Although not an exact science, the serious student of body language can gain an extraordinary advantage in both social and professional situations.
Okay……so Is It Learned Or Instinctual?Good questions! Body language is BOTH a learned and instinctual process. Some of it is hard wired and therefore the same in all humans – the rest varies depending upon how and where the person was raised.
Let’s take a closer lookFor example, some facial expressions (like smiling to indicate happiness and frowning to indicate displeasure) are universal.
These gestures stem from hard wired impulses – signals sent directly from the lower brain to the facial muscles. As a result, there isn’t a lot of opportunity for a person to purposefully modify their expression, and you see the SAME expression from culture to culture all around the world.
By the way, the idea that certain forms of nonverbal communication are universal to all humans dates all the way back to Darwin – documenting that interest in body language goes as far back as the early 1800’s.
But many aspects of body language DO vary from person to person and culture to culture, indicating that body language is also a LEARNED process. In other words:
The body language we convey to the world is a combination of instinct, learned behavior and imitation of others.
If you want to learn more about body language, just read this books: