Peoplewatching the desmond morris guide to body language pdf


 

PDF | Desmond Morris has his scrutinized footprints in the field of zoology, ethology, socio-biology, surrealistic painting and television. Peoplewatching - the Desmond Morris Guide to Body Language - Desmond Morris - Ebook download as PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or view presentation. people watching - Ebook download as PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or view ALSO BY DESMOND MORRIS The Biology of Art The Mammals: a Guide to the . human species is an extraordinary animal. our own body language will start to .

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Peoplewatching The Desmond Morris Guide To Body Language Pdf

Downloads PDF Peoplewatching: The Desmond Morris Guide to Body Language, PDF Downloads Peoplewatching: The Desmond Morris. Peoplewatching: The Desmond Morris Guide to Body Language. Publisher: Vintage (). Language: English Size: MB. Format: PDF / ePub / Kindle. This book is an excellent reference for body language. Morris doesn't claim that it' ll give you better social skills or that you'll be able to "read" people; he makes it.

This is a revised, enlarged and updated version of my pub- lication called Manwatching. Although that title became well known, some critics voiced an objection to the use of the word 'Man' the name scientists use for our species. They confused it with the word 'Male' and saw it as insulting to the female gender, implying that I was somehow giving preference to males when discussing human behaviour. For many years I ignored this criticism because it was clear from the text that there was no gender bias. However, now that, for the first time, a revised text is being published, I feel it is wise to dispel any false impressions that the original title might have given, and to replace it with Peoplewatching. This new name may be slightly cumbersome, but it will at least avoid confusion among those who judge a book by its cover rather than its content. But he is a student of human behaviour, not a voyeur. To have helped me with my studies of human body language, a long- him, the way an elderly gentleman waves to a friend is quite as term investigation which began in the s. A complete list exciting as the way a young girl crosses her legs. He is a field would run to literally hundreds of names, but I would like to observer of human actions, and his field is everywhere - at the mention in particular the following, to whom I owe my special bus-stop, the supermarket, the airport, the street corner, the thanks: dinner party and the football match. Wherever people behave, there the peoplewatcher has something to learn - something Michael Argyle, David Attenborough, Robert Attenborough, about his fellow men and, ultimately, about himself. But the serious peoplewatcher wants to know why these feelings are aroused.

This happens in human populations, too, with the result that juveniles are ill-treated in a way that leads to later revenge of a violent kind. This revenge is not taken on the parents who caused the damage because they are now old or dead. Instead it is taken on parent substitutes. Violence against these individuals appears to be senseless, and their innocence leads to comments about the 'animal savagery - unprovoked brutality of a wild beast' perpetrated by the attacker.

It is never clear which wild beast is being cast in this role, or why the wild beast should want to make an unprovoked attack, but the implication is obvious enough. The violent man who performs the assault is being pictured as someone who has given in to his primeval, inborn urge to attack his companions and try to kill them. Judges are repeatedly quoted as describing thugs and muggers as 'wild animals' and thereby reviving the fallacy that man is naturally violent, and that only if he suppresses his natural urges can he become a helpful, co-operative member of society.

Ironically, the inborn factor that is most likely to be making the major contribution to the savageries of modern war is the powerful human inclination to co-operate. This is a legacy from our ancient hunting past, when we had to co-operate or starve. It was the only way we could hope to defeat large prey animals. All that a modern dictator has to do is to play on this inherent sense of human group-loyalty and to expand and organize this group into a full-scale army.

By converting the naturally helpful into the excessively patriotic, he can easily persuade them to kill strangers, not as acts of inborn brutality, but as laudable acts of companion-protection.

If our ancestors had not become so innately co-operative, it might be much more difficult today to raise an army and send it into battle as an organized force. For there is a potential danger in the rival claim that for mankind all is learned and nothing is genetically inherited.

Statements, like a recent one that 'everything a human being does as such he has had to learn from other human beings' are as politically dangerous as the 'innate killer' errors of opposing extremists.

They can easily feed the power-greed of totalitarian dictators by giving them the impression that society can be moulded into any shape they may desire.

A young human life is seen merely as a blank canvas on which the state can paint any picture it wishes, the term 'state' being a coy word meaning 'party-leaders'. If, as seems much more probable, the truth is that mankind still possesses a wide range of valuable inborn behaviour patterns, then dictators are sooner or later going to find resistance to extreme forms of social organization.

For a while they may - and have - dominated large populations with extremist doctrines, but not for long. As time passes, people begin to revert, either by sudden upheaval or by slow, creeping changes, to a form of daily life more in tune with their animal inheritance. It is doubtful whether the day-by-day social intercourse of modern man in the twenty-first century is very different from that of prehistoric man. If we could return, by time machine, to an early cave-dwelling, we would no doubt hear the same kind of laughter, see the same kind of facial expressions, and witness the same sorts of quarrels, love affairs, acts of parental devotion and friendly co-operation as we do today.

We may have advanced with abstraction and artefaction, but our urges and our actions are probably much the same. We should examine carefully the myth that our cave-man ancestors were inarticulate, violent, raping, club-swinging louts. The more we learn about ape and human behaviour, the more this story looks like a moralizer's confidence trick. If our friendly, loving actions are inborn, then, of course, the moralizers can take little credit for them, and if there is one thing moralizers seem to love above all else it is taking credit for society's good behaviour.

Artefaction and the advance of technology is another question. It has brought us many admitted advantages. But it is worth remembering that many technological advances are geared to the reduction of the stress, pollution and discomfort caused by When examined closely, technology can usually be found to be serving one or other of our ancient action-patterns.

