Human psychology by behavior and gestures – study carefully

How to determine a person’s character by behavior and gestures, peculiarities of psychology

Behavioral and gestural psychology of personality is a whole mastery, a scientific field that explains the nonverbal ways of assessing a person. In the process of communication his image is compiled mainly from external manifestations – only 30% of the data on the interlocutor is acquired from the direct conversation. Human psychology by behavior and gestures associates this phenomenon with the unconscious consideration of the interlocutor, creating a positive or negative impression of him.

The study of behavioral psychology

The appearance, habits of a person can tell about his social status, actions, gestures – about his profession, position, disposition.

Behavioral psychology is based on an individual’s attitude to the environment. It includes an assessment of movement, the totality of bodily responses to external stimuli, and changes. That is, behavior is a manifestation of the mental aspect of the human condition through physiological phenomena. It is regulated by consciousness, which characterizes the outlook of the individual.

Significance of gestures

In the human psyche, the significance of nonverbal signals – gestures and facial expressions – is embedded in the unconscious sphere. People may not pay attention to their own and others’ attempts to convey information, but they subconsciously recognize them. In order to read messages more accurately, it is necessary to study their meaning according to the cultural environment to which interlocutors belong.

Although the meanings of most facial reactions are common, in some cultures common gestures can have the opposite meaning. For example, a nod of the head usually means agreement, but in some cultures it means denial.

Body language varies according to the gender of the speaker, age, social status, and other personal characteristics. Communication through gestures is limited: movements can only convey basic emotions, but it is impossible to show the subtleties of an attitude. Therefore, body language is used to supplement, enhance the emotional coloring of speech. Conscious use of gestures, control of facial expressions – the result of volitional effort, aimed mainly at the desire to hide the lie.

Body language and gestural language should not be confused. Unlike unconscious muscle reactions, sign language is a full-fledged linguistic unit used for normal communication. Using sign language allows people with hearing and speech impairments to communicate and socialize successfully.

How do you understand a person by their behavior?

The study of body language is universally accessible. There is no need for special training – today it is possible to read free online books on human psychology by behavior and gestures.

Let’s analyze the trends according to which the consideration of the behavior of the interlocutor.


A man who focuses on his own appearance, looking like “from the picture”, often seeks to assert himself, to hide his own indecision through style. It can also denote excessive neatness, thoroughness.

A bright, too unique, exquisite appearance indicates a creative, artistic personality. But excessive sloppiness can speak not so much about artistry, as about a tendency to sloppiness.

Pastel, calm colors are chosen by balanced personalities. Colorful tones are typical of emotional people.


A person’s demeanor in the environment provides an opportunity to make assumptions about their decisions and actions. Often people who keep a distance at the source of communication, reduce it in the process of rapprochement. In the absence of a change in the relationship, it is possible to judge the absence of sympathy between them, hence the impossibility of further rapprochement.

To work through their own fears, phobias and insecurities, we recommend contacting a specialist, for example, Nikita Valerievich Baturin.

How to understand a man by his behavior? Psychology indicates a number of manners:

  1. Frequent attempts to reduce the distance (staring, touching). These gestures are typical of defiant, hostile people who prefer to set their own rules.
  2. Physical shortening of distance, preference for conflictual, personal topics in conversation reveals the person to be intrusive.
  3. Avoidance of visual contact, displays of emotion, touching, hesitant behavior – people who want to hide from the outside world are prone to such manners. Clothing that hides part of the face is often typical for them.
  4. Uninhibited, loose body positions, and gait report an undisciplined person, a desire to evade recognized behavioral measures.
  5. Interrupted speech, blushing are characteristics of an unstable, indecisive person. Nervous attempts to adopt a comfortable stance are criteria for anxiety in a particular situation.
  6. Dramatic stances indicate a desire to draw attention to oneself. The broad gait and feigned gestures indicate increased self-esteem and narcissism. Such behavior is typical of creative individuals, people with a masterful foundation.
  7. Distinctive, goal-oriented movements reveal a calculating personality and the ability to hide emotions. These qualities are typical of thrifty people. They are typical of entrepreneurs and politicians.
  8. Cluttered movements are indicative of an irritable personality. Fidgety motor skills (turning a pen, fiddling with various objects in the hands) are a typical feature of nervous people.
  9. Calm movements inform about an absence of propensity to conflicts, plasticity of temper. In combination with emotionality, this behavior indicates nonchalance. Soft gestures inform about the ability to self-control.

