms hugging the body, shoulders drawn in, having the hands in pockets are some examples of closed body language.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Closed FormationClosed formation: Refers to an intimate orientation that usually happens while standing.  In this formation, the torsos face each other head-on rather, or at zero degrees, rather than at a ninety degree angle, as what would happen in more social situations.  A closed formation usually happens during courtship as men test a women’s desire to accept him into her personal zone.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - CocooningCocooning: A term used to describe body language that indicates a desire not to be bothered.  There are various degrees which include a mild form such as putting on headphones to tell others that social interaction is undesired, putting up the hands to the side of the face while studying (mild cocooning), and an extreme form where the head collapses onto the thighs in a seated position.

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Cognitive dissonance: A term used by psychologists that describe feelings or cognition that happen in unison, but of which conflict, or are in disharmony with others.  It is an uncomfortable feeling because the mind does not cope well with having two contradictory ideas simultaneously.  The theory of cognitive dissonance states that people work hard to restore harmony in their thoughts by changing their attitudes, beliefs and behaviours or by rationalize them.  Nonverbal body language can uncover cognitive dissonance though conflicting or opposite body language, or through body language that indicates a person is unsure of themselves.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Coffee Cup Or Drink Barrier 1BodyLanguageProjectCom - Coffee Cup Or Drink Barrier 2Coffee cup or drink barrier: While sitting or standing, a drink is held across the front of the body as if the arms were crossed.  It forms a barrier and closed body position, which is either unintentional and done out of habit, or is actually a signal indicating a negative thought.

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Coiffed hair (men): When a man’s hair is precisely cut, blow-dried and sprayed.  Usually indicates a power image that is accompanied by expensive clothing, shoes and accessories.  This nonverbal message reflects vanity and reflection of financial success in order to impress others.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Cold Dead Fish HandshakeCold dead wet fish handshake: A particularly disgusting cold and damp handshake portraying negative emotions.

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Cold reading: A technique fortune tellers use to convince their audience that they know much more then they really do.  They use cues such as clothing or fashion, gender, age, race or ethnicity, religion, hairstyle and posture to draw information about a person.  Fortune tellers and “mediums” both possess a keen ability to read the nonverbal cues of the people they are reading.  Sometimes, even they don’t realize how well their intuition reads.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Collar Pull (the)Collar pull (the): A nervous nonverbal cue whereby hot air or tight collars producing friction, are relieved from the neck.  It is sometimes attributed to liars.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - CombativeCombative (the): A state of mind wherein the body indicates a desire to fight.  The body takes up closed body positions like arms crossed, yet is leaning forward to show ready to strike either physically or verbally.

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Comb-overs: A male hairstyle found on balding men who pull their hair over from one side to the other to hide the balding area.  This cue suggests vanity, but also poor judgment since the wearer of the hairstyle likely believes that he is pulling one over on other people.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Comfort Body LanguageComfort body language: Includes any body language that indicates that a person feels no threat.  It includes body language such as calmness, confidence, clear thinking, enjoyment, fluid speech, friendliness, happiness, openness, touching, patience, peacefulness, receptiveness, relaxation, trust, ventral fronting, increased proximity, removing objects to allow access, remaining loose, fluidity in motion, mirroring others and normal breath rate.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Comfort DisplayComfort/discomfort equation of detecting deception: Says that when people are lying they tend to experience more discomfort due to “guilty knowledge” and when they are telling the truth experience comfort.

 

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Comfort dividend: A term that describes the payback received from building comfortable situations in business and in life in general.  It stipulates that when you make your customers, friends, guests, patients and clients comfortable, you derive benefits that go beyond profits.

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Communication accommodation theory (CAT):  A theory developed by Howard Giles of the University of California which stipulates that people incorporate various changes in speech patterns as they seek to emphasis or minimize social differences between themselves and others.  The tenant of the theory says that a person will try to match accent, dialect and other paralinguistic features when they seek social approval and use speech patterns common to their own group when they wish to emphasis contrast.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Competitive Head-To-Head PositionCompetitive head-to-head position: A seating arrangement where people sit facing each other directly from across a table.  This sets up combative situations.