The television set, for example, is a miracle of artefaction, but what do we see on it? Mostly we watch simulations of the quarrels, love affairs, parental devotion, and other age-old action-patterns just mentioned. Even in our TV armchairs we are still men of action, if only at second hand. We cannot learn an arm or a leg, in the way that we can learn a salute or a high kick.

The prize-fighter and the chronic invalid have precisely the same set of muscles. In the fighter they are better developed, but they remain the same muscles none the less. The environment cannot alter a man's basic anatomical make-up during his lifetime, except in such extreme cases as mutilation or surgery. It follows that, if we all inherit basically similar hands, arms and legs, we will all be likely to gesticulate, fold our arms, and cross our legs in much the same way in every culture.

In other words, when we observe a New Guinea tribesman folding his arms exactly like a German banker or a Tibetan farmer, we may not be observing a truly inborn action, but rather a Discovered Action.

The tribesman, the banker and the farmer each inherit a pair of arms of the same design. At some stage in their lives, by a process of personal trial and error, they each discover the possibilities of folding their arms across the chest. So it is the arms that are inherited, not the action. Given those particular arms, however, it is almost inevitable that, even without copying from their companions, they will arrive at the arms-fold action.

This is halfway to being inborn; it is an action based on a 'genetic suggestion', via the anatomy, rather than on a direct genetic instruction. Our Discovered Actions are unconsciously acquired as we get to know our bodies during the long process of growing up. We are not even aware of their addition to our childhood repertoire and in most cases we have no idea precisely how we perform them - which arm crosses over which, or which way our hands move as we speak.

Many Discovered Actions are so widespread that they could easily be mistaken for inborn patterns and it is this fact that has given rise to many of the needless arguments about inbornversus-learned behaviour. It does not show any major changes as one moves from one culture to another, but it does show slight variation from person to person. This is because we do not learn the action from others, but discover it for ourselves without knowing quite how.

How do you fold your arms? You may fold left-over-right or right-over-left, and you probably cannot reverse the movement without feeling strangely awkward. As with Discovered Actions, we are not aware of how or when we first acquired them.

Unlike Discovered Actions, however, they tend to vary from group to group, culture to culture, and nation to nation. As a species we are strongly imitative and it is impossible for a healthy individual to grow up and live in a community without becoming infected with its typical action-patterns.

The way we walk and stand, laugh and grimace, are all subject to this influence. Many actions are first performed solely because we have observed them in our companions' behaviour. It is difficult to recognize this in your own behaviour, because the process of absorption is so subtle and you are seldom aware that it has happened, but it is easy to detect in minority groups within your own society.

Homosexual males display a number of actions peculiar to their social group, for example. A schoolboy who will eventually join this group shows none of these, and his public behaviour differs little from that of his school friends.

But as soon as he has joined an adult homosexual community in a large city he rapidly adopts their characteristic action-patterns. His wrist actions change and so does his walking and standing posture. His neck movements become more exaggerated, throwing his head out of its neutral position more frequently. He adopts more protrusive lip postures and his tongue movements become more visible and active.

It could be argued that such a male is deliberately behaving in a more feminine manner, but his actions are not precisely female. Nor are they absorbed from females, but from other homosexual males. They are passed on, time and again, from one male to another in his social group. Soon they were adopted by many young adults of both sexes right across America and Europe, and following this trend came the flop-out posture.

The young in question began to sit or lie on the floors of their rooms instead of in conventional seating, and also on the steps and pavements of cities, their legs sprawled out on rough or unclean surfaces that only jeans could defy.

Each summer in Amsterdam, Paris and London, the squatting, reclining figures could be seen in their hundreds, and the postural contrast with previous generations was striking. A manifestation of this change was to be seen in the s at open-air pop-music festivals, where whole days were spent lying on the ground and no attempt was made to provide any form of seating. Jeans were not the whole story, however. The process went beyond clothing.

There was a deeper change, a change in philosophy, that influenced the postural behaviour of the young. They developed an open-mindedness and a relaxed style of thinking that was reflected in a reduction of tension and muscular tonus in their actions.

To the elderly, the body postures and actions that accompanied this change appeared slovenly, but to the objective observer they constituted a behaviour style, not a lack of style.

There is nothing new about this type of change. For literally thousands of years authors have been recording the dismay of older generations at the 'decaying' manners of the young. Sometimes the complaint has been that they have become too foppish or dandyish; at others that they have become too effeminate or perhaps too boisterous or brusque.

On each occasion the postures and gesticulations have changed in various ways, and by a process of rapid absorption the new action-styles have spread like wildfire, only to burn out and be replaced by others.

As with all fashion-changes, it is always impossible to predict which behaviour styles will be the ones to be eagerly emulated and absorbed by the young adults of future epochs.

In many cases they are now so distinct that a true female could, by miming them accurately, make it quite clear that she was not acting in a feminine way, but was instead pretending to be a male homosexual.

Of course, not all homosexual males adopt these exaggerated actions. Many do not feel the need to display in this way. Bearing this in mind, it is significant that whenever a comedian wishes to be derisive at the expense of homosexuals, he mimics the limpwristed, head-tossing, lip-pouting variety, and whenever serious actors portray homosexuals sympathetically, they reduce or omit these elements. It would seem that the heterosexual's intolerance is aroused more by homosexual manners than by homosexual love, which is an intriguing comment on the strength of our reactions to so-called 'trivial' mannerisms.

