Posted in Blog Archive

Posted by abeodbart August 31, 2009 at 11:35 pm

Wikipedia states that body language is a form of non-verbal communication, consisting of body pose, gestures, eye movements and paralinguistic cues(i.e. tone of voice and rate of speech). Humans send and interpret such signals unconsciously. It is often said that human communication consists of 93% body language and paralinguistic cues, while only 7% of communication consists of words themselves – however, Albert Mehrabian, the researcher whose 1960s work is the source of these statistics, has stated that this is a misunderstanding of the findings. Others assert that “Research has suggested that between 60 and 70 percent of all meaning is derived from nonverbal behavior.”

Whatever the case the understanding of body language is both constantly changing due to trends, globally expanding social groups and exposure to media on a mass level. There has been an ever increasing level of understanding on the subject and it’s been popularised in recent years to the extent that claims from NLP’ers suggest you can completely control people (much like Mr Brown does) from simple body language gestures and use of clever language such as “anchoring”.

The problem is the flip side – that of reading people – before you even approach anyone you need to know what type of person there are and how they feel towards you. Possibly one of the better books on this is the book “What Every Body Is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent’s Guide to Speed-reading People“. It explains reading body language in a clear and efficient manner and applies it to real world situations quite effectively.

Whilst it states “These skills will increase your ability to accurately assess moods, decode behaviors, anticipate problems, avoid hidden pitfalls, influence negotiations, and understand the secret motivations of those around you.” – a brave claim – it will certainly aid you in day-to-day interpersonal skills and assist you in knowing more abou how people feel towards you in various situations.


August 31, 2009 at 11:47 pm
Jacqueenking says:

So the usual two finger and one finger gestures are not the only give-away when you dislike someone.

August 31, 2009 at 11:49 pm
Emily says:

*added to amazon cart* :):)

August 31, 2009 at 11:50 pm
Fosca says:

Well my birthday IS in a couple of weeks (hint)

August 31, 2009 at 11:54 pm
John says:

When it says if they’re looking to the left they’re lying. Is that their left or your left? Never found that out.

September 1, 2009 at 12:01 am
Amy says:

That thing about someone’s eyes oozing when they like you, that was really kinda creepy… o___o
I’m not really sure about all the the things that are meant to be essential to read body language, all of the books I’ve read seem to just teach common sense… I find the best method is to go with your gut and not to overthink it. What would be the point in us developing unconcious ways of communication if others weren’t able to pick up on it?

September 1, 2009 at 12:08 am
pete says:

Yes this seems very interesting reading as i am sure you would agree the claims are very true you can even speak to thier sub con. and read the answer from there body language alone , i learnt that from you , thanks, i will see if i can get the book ordered at the local libary to read it then others could also read it when i take it back, thanks for the suggestion, my i suggest a site to yoyu and others also Emergent, Mapping the Frontiers of Consciousness, you may also find this interesting , i know it is pushing bondaries but know there is somthing in it obviously 90% or more are fakers but it has been proven any way thanks again , bye

September 1, 2009 at 12:16 am
Siobhan says:

Ah I’m a lot easier then this… you know if I’m lying because I’ll sort of talk in a funny voice and go ‘Yeeessss, I am telling you the truth…la,la,la’, and you’ll know if I fancy someone because I’ll generally say, ‘Oh, I quite fancy you.’

Subtle as a ton of bricks, if only everyone was so easy to read!

That aside, I am absolutely useless on picking up these little signals in other people, so I think this might be an interesting one for the amazon shopping cart.

September 1, 2009 at 12:28 am
li says:

thats all very well in theory but for me and people i know very well i know that i/they do several of these things for very different reasons. my own body language is very negative and i have to consciously open it up sometimes especially when meeting new people, but it’s for logical enough reasons and shows how lots of factors affect it. however admittedly by doing this i recognise how much of a difference it can make in interaction.
fortunately (if not very charmingly) i am pretty honest and well…blunt so this particular application isn’t really necessary.