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Complexion: The features of the face including pigmentation, birthmarks, moles, warts, scars, acne, pallor, wrinkles, rashes and hives.  These cues reveal nonverbal traits of a person especially if they impart some technique for concealing or changing them outlining insecurity.  Other times blemishes can create anxiety and affect self esteem when a person fails to rise to the challenges they present.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Compliance Or Compliance TestingCompliance or compliance testing: Nonverbal communication that displays authority, superiority or dominance over another person in efforts to yields submission in another person.  A police officer tests compliance when they pull speeders to the side of the road through displays of authority such as splaying their arms and legs out to appear larger.  If it is not heeded, the officer is likely to apply the full force of the law, but if respected and complied with, he may drop the charge or lower the ticket.  Compliance testing can happen in any facet of life, from within families, at work, and during social encounters.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - ComplimentingComplimenting: One of the six main categories of body language.  Body language that is used to reinforce verbal language and which agrees with what is being said.  This type of body language serves to convey additional honesty to communication and is the most reliable when assessing people.  For example, complimenting body language to “I’m not ready to face this difficult task” is having shaking hands and voice combined while blushing and averting eyes.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Compressed Lips 2BodyLanguageProjectCom - Compressed LipsCompressed lips:  Done by pressing the lips together to make them disappear and is a universal trait done to signify stress.  The subconscious mind is essentially telling the body to close down and not let anything in.  Because it happens quickly due to undesirable stimuli it is considered an honest gesture.

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Come-hither-look: A sexual form of eye contact and body posture performed by women to solicit male attention.  It is done by lowering the head and looking up through the forehead or tilting the head forty-five degrees to the side and batting the eyes.

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Comfort display: Any body posture, position or gesture meant to display that a person is relaxed which relates back to their environment.  Even lack of eye contact can be deemed a comfort display because it can imply that a person lacks fear and does not need to track a person intently.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Concealed IrritationConcealed irritation: When honest, negative body language is inhibited in favour of using false, yet positive body language.  Those in service habitually use concealed irritation to deal with troublesome customers that can’t be pleased.  Smiling is one such expression that is often used to hide true emotions.

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Concealed ovulation: A term that described the human female condition whereby the most fertile phase of her sexual cycle is hidden from others and even herself.  However, ovulation does not pass without noticeable changes in nonverbal behaviour.  Studies have shown that when women enter their high fertility cycle they will dress to impress by adding extra adornment, wear make-up, put on short skirts, displaying cleavage, and tend to hang out in more target rich environments such as night clubs over other times in their cycle.

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Conflicting: One of the six main categories of body language.  This is body language that runs contrary to what is said verbally and indicates nervousness, disagreement, a sense of feeling unable to tell the truth or lying outright.  Conflicting falls into the same general area as congruency.  When a person says that they really liked a gift they received from you, yet their eyes dart and their voice shakes, their body language conflicts with their thought which can be a strong indication they are lying or have reservations about telling the truth.  When verbal and nonverbal conflict, nonverbalist use the nonverbal as more reliable indicators of honest thought.

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Confused or confuse or confusion: A state of mind that lacks orientation.  This state is conveyed through body language where the eyes may dart from one person or object to another, the face my blush showing anxiety or turn pale due to fear.

