Communication and Body Language

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When people communicate, they hardly notice their body languages. They do not realize that their body language is just as powerful as their words. Communication can be affected by the body language. Through body language, two people can communicate without ever saying anything. Through body language people can predict which certain characteristic a person posses. These characteristics can be masculine, feminine, or androgyny. Body language includes body hand gestures and other non verbal methods of communication. Nonverbal communication can be affected not only based on society’s view of a particular sex and what its characteristics should be, but also one’s cultural beliefs. Body language is very important to study and understand because it varies culturally, and can be easily misinterpreted. By understand that there are certain body language that might mean something to one person, and something else to another person, we allow ourselves to become more open minded. Body language is an important study because society has come to attach it to a certain sex. Therefore by studying the body language we begin to understand that no particular body language should be attached to any sex. Men and women differ in the way they use body language during communication. Facial expression, hand gestures, eyes movements, are all part of the body language expressed during a communication. Women of today are perceived to use more body language during communication than men. Men on the other hand are perceived to be louder and use less body language during a conversation; of course this is just a perception. We all participate in nonverbal communication every day. Sometimes we are so accustomed to it that we do not realize when we’re using it. Society is a major contributor to how much a man and a woman uses body language during a conversation (Ambady, Corner, & Hallahan, 1999). 1 Today’s society demands that a man be masculine and a woman be feminine. Through observation, both sexes are able to learn how to interact during a conversation. Society uses nonverbal communication as a means of distinguishing between men and women. For many years, society has played a role in distinguishing between men and women. For years, society saw to it that men were the breadwinners and women were the housewives. Society succeeded for a while in its attempt to make sure that the men were in leadership positions. It played a role in determining how a man behaved, dressed, acted and looked like. Men were to not show any emotion during a conversation. They were to maintain distance when talking to same sex friends. Women were to show emotions and were to communicate within close distance from each other. There have been many research conducted in the attempt to differentiates the biological effect and societal effect on nonverbal communication. Many of these studies concluded that society was a major contributor to which sex is more likely to use nonverbal communication. A person’s class within a society also determines how likely he or she will use nonverbal communication. Upper classes people are taught to conduct themselves in a certain way from adolescent. This training is also part of the expectation that is governed by society. According to Birdwhistell (1970), men and women use body language in the manner they do, because they need to be recognized in society as male or female. Research conducted between 1973 and 1984, disagreed on who is more likely to initiate touch. One research concluded that men were more likely to touch women than the opposite. According to this research, men use touch as a means of expressing their dominance over women. The contradicting research argued that men are not the ones who initiate touch; women did (Stier & Hall, 1984). According to their findings, women feel awkward when they are touched by a man because society has taught them to...
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