September 1, 2009 at 12:32 am
Dude says:

I’ve finished the book last week… and I can say I was rather impressed. Many things that I knew already from Allan Pease, but then again more stuff that kinda change everything Allan Pease stated in his book.

I did enjoy it a lot. Joe Navarro is the real deal ๐Ÿ˜‰

Read it!! :)

September 1, 2009 at 1:49 am
I am me says:

Can you tell what it is yet???

September 1, 2009 at 2:30 am
Cody says:

I read this one earlier in the year. I definitely enjoyed it, it’s very accessible and relatively quick to get through. Not as compelling as “Tricks of the Mind” of course. :-)

When watching “Lie To Me” (excellent viewing by the way) I now find that I can pick up a lot of the giveaways before Tim Roth cites them based on having read Joe Navarro’s book. Of course the camera frames the gestures/expressions perfectly and you’re really watching an actor repeat something they’ve been instructed to play, so it’s not like reading real people – but fun nonetheless!

Another one of interest would be “Manwatching” by Desmond Morris, which doesn’t concentrate solely on body language, but our overall behaviour as a species.

September 1, 2009 at 2:59 am
Giarc says:

This wouldn’t have anything to do with having our eyeballs peeled, would it…?

September 1, 2009 at 3:51 am
Tash says:

that’s really interesting. I’ve loved when derren’s touched on that subject, it.s cool but scary to think how much we give away through body language.

September 1, 2009 at 7:32 am
flapjack says:

As a sometime animator, we are told to read everything we can on body language. On my last course they even used Derren’s Car salesman mindreading trick to illustrate how eye movement punctuates the thought process. So if you want to be the next Nick Park or Walt Disney check this out…

September 1, 2009 at 9:46 am
flapjack says:

Having watched the accompanying film, I’m inclined to disagree about the eye contact thing. If someone is lying and is really determined you’ll buy into their BS they will maintain total eyecontact as they are often aware that uninterupted eyecontact is usually taken for truth. Memory recall is more about sideways glances. That’s when involuntary blinks take over as your lie detector.
But then I would say that as getting eye-contact out of me is like getting blood from a stone.

September 1, 2009 at 10:12 am
Daveoh says:

I think the only foolproof way to know these things is to get to know the person.

September 1, 2009 at 11:21 am
JayKay says:

Well, is Jack Straw telling the truth? Is the Scottish Minister telling wee porkies?

September 1, 2009 at 2:38 pm

I’m with Daveoh here, in that a lot of these body patterns only become instantly recognisable if you know the person and their mannerisms. Some of us aren’t stereotypes and you can only know what perhaps they’re feeling if you’re well acquainted with them.
But on the other hand, I think most of us DO tend to fall into the stereotypical category in that we’re very easy to read, esp when we’re hiding something!

LC x

September 1, 2009 at 3:15 pm
Eoin says:

The statistic that up to 80% of communication is non-verbal seems like one of those memes that has not obvious origin. Everybody repeats it, nobody sources it. it is almost certainly nonsense. While we can get clues to hidden agendas – lies, attraction – from non-verbal clues most of what we get from conversations is information, which is verbal. If that werent the case the radio would be unlistenable to, a voiceover would be hopeless, and an offscreen presenter would be of no use – “what are they saying”, we could all collectively say. I cant see them so I cant follow the story. Of course that would be true of a seminar as well – people at the back would have to bring binoculars to see if they can get the 80% of the seminar missing from not being able to see the presenter properly.

September 1, 2009 at 6:25 pm
Ms G says:

Improves with age as well. You also learn to see through body language … as body language can give the wrong information .. Depends also a bit why you speed read someone, what the aim is of it .. what you’re looking for ..