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Confusion or confused body language: Confused body language stems from an attempt to regain bearings.  It is usually accompanied by frustration and indecision.  Signals of confusion includes verbal repetition, repetitive motions, picking things up and putting them down, conflicting behaviours, shifting or shuffling and various pacifying behaviours such as stroking the temples and rubbing the back of the neck.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Confidence Or Confident (Or leadership) Body LanguageConfidence or confident (or leadership) body language: Any body language that conveys security.  It includes leading (and controlling) conversations, tend to be surrounded by people (who follow), use good proxemics, volunteer for difficult tasks, listen well, smile pleasantly, have a firm handshake, are well dressed with good hygiene, dress appropriate for the situation, seldom follow faddish trends, are willing to engage in conversations, are physically active, have conservative haircuts, have erect upright postures with head held high and hands out of pockets, face their company head-on, and other body language that shows comfort rather then discomfort.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Contempt Facial ExpressionContempt facial expression:  Wrinkle appear on the nose with one lip often raised to form a sneer.  Lips are frequently pushed forward with a tight mouth raised slightly at the corners.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Contempt SmileContempt smile: A true felt smile where the corners of the lips are tightened unevenly, where one side is lifted slightly higher than the other, and the eyebrows are slightly raised.  The smile might also push the lower lip up by the chin muscle and pull the corners of the mouth down, coupled with lowered brows.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Conversational GazingConversational gazing: Refers to the patterns of the eyes during an interaction which gives clues to intent be it intimate, business, or for friendship.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Cooperative FeetCooperative feet: Term used to describe the arrangement of the feet that indicate agreement.  Cooperative feet are ones that are patented oriented toward a speaker rather than away and who’s proximity is increased rather than decreased.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Cooperative Side-By-Side PositionCooperative side-by-side position: A seating arrangement where two people sit on the same side of the table beside one another.  Chairs can face forward showing some cooperation, but not complete whereas chairs at forty-five degrees to the table indication collaboration.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Cornering 2BodyLanguageProjectCom - Cornering 1Cornering: A common mistake done especially by men in dating situation whereby they cut off exit points and block women in.  It can be done with an arm, leg, bar top, or table.  When people become cornered they become nervous or aggressive due to the fight or flight response creating they exact opposite to that which is desired.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Corpus callosumCorpus callosum: A thick collection of nerve fibers centered between the left and right hemisphere that helps women’s brains “talk” better across each hemisphere.  This is what allows women to multi-task better than men by moving from one side of their brain, their creative side, to their left side, their logical side, and at the same time monitor the body language of others more readily than men.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Courtship Displays Or Sexual Interest Or Romantic Body LanguageCourtship displays or sexual interest or romantic body language: Nonverbal signals used to attract and maintain the attention of a potential mate.  They include signals such as preening, mirroring, in both sexes, dominance position in males and submissive displays in females, making eye contact, exaggerated or coy smile, laughter, staring, winking, wetting lips, crossing and recrossing legs, thrusting the chest forward, walking with a swagger or wiggle, primping, lounging back, hair tossing, increased proximity, wearing revealing clothing or overdressing, self touching or touching the person of interest, wearing special make-up or perfume, whispering, listening intently, looking a person over and attempting to isolate from others.

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Counting on fingers: A cocky, arrogant and sometimes confident gesture implying that a person needs to keep up with the various points that are being made for a case.  It is done by rhythmically bringing the index finger over the opposite hand as if to anchor each point being delivered.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Cowboy Pose 1BodyLanguageProjectCom - Cowboy Pose 2BodyLanguageProjectCom - Cowboy Pose 3Cowboy pose or stance:  This posture happens by placing the thumbs in the belt with the remaining fingers pointed downwards towards the crotch.  The cowboy pose was popularized by old western movies.  Cowboys would use a combination of this posture and the hands on hips (or gun) posture to show how macho they were.  Because it draws attention to the crotch, it is rarely used by women.

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Conscious critical faculty or critical factor: A term that describes the separation of the conscious mind and subconscious mind protected by a “membrane” of sorts which inhibits contradictory ideas from becoming incorporated due to previously accepted ideas – be they true and accurate, or false.  Thus, from all sets of sensory inputs, the mind carefully screens which new information is incorporated and which is rejected.  This is part of why making major changes in thinking is difficult or even impossible for some.  For example, a person who believes that they are “stupid” will reject information that does not agree with this assessment.  Proponents of this idea believe that the CCF is solidified early in life.  The CCF applies to nonverbal communication only when it becomes desirable to influence people through signals because it is impossible to “tug” on a person’s mind strings without first bypassing their CCF.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Crossing 1BodyLanguageProjectCom - Crossing 2BodyLanguageProjectCom - Crossing 3Crossing: A body posture wherein the arms or legs come together or are folded.  It can represents a closed body position and an unreceptive mind or when amongst close friends total comfort indicating a lack of desire to exercise a quick exit.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Cross-MirroringCross-mirroring: A less obvious form of mirroring, where body movements and postures are replicated, but not exactly.  For example, if a foot is tapped, a finger might be tapped in unison, or preening various parts of the body together instead of the exact same.  Cross mirroring might mean raising the opposite hand to stroke the side of the face rather than the same hand and so forth.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Crotch Display 3BodyLanguageProjectCom - Crotch Display 2BodyLanguageProjectCom - Crotch Display 1Crotch display: Any body language gesture that directly or indirectly draws attention to the genitals.  They include the cowboy pose by interlocking the fingers in belt loops, leg spreading while seated, placing the hands on the hips and throwing a leg over the leg of a chair.  In women, it implies easiness or crassness and in men, a dominance display.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Crying, Damp Eyes Or Teary EyesCrying, damp eyes or teary eyes: Damp eyes can have many nonverbal meanings.  They can indicate tiredness or suppressed weeping, anxiety or sadness.  Crying symbolizes an overflowing of emotions such as sadness from emotional hurt, from pain due to physical hurt, or even from extreme joy.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Cue ClusterCue cluster: Refers to a group of individual units of body language that occur either simultaneously or nearly simultaneously.  Units of body language in combination create a new meaning and establish a more accurate and fuller picture of intent.  An example of a cue cluster is legs crossed at the ankle accompanied by one arm across the mid section of the body touching the elbow of the other arm with that hand touching the face.  This cue cluster signals a closed or timid body.

