Use of Paralanguage and Kinesics in Everyday Life

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Use of Paralanguage and Kinesics in Everyday Life

The use of kinesics and paralanguage in everyday life is the most prominent use of persuasion we use subconsciously. They are used subconsciously because you may not know what they mean. Which can cause cultural tension if you do something that may seem harmless to you but may be a great insult to another culture. Paralanguage has many forms such as whistling which can be used by many people as a means of entertaining by whistling a song or even in American culture used to hound women on the streets because they appear to be attractive. These two uses of persuasion I will discuss about in my paper. I will discuss the history of both and also how they are used today in everyday life.

To start of with I will define kinesics. Kinesics is articulation of the body, or movement resulting from muscular and skeletal shift. This includes all actions, physical or physiological, automatic reflexes, posture, facial expressions, gestures, and other body movements. Body language, body idiom, gesture language, organ language and kinesic acts are just some terms used to depict kinesics. In ways that body language works in nonverbal acts, body language parallels paralanguage. Kinesic acts may substitute for language, accompany it, or modify it. Kinesic acts may be lexical or informative and directive in nature, or they may be emotive or empathic movements. Posture is one of the components of kinesics. Posture is broken down into three basic positions: bent knees, lying down, and standing. Artists and mimes have always been aware of the range of communication possible through body stance. But there are some cultural differences in posture positions. Most people use the bent knee position to eat, but while the Romans used to eat lying down. Prince Peter of Greece and Denmark described the sleeping posture of the Tibetans before World War II. He said that the local men slept outside at night huddled around the fire, hunched over on their knees with their faces resting in their palms.

In 1932, William James did a study of expression of bodily posture. He recognized the relationship of facial expression, gesture, and posture. He declared that studying each one independently was justified for the purpose of analysis, but they should be recognized as a whole unit that function as an expression. He devised four basic kinds from 347 different postures in his experiment. The four basic kinds are: approach, withdrawal, expansion, and contraction. Approach referred to such things as attention, interest, scrutiny, and curiosity. Withdrawal involved drawing back or turning away, refusal, repulsion, and disgust. Expansion referred to the expanded chest, erect trunk and head, and raised shoulders, which conveyed pride, conceit, arrogance, disdain, mastery, and self-esteem. Contraction was characterized by forward trunk, bowed head, drooping shoulders, and sunken chest. Studies have identified postural behavior with personality types and ways of life, for example relaxation, assertiveness, and restraint; and have noted the correlation of certain kinds of movement in sleeping and waking acts. Posture is a substantial marker of feminine and masculine behavior. The relationship of posture to sex gestures is obvious in the stereotypes in U.S. advertising. Posture is an indicator of status and rank and is also a marker of etiquette. In a study of Roman sculpture and coinage, Brilliant demonstrates that posture identifies the noble and the peasant. In Western culture one was taught to stand when an elderly person enters the room.

The face seems to be the most obvious component of body language, but it is certainly the most confusing and difficult to understand. Modern studies of facial expressions dates back to the nineteenth century, starting with Charles Bell, who in 1806, published Essays on the Anatomy and Philosophy of Expression: As Connected with the Fine Arts....