Human beings are not alone in this tendency to absorb actions from their companions. There are several field studies of monkeys and apes which reveal similar trends, with one colony of animals performing actions that are missing from other colonies of the same species, and which they can be shown to have learned by absorption from inventive individuals in their particular groups. Both in monkeys and humans, it is clear that the status of the individual emulated is important.

The higher his or her status in a group, the more readily he or she is copied by the others. In our own society we absorb most from those we admire.

This operates most actively among close personal contacts, but with mass media communications we also absorb actions from remote celebrities, public figures, and popular idols.

A twentieth-century example of this was the spread of the 'flop-out' resting posture among certain young adults in Western cities. During the s a sprawling posture when relaxing became highly infectious. Like many postural changes, this owes its origin to a change in clothing.

The use of neatly pressed trousers for male casual wear lost ground steadily during the s, with blue jeans taking their place. Jeans, originally modified tent-cloth provided for hard-riding American cowboys, were for many years considered to be suitable only for manual labour. At one end of the scale there are difficult physical achievements such as turning mid-air somersaults, or walking on your hands.

Only expert acrobats can master these activities, after long hours of training. At the other end of the scale there are simple actions such as winking and shaking hands. In some cases these might almost fall into the category of Absorbed Actions, but if children are watched closely it soon becomes clear that the child must first teach itself, deliberately and consciously, many of the actions we adults take for granted.

The hand-shake, so natural to adults, seems unpleasant and awkward to small children and, at the outset, they usually have to be coaxed to offer a hand and then have the appropriate shaking action demonstrated to them. Watching a child first trying to master a knowing wink provides another vivid reminder of how difficult some apparently simple actions can be.

Indeed, some people never do master the wink, even as adults, though it is hard for a winker to understand why. Snapping the fingers, whistling and many other trivial acts fall into this category, in addition to the more obvious, complex skills.

But in distinguishing between the four corresponding types of actions, I do not wish to give the impression that they are rigidly separated.

Many actions owe their adult form to influences from more than one of these categories. To give some examples: Inborn Actions are often drastically modified by social pressures. Infantile crying, for instance, becomes transformed in adult life into anything from silent weeping or suppressed sobbing to hysterical screeching and piteous wailing, according to local cultural influences.

Discovered Actions are frequently influenced in the same way, being strongly modified by the unconscious emulation of social fashions. Sitting with the legs crossed, for instance, may be privately discovered as a pleasing, convenient posture, but the exact form it takes will soon come under the influence of unwritten social rules.

Without realizing it, children, as they grow older, start crossing their legs like other members of their own sex, class, age-group and culture. This will happen almost unnoticed. Even when it is noticed, it will probably not be analysed or understood. A member of one group, mixing with another, will feel ill at ease without realizing why.

The reason will be because the others are moving, posturing and gesticulating in an alien manner. The differences may be subtle, but they will be detectable and will register. A member of Such is the human passion for training that from time to time in the past elaborate attempts were made to teach 'oratorial gesticulation', despite the fact that few people need such instructions. When asked why, he will reply: 'You've only got to look at them.

To continue with the example of leg-crossing - certain American males have been reported as saying that they find European males slightly effeminate.

When this reaction is analysed it turns out to have nothing to do with the sexual behaviour of European males, but rather with the fact that they often sit with one knee crossed over the other knee. To the European this is such a normal posture that he cannot even see it as a posture. It is just a natural way to sit. But to the American male it appears effeminate because, at home, it is more often performed by his female than his male companions. The American male prefers - if he is going to cross his legs - to perform the ankle-knee cross, in which the ankle of one leg rests high up across the knee of the other leg.

A valid objection to this observation could be that many European males often adopt the ankle-knee cross posture and that American males, especially those from major cities, can sometimes be seen sitting with one knee crossed over the other. This is true, but it only underlines the sensitivity of the unconscious reactions people give to the behaviour of their companions.

The difference is only a matter of degree. More European males happen to behave in the one way, more Americans in the other. And yet this minor difference is enough to give a visiting American a distinct feeling that European males are in some way effeminate. In addition to these unconscious modifications there are also many conscious influences. Delightful examples of these can be tracked down in etiquette books from the past, especially in those from the Victorian period, when strict instructions were issued to young adults faced with the behaviour-minefield of correct deportment and good manners at social functions.

With regard to an inborn pattern such as crying, there might be ruthless demands for total suppression. No strong emotions may be shown. Hide your feelings. Do not let go. If a Victorian young lady responded to a tragedy with a few stifled sobs, she might be modifying her inborn urge to weep and scream, either by unconscious emulation of her 'betters', or by 18 conscious adherence to a manual of conduct.

Probably in most cases both were involved, making the final action a mixture of Inborn, Absorbed and Trained. Looking again at leg-crossing, the same situation applies. A Victorian girl was bluntly informed that 'a lady never crosses her legs'. By the earlier part of the twentieth century the rules were relaxed, but only for the most informal of contexts, and girls were still advised to avoid leg-crossing if possible.

If they felt compelled to do it, then they were requested to restrict themselves to a modest form of the action, such as the ankle-ankle cross, rather than the knee-knee cross.

Today this might seem rather irrelevant - almost ancient history - in view of the recent revolutions in social behaviour. If, for example, it is possible to see a naked young woman having her pubic hair combed by a naked young man on the London stage, then, surely, someone will argue, degrees of leg-crossing are strictly the concern of great-grandmothers?

But any serious fieldobserver of human behaviour would instantly deny this. Not only are such prim subtleties still very much with us today, but they are adhered to even by the most liberated individuals.

