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Kinesics is the interpretation of body motion communication such as
facial expression A facial expression is one or more motions or positions of the muscle Skeletal muscles (commonly referred to as muscles) are organs An organ is a group of tissues with similar functions. Plant life and animal life rely on many organs that ...
s and
gesture A gesture is a form of non-verbal communication Nonverbal communication (NVC) is the transmission of messages or signals through a nonverbal platform such as eye contact Eye contact occurs when two people look at each other's eyes at the ...
s, nonverbal behavior related to movement of any part of the body or the body as a whole. The equivalent popular culture term is
body language Body language is a type of nonverbal communication Nonverbal communication (NVC) is the transmission of messages or signals through a nonverbal platform such as eye contact, facial expressions, gestures, Posture (psychology), posture, and bo ...

body language
, a term
Ray Birdwhistell Ray L. Birdwhistell (September 29, 1918 – October 19, 1994) was an American anthropologistAn anthropologist is a person engaged in the practice of anthropology. Anthropology is the study of aspects of humans within past and present Society, societ ...

Ray Birdwhistell
, considered the founder of this area of study, neither used nor liked (on the grounds that what can be conveyed with the body does not meet the linguist's definition of language).


Birdwhistell's work

Kinesics was first used in 1952 by an
anthropologistAn anthropologist is a person engaged in the practice of anthropology. Anthropology is the study of aspects of humans within past and present Society, societies. Social anthropology, cultural anthropology and philosophical anthropology study the norm ...
named
Ray Birdwhistell Ray L. Birdwhistell (September 29, 1918 – October 19, 1994) was an American anthropologistAn anthropologist is a person engaged in the practice of anthropology. Anthropology is the study of aspects of humans within past and present Society, societ ...

Ray Birdwhistell
. Birdwhistell wished to study how people communicate through posture, gesture, stance and movement. His ideas over several decades were synthesized and resulted in the book ''Kinesics and Context.'' Interest in kinesics specifically and nonverbal behaviour generally was popularized in the late 1960s and early 1970s by such popular mass-market (nonacademic) publications as ''How to Read a Person Like a Book''. Part of Birdwhistell's work involved filming people in social situations and analyzing them to show elements of communication that were not seen otherwise. One of his most important projects was ''The Natural History of an Interview,'' a long-term interdisciplinary collaboration including
Gregory Bateson Gregory Bateson (9 May 1904 – 4 July 1980) was an English anthropologistAn anthropologist is a person engaged in the practice of anthropology. Anthropology is the study of aspects of humans within past and present Society, societies. Social an ...
,
Frieda Fromm-Reichmann Frieda Fromm-Reichmann (October 23, 1889 in Karlsruhe Karlsruhe (, also , ; formerly spelled Carlsruhe) is the second-largest List of cities and towns in Germany, city of the Germany, German federal state of Baden-Württemberg after its capital o ...
, Norman A. McQuown, Henry W. Brosin and others. Drawing heavily on
descriptive linguistics In the study of language, description or descriptive linguistics is the work of objectively analyzing and describing how language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning ...
, Birdwhistell argued that all movements of the body have meaning and that nonverbal behaviour has a
grammar In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the ...
that can be analyzed in similar terms to spoken language. Thus, a "kineme" is "similar to a
phoneme In phonology and linguistics, a phoneme is a unit of sound that distinguishes one word from another in a particular language. For example, in most List of dialects of English, dialects of English, with the notable exception of the West Midlan ...
because it consists of a group of movements which are not identical, but which may be used interchangeably without affecting social meaning." Birdwhistell estimated that no more than 30 to 35 percent of the social meaning of a conversation or an interaction is carried by the words. He also concluded that there were no universals in these kinesic displays, a claim that was disputed by
Paul Ekman Paul Ekman (born February 15, 1934) is an American psychologist A psychologist is a person who studies normal and abnormal mental states, perceptual, cognitive, emotional, and social processes and behavior by experimenting with, and observin ...