September 1, 2009 at 6:49 pm
Anomoly says:

Some of the stuff in the video was good… some not so good, the shifty eyes thing is actually not true… recent studys have found that people who are lying tend to hold MORE eye contact, this is possibly because they too have heard that ‘shifty eyes’ means lying and people only lie when they think that they won’t get caught –

two great books on this, check out:
The definitive book on body language
Conquering Deception by Jef Nance (this one is great because he actually criticizes relying too much on body language he’s got a blog also, tell him Anomoly sent you ๐Ÿ˜‰

I have seen this FBI book in the store… i will place it on my amazon list.

September 1, 2009 at 6:55 pm
Anomoly says:

here is a video where the author Joe Navarro of this body language book actually talks about the shifty eyes and eyes to the left:

September 1, 2009 at 7:18 pm
Tom says:

Confucius Say: Man with hands in pockets feels cocky all day.

September 1, 2009 at 9:03 pm
Sophie says:

Sounds like a really interesting book, might just have to buy it!

September 1, 2009 at 9:08 pm
Christopher Robinson says:

Wow that video was rubbish! (The one in the article, not the one posted by Anomoly). Please don’t assume the video is by the author of the book that is mentioned.

DB’s book has a chapter that includes the pitfalls of reading body language too literally, and adopting NLP as a kind of religion. The book by Joe Navarro looks good, too.

Oh, and the old “we only use 10% of our brain” is also not true.


September 1, 2009 at 9:39 pm
Eve says:

So, as we all watch that video, is Derren watching us from the top of the blog and being “judgemental or harbouring negative feelings” and “maybe lying”. Would that be accurate?

September 2, 2009 at 7:56 am
jazzgirl says:

Does Derren get all his books for free now from Amazon – they must really love him for all the free advertising they get!

The book looks good, got it to take on holiday, along with Tricks of the Mind [mp3s & book – nearly finished tho :-( ] and Quirkology. Much more interesting reads than boring chick lits, thanks for the reviews!

September 2, 2009 at 1:11 pm
ricoculous says:

That video wasted a decent opportunity to demonstrate something accurate or educational.
For deception detection, look at the research by: Kohnken (1987), Kraut and Poe (1980) and Ekman & Oโ€™Sullivan (1991).

In the Eckman paper, Secret Service employees were the most accurate of the surveyed groups at detecting deception and only managed it successfully around 64% of the time, i.e. only 14% more successfully than a coin toss. To the best of my knowledge, those results have generally stood since.

October 27, 2009 at 5:47 pm
Robbie says:

Wrong about the eyes, liers will maintain strong (forced) eye contact, and they say people who are lieing look to the left, partly right , if someone is mentally talking to themselves they will look to the left and down

January 12, 2010 at 10:29 pm
Frank says:

NLPers might say not keeping eye contact is sign of a lie and keeping eye contact is sign of truthfulness, but I’d be more willing to trust Derren Brown who suggests that keeping eye contact for answering to a specefic question when usually the person would not be keeping eye contact would signify a lie.

January 13, 2010 at 9:16 am
Tim Atyeo says:

@ frank,true trained NLPers, in my experience dont say “not keeping eye contact is a lie”. look on the internet at eye accessing cues. eyes indicate whatshappening internaly,wether we are having a feeling,remebering visualyorconstructing a picture. selftalk,sound rembered/constucted sound. with info coming in and going out.”we can not have a thought with out giving off free info about what our bodies are saying.
Yes there is an indication that there could be a mis-match between what a person says and what their body langauge is telling us. calibration. eye accessing cues are not set in stone but a guide, but find out for your self through questioning? look it up on the net and let me know what you find out.

October 21, 2010 at 5:23 am
Gabriel says:

I downloaded it from the internet.. It’s a PDF file. ๐Ÿ˜€

It’s great, goes into detail, not to much as to get bored, but it’s practical.
I’ve only read 1/4 of it.. it goes from feet to head. And I’ve managed to learn some good stuff that I’ve not found in many other books.

I’m curious of what Derren has to add to this book.

BTW.. What’s that speed reading method Derren is using? Where do I find it detailed /:) thanks


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