It is all a matter of context. If you take the actress who permitted her pubic hair to be groomed on stage, clothe her, and set her down in a TV discussion studio, you will find her obeying all the polite rules of standard leg-crossing.

Present her to the Queen at a charity show, and this same person will fall back immediately upon medieval manners and dip her body in an ancient curtsey.

So one must not be misled by cries of total cultural revolution. Old action-patterns rarely die - they merely fade out of certain contexts. They limit their social range, but somehow, somewhere, they usually manage to survive. So tenacious are they, that we are still today giving the sign that the imaginary gladiator may not be spared - when we give the thumbs-down - as if we are ancient Romans, or doffing our imaginary hats - when giving a casual salute - as if we are still clad in bygone headgear.

We may no longer be aware of the original meanings of many I of the actions we perform today, but we continue to use them because we are taught to do so. If we ask them, they do not know. We acquire the act, copying it slavishly, and then pass it on to others, who remain equally ignorant of its origins. In this way, the early history of many actions is rapidly obscured, but this does not hamper their acquisition by new generations.

Soon, they are being passed on, not because they are formally taught, but because we see others doing them and unthinkingly do likewise. They are therefore Mixed Actions of a special kind - they are historically mixed. They are therefore Mixed Actions when viewed across an historical time span, though not necessarily at any one point.

To become a gesture, an act has to be seen by someone else and has to communicate some piece of information to them. It can do this either because the gesturer deliberately sets out to send a signal - as when he waves his hand - or it can do it only incidentally - as when he sneezes.

The hand-wave is a Primary Gesture, because it has no other existence or function. It is a piece of communication from start to finish. The sneeze, by contrast, is a secondary, or Incidental Gesture.

Its primary function is mechanical and is concerned with the sneezer's personal breathing problem. In its secondary role, however, it cannot help but transmit a message to his companions, warning them that he may have caught a cold. Most people tend to limit their use of the term 'gesture' to the primary form - the hand-wave type - but this misses an important point. What matters with gesturing is not what signals we think we are sending out, but what signals are being received.

The observers of our acts will make no distinction between our intentional Primary Gestures and our unintentional, incidental ones. In some ways, our Incidental Gestures are the more illuminating of the two, if only for the very fact that we do not think of them as gestures, and therefore do not censor and manipulate them so strictly.

This is why it is preferable to use the term 'gesture' in its wider meaning as an 'observed action'. A convenient way to distinguish between Incidental and Primary Gestures is to ask the question: Would I do it if I were completely alone? We do not wave, wink, or point when we are by ourselves; not, that is, unless we have reached the unusual condition of talking animatedly to ourselves. But although we do these things for our own benefit, we are not always unaccompanied when we do them.

Our companions learn a great deal about us from these 'personal' actions - not merely that we are scratching because we itch or that we are running because we are late, but also, from the way we do them, what kind of personalities we possess and what mood we are in at the time.

Sometimes the mood signal transmitted unwittingly in this way is one that we would rather conceal, if we stopped to think about it.

Occasionally we do become self-consciously aware of the 'mood broadcasts' and 'personality displays' we are making and we may then try to check ourselves. But often we do not, and the message goes out loud and clear. For instance, if a student props his head on his hands while listening to a boring lecture, his head-on-hands action operates both mechanically and gesturally.

As a mechanical act, it is simply a case of supporting a tired head - a physical act that concerns no one but the student himself. At the same time, though, it cannot help operating as a gestural act, beaming out a visual signal to his companions, and perhaps to the lecturer himself, telling them that he is bored. In such a case his gesture was not deliberate and he may not even have been aware that he was transmitting it.

If challenged, 22 he could claim that he was not bored at all, but merely tired. If he were honest - or impolite - he would have to admit that excited attention easily banishes tiredness, and that a really fascinating speaker need never fear to see a slumped, head-propped figure like his in the audience.

In the schoolroom, the teacher who barks at his pupils to 'sit up straight' is demanding, by right, the attention-posture that he should have gained by generating interest in his lesson. It says a great deal for the power of gesture-signals that he feels more 'attended-to' when he sees his pupils sitting up straight, even though he is consciously well aware of the fact that they have just been forcibly un-slumped, rather than genuinely excited by his teaching.

Many of our Incidental Gestures provide mood information of a kind that neither we nor our companions become consciously alerted to. It is as if there is an underground communication system operating just below the surface of our social encounters. We perform an act and it is observed. Its meaning is read, but not out loud. We 'feel' the mood, rather than analyse it. Occasionally an action of this type becomes so characteristic of a particular situation that we do eventually identify it - as when we say of a difficult problem: 'That will make him scratch his head', indicating that we do understand the link that exists between puzzlement and the Incidental Gesture of head-scratching.

But frequently this type of link operates below the conscious level, or is missed altogether. Where the links are clearer, we can, of course, manipulate the situation and use our Incidental Gestures in a contrived way. If a student listening to a lecture is not tired, but wishes to insult the speaker, he can deliberately adopt a bored, slumped posture, knowing that its message will get across.

This is a Stylized Incidental Gesture - a mechanical action that is being artificially employed as a pure signal. Many of the common 'courtesies' also fall into this category - as when we greedily eat up a plate of food that we do not want and which we do not like, merely to transmit a suitably grateful signal to our hosts. Controlling our Incidental Gestures in this way is one of the processes that every child must learn as it grows up and learns to adapt to the rules of conduct of the society in which it lives.

