Week 9: Body Language, Present and Future

This week lecture, we had three special guests, Rachel Mayeri, Dr. Deborah Forster, and Dr. Adam Burgasser whose talks gauge me towards a topic that I have been following and find interesting, and that is body language. As Deborah Bell have said, “body language is a very powerful tool. We had body language before we had speech, and apparently, 80% of what you understand in a conversation is read through the body, not the word.” As I listen to Mayeri’s lecture on her film series Primate Cinema , I was reminded by Deborah Bell’s quote. One of the film was Primate Cinema: Apes as Family  is an 11 minute single channel film and a two channel video installation that follows a young female chimpanzee  as she befriends a wild group of foreigners. The drama is intercut with the chimps’ responses to the film, when it premiered at the zoo. The project creates a prism for human beings to learn about the inner world of chimpanzees. By watching a movie through these  chimps’ eyes, we can imagine what they think and feel.

231754520_1280x725 What makes a chimpanzee unique is that although they couldn’t speak vocally like humans do today, they use their body as a way to communicate  with their peers. The sounds they hear and the expression of humans interacting with the chimpanzees, these chimps move in a way to express how they feel.  We ourselves are no different from these chimpanzees, not just because they are our closest relatives but a lot of what we do and how we view others in today;s society are also through our body language.

A show that I continue to rewatch again and again is Lie To Me,, an American crime drama back in 2009 that assist in investigations, reaching the truth through applied psychology, interpreting microexpressions, and body language. From this trailer, you notice that just from the face alone, a lot can be said from just slightly moving your eyebrows, flaring your nostrils, or even having a smirk on your mouth. Why I bring this up is because these small details can truly define an individual if we can manipulate how we interact with other people.

It isn’t easy to try and arrest someone if there isn’t enough evidences. But by manipulating our questions, we can slowly begin to read the body language of the individuals and make an attempt to tell the truth.

Body language can also be seen from the hands. Allan Pease spoke at Marquarie University and explaining that how we think and react and come from simple as simple as the palm of a hand. The video is long but I highly encourage you guys to watch it.

The body language is a powerful tool that can be used to speak to another person. Imagine a person who cannot speak or is afraid to speak, we can use our body, our gesture, and our facial expression to convey the message we want to convey. While we are more sophisticated than chimpanzees today, our body language speaks a thousand words. While body language is used today to conceive how we imagine others, we should be thinking about how we can use body language in other settings. There is a lot that can be done. For example, we can use body language in psychology tests and see how one interpret that individuals. From there, data can be collected to observe the brain as to how people are thinking or to even see if an individual is functioning properly. Body language is a common practice among friends and family and a lot can be said about that individual, but the question is can we take the art of body language to a new level and use that to our advantage in interpreting individuals.

~ Kevin Trieu-Nguyen


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