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Cultivated images or image: A type of styling that is aimed at mirroring a specific movement, or in other words, to look a part.  Common image types include Country, Punk, Businessman, Hippie, Jock, GQ, Grunge and Biker.  A cultivated image can sometimes simply be an over-costume with nothing to back it, or might go deeper into a person’s persona.  Either signal can be telling of a person.

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Cultural differences: Changes in frequencies that occur in body language based on geographic location.  Not all body language has the same meaning cross-culturally and some gestures are found to be offensive in some areas while other areas see the same gestures in a positive light.

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Curbside appeal: A term that refers to the exterior character of a building or establishment such as a home, business or office.  It is those aesthetic parts which are visible as one approaches and provides nonverbal information to the activities conducted inside as well as its owners.  It includes the façade, the way the plants and flowers are kept, the signage, the upkeep for the paint, lighting, parking and so on.  Loosely it can also be applied to humans who also have curbside appeal who demonstrate what their “insides” contain.

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Curtsey or curtsy: The female equivalent of the male bow where a women bends at the knees by placing one foot behind the other in accompaniment with a slight head bow and a lifting of the skirt to knee height.

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Curved arm:  An arm distancing posture done by thrusting the elbow outward facing down or horizontally.  It is defensive in nature meant to reclaim personal space.

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Communication accommodation theory: A part of NLP or neurolinguistic programming in which a person matches speech patterns, dialect, speech rate or tempo, pitch, tonality, voice inflection, use of words and even accent in order to actively build rapport and create flow between them and whomever they are speaking to.

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Confidence or confident (or leadership) body language: Any body language that conveys security.  It includes leading (and controlling) conversations, tend to be surrounded by people (who follow), use good proxemics, volunteer for difficult tasks, listen well, smile pleasantly, have a firm handshake, are well dressed with good hygiene, dress appropriate for the situation, seldom follow faddish trends, are willing to engage in conversations, are physically active, have conservative haircuts, have erect upright postures with head held high and hands out of pockets, face their company head-on, and other body language that shows comfort rather then discomfort.

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Conservative style: A nonverbal term signal that includes clothing with subdued colours, classic styles, and ordinary accessories that do not produce interest.  People who wear this type of dress are not seeking attention and would prefer to blend in.  Conservative dressers often care about the opinions of others and want to fit in, are conformists, are practical, authoritarian, analytical and less creative than flamboyant dressers.  They are often more conventional thinkers.

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Context: One of the most important factors in reading body language.  Context refers to the entirety of the situation in which the language appears.  It includes the words being spoken, the location, all of the people present, surrounding noises and dialogues, the history of the dialogue and social connections to other people or events.  Context refers to any and all factors that relate to the body language at hand and must be accounted for to determine accurately the meaning delivered.

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Congruence: Relates to body language that is consistent across a person.  The body language is said to be congruent if all body language match’s a specific emotion or intention.  We can use lack of congruence to detect liars for example.

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Cultural zone shock: The discomfort felt when people meet from two different countries who’s spatial needs are drastically different.  The shock is more pronounced when cultures that require a lot of personal space meet those who require very little personal space.

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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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