Five of these are unique to man, and depend on his complex, highly evolved brain. The exception is the category I have called Expressive Gestures. These are gestures of the type which all men, everywhere, share with one another, and which other animals also perform. They include the important signals of Facial Expression, so critical to daily human interaction. If remote tribesmen flash their eye. So either way the argu. Do all people. Animals fight.

Nuns acceptable and unavoidable. Anyone who has studied a number of pri- be sure that this means the reaction must be 'built in' to our mate species. In either case. An action that truly is inborn by selecting only those tendencies that suited the political needs.

Even if a global tour revealed that an abuse was to grab hold of the idea that the human species has action was not worldwide in distribution. To put this in perspective. On the many small actions precisely as we do. There is no reason obtaining scientific proof or disproof where adult behaviour why. But self-defence and companion-protection. For instance. In the case of crowded territories.

They may help us to Ironically. For from some inner. To say that these individuals appears to be senseless. All that human beings do possess inborn aggressive urges of the special. Instead it is taken on parent substitutes. The chances are that the only way we could hope to defeat large prey animals.

Judges are repeatedly quoted as describing thugs and mug- supposed intruders. It is never just too many members of the 'peck-order' and personal rela. It was friendly neighbours by dictatorial warlords.

It would be strange if human group-loyalty and to expand and organize this group into we. A young human life is seen merely as a blank on the parents who caused the damage because they are now old canvas on which the state can paint any picture it wishes.

The innately co-operative. Then the fighting becomes leads to comments about the 'animal savagery. Once again fighting primeval.

Peoplewatching: The Desmond Morris Guide to Body Language by Desmond Morris

They can normal for their species. In other words. This is a legacy from our be used to explain the bombing of cities or the mass invasion of ancient hunting past. This revenge is not taken they may desire. The violent man who performs the everyone appears to be invading everyone else's territory.

In the case of crowded hierarchies. Violence against term 'state' being a coy word meaning 'party-leaders'. If our ancestors had not become so self-assertion are one thing. This happens in human populations. By converting the naturally helpful into the defend ourselves or our offspring when under attack. In the not for long. So it this story looks like a moralizer's confidence trick.

If our friendly. Even in our TV armchairs we are still men of action. Mostly we watch simulations of the quarrels. As time passes. Given those partic- loving actions are inborn. The tribesman. We cannot learn an arm or a leg. We may have advanced with abstraction and artefac.

It follows that. The environment cannot alter a man's basic life more in tune with their animal inheritance. We technological advances. For a while they may. But it is worth genetic instruction.. The prize-fighter and the have. It is doubtful anatomical make-up during his lifetime.

The televi. This is halfway to being inborn. At some stage in ancestors were inarticulate. They are passed on. As with Discovered Actions. His neck movements become more exaggerated. Nor are they absorbed from females. Unlike Discovered Actions.

The most common form is the homosexual males. It is difficult to rec- ognize this in your own behaviour. His wrist actions change and so does his walking and standing posture. The way we walk and stand. But as soon as he has joined an adult homosexual community in a large city he rapidly adopts their characteristic action-patterns.

Many actions are first performed solely because we have observed them in our companions' behaviour. As a species we are strongly imitative and it is impossible for a healthy individual to grow up and live in a community without becoming infected with its typical action-patterns. He adopts more protrusive changes as one moves from one culture to another.

It does not show any major its neutral position more frequently. It could be argued that such a male is deliberately behav- the action from others. In origin these actions may be here: A schoolboy who will eventually join this group shows none of these. Homosexual males display a number of actions peculiar to their social group. This is because we do not learn active. How do you fold your arms? You may fold left-over-right female.

The higher his or her status in thousands of years authors have been recording the dismay of a group. During the s a sprawling posture when relaxing all fashion-changes. Each summer in Amsterdam. In our older generations at the 'decaying' manners of the young. Some- own society we absorb most from those we admire. This operates times the complaint has been that they have become too foppish most actively among close personal contacts. A manifestation these elements.

There was a deeper change. Jeans were not the whole story. Paris and London. There are several field studies of mon. It would seem that the heterosexual's intolerance of this change was to be seen in the s at open-air pop-music is aroused more by homosexual manners than by homosexual festivals. Soon they were adopted by many them accurately. They keys and apes which reveal similar trends. The process went Human beings are not alone in this tendency to absorb actions beyond clothing.

Many do not feel the need to display in this way. To the elderly. The use of neatly pressed absorbed by the young adults of future epochs. Bearing cities. As with cities. In many Then high-status. For literally individual emulated is important. On each occasion the pos- celebrities.

Like many postural changes. Both in monkeys and humans. The young in sexual. Actions we have to be taught Watching a child first trying to master a knowing wink provides another vivid reminder of how difficult some apparently simple Trained actions are consciously acquired by teaching or self.

At the other end of the scale there are simple actions such as winking and shaking hands. Even when it is noticed. The reason will be because the others are moving. But in distinguishing between the four corresponding types of actions. A member of one group. A member of 16 Such is the human Discovered Actions are frequently influenced in the same way.

Infantile crying. The differences may be subtle. Only expert acrobats can into this category. To give some examples: Inborn Actions are often drastically modified by social pressures. The hand-shake. In some cases these might almost fall into the category of Absorbed Actions.

Many actions owe their adult form to influences from more than one of these categories. Without realizing it. Sitting with the legs crossed.

I do not wish to give the impres- sion that they are rigidly separated. This will happen almost unnoticed. At one end of the scale there even as adults. Present her to the Queen at a this minor difference is enough to give a visiting American a dis.