Paul Ekman
, who was interested in analysis of universals, especially in
facial expression A facial expression is one or more motions or positions of the muscle Skeletal muscles (commonly referred to as muscles) are organs An organ is a group of tissues with similar functions. Plant life and animal life rely on many organs that ...
.


Modern applications

In a current application, kinesic behavior is sometimes used as signs of
deception Deception or falsehood is an act or statement which misleads, hides the truth, or promotes a belief, concept, or idea that is not true. It is often done for personal gain or advantage. Deception can involve dissimulation, propaganda and sleight ...
by interviewers looking for clusters of movements to determine the veracity of the statement being uttered, although kinesics can be equally applied in any context and type of setting to construe innocuous messages whose carriers are indolent or unable to express verbally. Relevant concepts include: *Emblems - Body movements or gestures that are directly translatable into a word or phrase *Illustrators - Accompany or reinforce verbal messages **Batons - Temporally accent or emphasize words or phrases **Ideographs - Trace the paths of mental journeys **Deictic movements - Point to a present object **Kinetographs - Depict a bodily action **Spatial movements - Depict a spatial relationship **Pictographs - Draw a picture of their referent **Rhythmic movements - Depict the rhythm or pacing of an event *Affect Displays - Show emotion *Regulators - Control the flow and pace of communication *Manipulators - Release physical or emotional tension Kinesic behaviors are an important part of
nonverbal communication Nonverbal communication (NVC) is the transmission of messages or signals through a nonverbal platform such as eye contact Eye contact occurs when two people look at each other's eyes at the same time. In human beings Humans (''Homo sapi ...
. Body movements convey information, but interpretations vary by culture. As many movements are carried out at a subconscious or at least a low-awareness level, kinesic movements carry a significant risk of being misinterpreted in an intercultural communication situation.


See also

*
Intercultural competence Cultural competence, also known as intercultural competence, is a continuous and life long journey to increase people's skills in being proficient in intercultural and intra cultural knowledgeDeardorff, D. K. (2009). ''The Sage handbook of intercul ...
*
Metacommunicative competenceMeta-communication - (Etymology: Gk, meta + L, communicare, to inform), or metacommunication, is a secondary communication (including indirect cues) about About may refer to: * About (surname) * About.com, an online source for original informatio ...
*
Nonverbal communication Nonverbal communication (NVC) is the transmission of messages or signals through a nonverbal platform such as eye contact Eye contact occurs when two people look at each other's eyes at the same time. In human beings Humans (''Homo sapi ...
**
Body language Body language is a type of nonverbal communication Nonverbal communication (NVC) is the transmission of messages or signals through a nonverbal platform such as eye contact, facial expressions, gestures, Posture (psychology), posture, and bo ...

Body language
**
Cold Reading Cold reading is a set of techniques used by mentalists Mentalism is a performing art in which its practitioners, known as mentalists, appear to demonstrate highly developed mental or intuitive abilities. Performances may appear to include h ...
**
Eye contact Eye contact occurs when two people look at each other's eyes at the same time. In human beings Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification ...

Eye contact
**
Facial expression A facial expression is one or more motions or positions of the muscle Skeletal muscles (commonly referred to as muscles) are organs An organ is a group of tissues with similar functions. Plant life and animal life rely on many organs that ...
**
Gesture A gesture is a form of non-verbal communication Nonverbal communication (NVC) is the transmission of messages or signals through a nonverbal platform such as eye contact Eye contact occurs when two people look at each other's eyes at the ...
** Posture **
Proxemics Proxemics is the study of human use of space and the effects that population density has on behaviour, communication, and social interaction. Proxemics is one among several subcategories in the study of nonverbal communication Nonverbal communi ...

Proxemics
*
Paralanguage Paralanguage, also known as vocalics, is a component of meta-communication that may modify meaning, give nuanced meaning, or convey emotion, by using techniques such as prosody, pitch, volume Volume is the quantity of three-dimensional space ...


References


External links


Report on kinesics
by David B. Givens for the Center for Nonverbal Studies.
On the Origin of Language
by Andrej Poleev. {{Nonverbal communication Linguistics Nonverbal communication Interpersonal communication