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Have you ever wondered what someone was thinking by how they were acting?
The answer may be in Kinesics– the study of body language. By understanding how to read people’s body language, you can gain insights into their thoughts, feelings, and intentions.
We can also call it Nonverbal communication because it’s the process of sending and receiving messages without using words.
In this article, we will discuss the basics of Kinesics and explore some of how it can be used to understand others better.
What is Kinesics? (Definition)
Kinesics is the study of body movements, gestures, and facial expressions. It is an integral part of communication that involves nonverbal cues such as eye contact or posture changes to convey information about what you want others to know about yourself.
The term “kinesics” was coined by anthropologist Ray Birdwhistell in 1952 from two Greek words: kinesis (movement) and kinesthesia (feeling). The study of these movements is known as Kinesics.
Kinesics is a helpful tool for understanding how people communicate with one another and how they use their body language to express themselves. It can help you better understand what others may be feeling when they speak or act out of sorts, which in turn will allow you to respond accordingly so as not to offend them unnecessarily.
Related: What is Communication?
What does Kinesics mean in communication?
Kinesics is the study of body language and facial expression in communication. It involves nonverbal cues such as eye contact, posture changes, and gestures to convey information about oneself.
Kinesic communication involves the transference of nonverbal messages and can be used to understand the way people communicate with one another. For example, it can help you better understand what others may be feeling when they speak or act out of sorts, which in turn will allow you to respond accordingly so as not to offend them unnecessarily.
Kinesics is an essential aspect of communication and can help us understand others better through body language. We all use kinesic cues daily without even realizing it!
What are the 5 types of Kinesics?
There are five types of Kinesics:
Emblems are nonverbal signals OR body movements that have specific meanings. An example is the “thumbs up” sign for a good job! Another would be waving one’s hand in front of their face to indicate that something smells bad or unpleasant. Examples include pointing at someone when speaking about them and crossing one’s arms over the chest.
Illustrators are body movements that complement verbal communication. An example is shaking one’s head “no” when you’re saying, “I don’t know.” Another would be using your hands to show how big or small something is. Examples include nodding one’s head in agreement and rubbing one’s temples when trying to remember something.
3. Affect displays
Affect displays, which are facial expressions and body postures that express emotions. An example would be a smile to show happiness or sadness expressed in the eyes. Another would be putting your hands on your hips to display anger. Examples include sticking out one’s tongue to show disgust and scrunching up one’s nose to show disgust.
Regulators are body movements that control the flow of conversation. An example is a nod to indicate agreement or understanding during a discussion with someone else; another would be raising your hand when you want to speak. Examples include nodding in agreement and raising fingers for somebody else not to talk over you.
Adaptors are body movements that satisfy physical needs (such as scratching an itch). An example would be putting your hands on your stomach when hungry. Another adapter would include adjusting one’s glasses to relieve eye strain during reading or working at the computer screen for long periods without breaks. Examples include: rubbing one’s neck after a long day or stretching before getting out of bed in the morning.
Adapters are not designed to be used in conversation. However, they represent behaviors learned early in life and can be heightened when anxiety rises in the situation.
Each type of kinesic behavior is used to communicate a specific message. By understanding these different types and their meanings, you can better interpret the body language displayed by others around you!
Related: 4 Types of Verbal Communication
What are the differences between Kinesics and proxemics?
Kinesics and proxemics are both types of nonverbal communication. Kinesics is the study of body language, facial expressions, and gestures used in communication. Proxemics is the study of how people use space to communicate with one another.
Both Kinesics and proxemics are important to understand when decoding non-verbal communication. Kinesics tells us about the body language of others, while proxemics helps us read into what someone is saying through their use of space around them!
What are kinesic cues?
Kinesic cues include facial expressions (such as smiling), eye gaze direction, head nods or shakes when listening to another person, and body posture (such as leaning forward or back when sitting).
Kinesic cues can help us understand someone is feeling and what they are thinking. We can better respond to the other person’s conversation by paying attention to these cues! For example, if someone is frowning while talking to you, it may indicate that they are upset about something in their life.
What are the Examples of Kinesics?
Below are just a few examples of Kinesics in everyday life – there are many more!
1. Facial Expressions
Facial expressions are one of the most common forms of Kinesics. They can tell us a lot about a person’s emotions and thoughts. For example, if someone is smiling, we may assume that they are happy or content. However, if someone is frowning, on the other hand, we may think that they are sad or angry.
Gestures are another common form of Kinesics. They can be used to emphasize what you are saying or to show agreement or understanding with the person you are talking to. For example, if you want to underscore a point that you are making, you might gesture emphatically with your hands. If someone nods their head in agreement when talking, they display a kinesic cue.
3. Eye Gaze
Eye gaze is another important kinesic cue to pay attention to. It can tell us a lot about what someone is thinking or feeling. For example, if someone looks away when you are talking to them, they may be indicating that they are not interested in what you have to say. Alternatively, if someone maintains eye contact with you while talking, they may be suggesting that they are interested in what you have to say.
How do we use Kinesics?
Kinesic behavior can show emotions such as happiness, sadness, anger, fear, and love. It can also show feelings such as boredom, excitement, or anxiety.
Kinesics can also convey messages about a person’s attitude or opinion on something. For example, if you are nodding your head in agreement with someone else, they will most likely take that as a sign that you agree with them.
Similarly, if someone is frowning while talking to you, that may indicate that they are unhappy about something – perhaps the topic of conversation?
It’s important to note that Kinesics can vary depending on culture – what may be seen as a positive or negative cue in one culture may not be seen as such in another.
In addition to expressing emotions and attitudes through body language, kinesic behavior can also provide information about a person’s health status or level of stress because body movements convey meaning. For example, if someone is sweating profusely, that may indicate they are feeling nervous or anxious (or even sick).
Kinesic cues are just one way we communicate nonverbally, but they can be very powerful! Understanding how people use body language to express their feelings and attitudes will help us interpret what others might think or feel in any situation.
A single kinesic cue may not always tell you everything someone is thinking or feeling. Still, you can usually get a pretty good idea by paying attention to various signals and using your best judgment!
So the next time you are talking to someone, take a moment to watch their body movement or language and see what they are trying to tell you. You might be surprised at what you learn! 🙂