In addition to these unconscious modifications there are also So one must not be misled by cries of total cultural revolution. No strong emotions may be imaginary hats.

Victorian girl was bluntly informed that 'a lady never crosses her can males have been reported as saying that they find European legs'. Do not let go. This is they are adhered to even by the most liberated individuals. Today this might seem rather irrelevant. And yet rules of standard leg-crossing.

Looking again at leg-crossing. By the earlier part of the twentieth century the rules were males slightly effeminate. But any serious field- pean males often adopt the ankle-knee cross posture and that observer of human behaviour would instantly deny this.

If you take the actress who permitted her tions people give to the behaviour of their companions. A To continue with the example of leg-crossing. With regard the imaginary gladiator may not be spared. Hide your feelings. They limit their social range. The American male prefers.

When this reaction is analysed it turns relaxed.

Peoplewatching: The Desmond Morris Guide to Body Language

It is true. If a Victorian young lady responded to a tragedy with a few sti. Frequently teachers tells us no 18 Not American males. We may no longer be aware of the original meanings of many fled sobs. Probably in most effeminate or rough.

It is just a cross. The dif. When asked why. More European males happen in a TV discussion studio. To the European this is such a selves to a modest form of the action. Absorbed and Trained. Delightful examples of these can be Old action-patterns rarely die.

But to the American male it appears effemi. If they felt males. In some ways. In its secondary role. The sneeze. They are therefore Mixed Actions of a special kind. A convenient way to distinguish between Incidental and Primary Gestures is to ask the question: Would I do it if I were completely alone?

If the answer is No. If we ask them. Most people tend to limit their use of the term 'gesture' to the primary form.

They began as Trained Actions. We acquire the act. Its primary function is mechanical and is concerned with the sneezer's personal breathing problem. This is why it is preferable to use the term 'gesture' in its wider meaning as an 'observed action'.

What matters with gesturing is not what signals we think we are sending out. The hand-wave is a Primary Gesture. In this way. It can do the hand is brought smartly up to touch the temple. It is a piece of com- when viewed across an historical time span. They are therefore Mixed Actions because it has no other existence or function. The observers of our acts will make no distinction between our intentional Primary Gestures and our unintentional.

But although we do alerted to. We nied when we do them. If he selves. Our companions learn a great deal about perform an act and it is observed. If challenged. Its meaning is read. We 'feel' the mood. We do not wave. It says a Many of our actions are basically non-social. Many of the common 'courtesies' also cerns no one but the student himself.

It is as if there is an underground communication sys- these things for our own benefit. Occasionally an ing because we itch or that we are running because we are late. If a the message goes out loud and clear. As a mechanical act. Occasionally we do become self-consciously aware of link operates below the conscious level. But frequently this type of about it. Controlling our Inci- telling them that he is bored.

At the same time. This is a Stylized Inci- both mechanically and gesturally. But often we do not. Some of our animal relatives are capable of a fair range of expressions. They include the important signals of Facial Expression. The exception is the category I have called Expressive Gestures.

In the human species this trend reaches its peak. I am denning the word The human face has the most complex and highly developed set of facial muscles in the entire animal world. The human hands are also important. The array of Expressive Gestures right is from a book on the art of pantomime by Charles Aubert. All primates are facially expressive and among the higher species the facial muscles become increasingly elaborate.

Five of these are unique to man. These are gestures of the type which all men. In this respect they are similar to the Incidental Gestures of the previous category. Gestures which transmit signals by imitation shrugs and pouts. We may have formed before. Even formed unconsciously during social interactions. When indulging in Social Mimicry we an ancient eye-protection movement of an animal anticipating deceive only others.

But which smilers and easy-laughers. We have all smiled at a party when really we Incidental Gestures. We In origin. We all have exclusively human sphere. These fingers make? We cannot remember. The actor who is Despite their worldwide distribution. The clenched fist of the gesticulator owes simply because it is expected of us.

Here we leave our animal heritage behind and enter an to place. They may differ in detail and in context from place action. The essential quality of a Mimic Ges- complex facial muscles whose sole job it is to make expressions. Essen- gapes. This is the world of smiles and sneers. We simply false impression that Expressive Gestures are local inventions did not need to analyse the actions.

These Mimic Gestures are those in which the performer attempts to are the gestures that nearly everyone performs nearly everywhere imitate.

Peoplewatching - the Desmond Morris Guide to Body Language - Desmond Morris

There are four kinds of Mimic Gesture: Expressive Gestures are to play a general. But the difference is that in these cases the link as well. A successful Mimic Gesture is and letting them dance in the air evocatively as we explain. We lie with simulated gestures its origin to an intention movement of hitting an opponent.

Yet we were not inattentive. One is the calculated pure gestures and exclusively communicative in function. But what shape did his adult laughter may become severely muted as a result. No and we all stand on two feet rather than four. We cannot recall. No prior knowledge should be required and there lost our twitching tails and our bristling fur.

This should not be confused with what psychol- as the frown on the face of a worried man can be traced back to ogists call 'role-playing'. I can go through the motions of putting imaginary food into my mouth.

Even though they are doomed to failure. If I am hungry. They attempt to portray something by taking usually highly stylized. In the past. Mimic Gestures can usually be understood even by strangers or and gulp invisible liquid from it. Gone are the actor's asides. The fourth kind of Mimic Gesture can best be called Vacuum Mimicry.

We must all believe that it is really happen- ing. The other technique is to concentrate instead on the imagined mood of the character to be portrayed. This means that they can be understood internationally. Usually only the hands are involved. Imitations that become abbreviated or abridged In reality. If I am thirsty. I can raise my hand as if holding an invisible glass. In Partial Mimicry the performer attempts to imitate some- thing which he is not and never can be.

Peoplewatching: The Desmond Morris Guide to Body Language

If a bird. Theatrical Mimicry has at last become as realistic as day-to-day Social Mimicry. Widely used mimic gestures of this kind are those which convert the hand into a 'gun'. In this respect. To give an example: A Cistercian monk would instead Because Schematic Gestures select one special feature of the thing to be portayed and present this in a stylized way. The Hindu 30 Some objects. When one element of a mime is selected and retained in this way. Cattle are those of domestic cattle.

The local gesture becomes 'the' gesture. This does not mean that the signs strongly characteristic of them that. The nearly always indicated by their horns alone. Just as. The Schematic Gesture then becomes a local tradition with a limited geographical range. Thus cattle are represented schematically as a pair of horns in cultures The Englishman's version. If the original mime was complex and involved several distinctive features. Just as each region has its own verbal language.

An Englishman would however. In fact. Once these different forms of shorthand have become fully established in each region. The sent the bison. The Australian Indian. The American Indian's cattle sign would repre- tures. So each culture has its own variant. All the tap does is to point to the brain. You might launch into a full-blooded Theatrical Mime of a drooling village idiot. To take one example.

Here we are one stage further away from the obviousness of the enacted Mimic Gesture.

But total idiocy is not a precise way of indi- cating the momentary stupidity of a healthy adult. These vary from place to place. They would have their own local. The by touching the lower eyelid with the tip of the forefinger.

Examples pidity signals mean totally different things in different countries. To make the meaning more clear. Many people would understand these temple-forefinger actions. But last is confined to certain North American Indians. But some can be guessed. Making the from Italy. But meaning the precise opposite. The rest are rendered much more docile and easy to action.

A good. In A completely different explanation once offered was that. In folklore. As such. As part of this process. The reason for this apparent culinity that is being invoked as a symbolic aid to protect the ges- chaos of meanings is simple enough. Since the domestication of cattle began.

There is little doubt Yet another explanation is that the hand-sign is essentially sar- about what the fingers are meant to be: I see'. The action is therefore a Symbolic Ges. But this only makes it even more difficult to explain the gesturer is doing no more than stress the symbolic importance of other use of the bull's horns gesture as a sign of a 'pathetic' cuck- the eye as a seeing organ.

This so angered her that she turned him Historically. In such a case other. These ladies worshipped gods who wore 'horns of the same motif of bull's horns. A good instance of this is the 'cuckold' sign virility of the lover who has cuckolded the husband. Here it is and masculinity. Instead they now A more classical interpretation involves Diana the Huntress. A complication promptly killed and ate him. The only solution is handle for beef production.

The horned hand is essentially a honour'. By pointing to the eye. It is clear that they are symbolic because they now becomes so enraged and jealous that he bellows and rushes vio- represent some abstract quality.

Beyond that. This consists of making a pair of horns. This can still be phrase 'cock-and-bull story'. It may still be done in this secret way. As if this were not enough. Christian Church. Many other similarly conflicting to protect oneself from the consequences of lying. The symbolic origins of this ancient action. In earlier times it was commonplace to make a If.

In more trivial situations it has the realm of fertile imagination been widely replaced. But to show that the second finger is tightly crossed over the first. This development suffice to demonstrate the general is easily explained by the fact that crossing the fingers lacks an principle. This claim is backed up by crossed' is a good example of this. Although used by many non- the fact that the German equivalent Christians. To warn that he or she must stop the action in a given by British crane-drivers few seconds.

The answer is that you would open and close one hand Television-studio signals are a good example of Technical Ges. Jib up Slew right request the performer to lengthen the speaking time and say more.

And the hidden people do not even realize that they are demanding an act of ear-piece provided a direct line from the control room to the per- Christian worship. But how could you signal to a companion that you had part in the mainstream of visual communication of any culture. To repertoire of a whole society. Other messages. They are bad. They grew up in the early days of television and. To warn by specialists and do not the performer that he or she will have to start the action at any constitute pan of the gestural moment.

Technical Gestures are invented by a specialist minority for use cold. In particular they need gestures for danger. The manager was linked to the programme director in the con- trol room by means of headphones and conveyed the director's Technical Gestures are used instructions to the performer by simple visual gestures.

The early visual signals did not disappear entirely. Video-tape meant that the precise timing of programme items Water on Increase pressure Reduce pressure Make up all gear 38 With the advent of two technical advances.

Proof of this is that many was less important. In the early days of television. With Coded 40 Gestures may be systematically planned. They interrelate with one another in a complex and sys. If the stranded holidaymakers had been marine 'special- ists'.

The rest of us can ignore them. To signal distress. The people on board wave back. Suppose some holidaymakers take out a boat.

When a techni- cal sphere is invaded by the non-technical. As it draws level with the island. This is the accepted marine gesture for 'Help! Either because they must keep quiet. The special '. Wet and fright- ened. There are also many gestural counting systems.

Examples include the two-handed and one-handed deaf-and-dumb codes left. These unmistakable. It is rather like the ringing of a telephone bell.

This may seem rigidly formulated principles. The telephone system treats a casual call in just the same way as one that happens to be a matter of life and death. No one confuses a telephone bell with a front-door bell or two-handed version. They cannot afford to be vague and woolly. To do this they have to develop a 'typical form' that shows comparatively little variation.

They can never different world from the familiar gestures we employ in everyday hope to perfect a completely fixed intensity.

They serve as a valuable reminder. But the rigidity of the The most important example is the Deaf-and-dumb Sign Lan. The signal goes on sounding at fixed intervals.

The only difference it permits is the Gestures. And they must be performed with a 'typical intensity'. It Here again. Its fixed form and its fixed intensity make it arm signals. All these actions have the same meaning and in companions. One man bellows with laughter. Another man. Together we syn.

It fails to develop ment being made during the course of conversation. They are small differences compared ear ornament and therefore implying a female trait. We simply tune in to the cultural norm. The result is that it lacks a typical form.

Although the Gesture Variants in this particular case cause no tant personal labels none the less. These are the gesture owes its origin. The Hand Purse signal is a case in point. This gesture always has the The hand beats time in this posture as the key words are uttered. We are not automatons. It occurs infre- As always with human behaviour. The thumb a typical form. The Italian Ear Touch gesture.

One man. We show personal idiosyn. An onlooker might imagine you were exercising your arm. There is no pressure on the even when strongly stimulated. The observer is not confused intense. The while another titters. This is not a conscious process. The crasies. We all wave in much the same way. Most of our gestures have grown into typical presentations of this kind. A good and fingertips are brought together in a cone.

And there is a reasonable likelihood that his speed. The ear may be held. Apart from the fact that such differences can he is observing simply has a rather odd way of performing his old obviously lead to all kinds of misunderstandings when foreigners familiar gesture. In should have a totally different meaning.

He reads the variation as Sardinia and Greece it is an obscene comment or insult to either a personal or local idiosyncrasy and imagines that the foreigner a male or a female. But when a man it can mean something quite different. In parts of become confused. In Malta it means that Variant of his own. This underlines the reason why.

This circle-sign has only one message for Variants of one gesture. These are not true Gesture thumb and forefinger. He sees the foreign gesture as merely a Gesture France it means 'zero' or 'worthless'. Except in special very small between the tips of our thumb and forefinger. People cases. But in certain regions specific variations of this basic gesture have been developed.

To find the explanation we have to look there is little doubt that over a period of time the gesture differ. In Greece and Turkey the action has come to mean 'good'. Gesture Variants constitute a threat to this system and tend all over the world do this unconsciously when speaking about to be eliminated or reduced. The object they hold is imaginary. In derlust and our modem mobility lead us into foreign parts does America this unconscious gesticulation became amplified into a this efficient communication system start to break down.

In Malta. Only when our wan. If we want to say that something is within one culture. They already had the zero sign. If the gesturer looks happy. The 'zero' message the context of the gesture. These uses of the gesture have a long and ancient history and have certainly been operat- ing for more than two thousand years. Because it is circular. It carries different messages for different people. Here the ring made by the thumb and forefinger stands for a body orifice. Money means coins and coins are circular.

The Japanese sign for money starts from a completely different source. It is as simple as that. Although this can lead to This raises an important point. In Sardinia and Greece it is used more as a general obscene comment or insult to either sex. This situation is complicated enough. But in France the situation was different. And these visual comparisons then lead on to the five different symbolisms of perfection. The sexual examples are related to one another and have the same basic symbolism.

So the simple. To a Japanese the same sign may mean 'money'. An early vase painting shows four athletes bathing outside a gymnasium. No Englishman today would use the gesture drawings carry an 'OK' message.

The American OK sign has become so The circle-sign made by forming a ring with the thumb and forefinger popular that it has invaded Europe. The French sign for 'nothing'. But for many Frenchmen only the for any other purpose. An local circle-sign in use. In England there was no of one hand.

The message is so clear that it overrides the context. But as soon as you move into a region where more than one meaning is possible. Gestures are ways of commenting on the young woman's attributes. The illustrations show twelve ways of saying: The forefinger and thumb of one hand are placed lightly on the gesturer's cheek-bones and then stroked gently down towards the chin.

Wherever the action many different gestures have the same meaning. Sometimes it means 'clever'. The generality do this. Even within one 'thirst'. If an Englishman deliber- ately makes a grim face while giving the OK sign. If two men are standing on a street corner and they see an 'good brain'. The gesture symbolizes the smooth roundedness of the face of a beautiful young woman.

Greece remains to this day the area where the gesture most commonly occurs. If a message is involved has a built-in ambiguity.

Multi-message Gestures with as many meanings as the circle- sign are comparatively rare. This phenomenon of 'context override' usually comes into operation wherever there is a single.

The Cheek Stroke. This action occurs in many countries and has many meanings. The symbolism derives from the male's need to preen himself in prepa- ration for his advances towards the 2. The Two-handed Telescope. The hands sweep down through the air describing an exaggerated female-trunk outline.

The origin is obvious and the action is common over a wide range. The Eye Touch. The thumb and forefinger are squeezed together in the cheek region and twisted round. The hands describe the forward curve of the female breasts. The hands are curled and the man peers through them as if using a telescope to gaze at the young woman. There are two possible origins. A straight forefinger is pressed into the female. The Cheek Screw. The symbol is based on the idea that she deserves a closer look.

The Waist Curve. The Breast Curve. The Moustache Twist. This gesture is found in particular in Brazil. The man places a straight forefinger against his lower eyelid and may pull it slightly downwards. Gestures are comments by the man on his reactions to the young woman.

This is primarily an old Italian ges- One idea is that the action symbolizes something delicious to eat. This obvious gesture 9. This action is most countries it is employed in informal commonly used in Sicily. The Breast Cup. Gestures are comments by the

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