The psychology of human behavior also includes posture. It is important to pay attention to the following factors:

  1. Slouchiness. This is a criterion of obedience, powerlessness. Raised shoulders report a sense of inferiority.
  2. An elevated position of the head, perhaps thrown back. This posture indicates arrogance. At the same time with the chest pulled forward, it suggests ambition, pride.
  3. Muscular tension, lack of mobility. This is a criterion of the absence of ability to freely communicate with people, the desire to separate oneself from reality. According to behavioral psychology, this position is characteristic of a person suffering from sociophobia.
  4. Relaxedness, combined with restraint. These manners are typical of a person with a sense of self-worth.

Hand speech.

It is a primary component of communication, a common model of communication, popular mainly among the stronger sex. The greeting sign often determines the relationship between interlocutors:

  • an energetic handshake – activity, communicativeness, enjoyment of the meeting;
  • a handshake with the palm upwards – readiness for communication, trust;
  • A handshake with the palm down – isolation; with simultaneous bending of the elbow such a greeting indicates cruelty, duplicity;
  • a handshake with the hand pointing downwards – authority, tendency to domination;
  • a weak handshake – inactivity, indecisiveness;
  • clumsiness in a handshake – shyness.

Position of hands in the psychology of human behavior:

  • crossed in front – defensive reaction, unpreparedness to prolong the conversation;
  • behind the back – embarrassment;
  • fists – assertiveness, desire for self-assertion;
  • frequent touching of the face – desire to conceal the state of mind, to hide specific facts
  • in pockets – secrecy; with sleeves rolled up at the same time – tendency to conflicts, readiness for sudden tasks;
  • rubbing the bridge of the nose – reflection, evaluation;
  • tapping on the table, flicking a pen – boredom, thoughtfulness.

Speech facial expressions.

Behavior is a factor in psychology that also includes a person’s facial expression, facial expressions that express mood:

  1. Mouth. Lowered corners are a criterion of pessimism, resentment. At the same time, compressed lips in the psychology of a person’s behavior inform about the firmness of temper, unwillingness to follow compromise. Relaxed lips reveal passivity and a weak character.
  2. Looks. Determination from above, maliciousness, but from below a submissive, servile look. Long – demanding obedience, running – inclination to lie, fear.
  3. Laughter is another point in human psychology and behavior. A carefree laugh is characteristic of a natural, open personality; a squashed laugh indicates hostility. Giggling betrays a desire to cause interest in his or her own person, self-aggrandizement, hypocrisy.


Speech, the manner of speaking, is directly associated with the transmission of information and determines the sensory state of a person. Often a person is evaluated not by the content, but by the manner of speaking. Emotionality of expressions, speed, loudness of speech are taken into consideration:

  1. Restraint, judiciousness, analytical mindset is characterized by uniform speech, moderate loudness.
  2. Rapid phrasing, variable volume is a criterion of impulsiveness.
  3. Increased calmness is typical of a person who wants to hide emotions.
  4. Deficient emotionality, weak speech volume is a manifestation of loss of interest in the conversation.

Deceptive gestures

Today, deception has become an important component of human communication. There are also a number of works in the literature that address the topic of lying in human behavioral psychology. You can read them both in the classic version and online.

There are methods to identify a person who wants to deceive, misinterpret the circumstance. Manners typical of a liar include:

  1. Frequent changes in body position, coughing, touching the nose, other body parts, distractions aimed at getting time to come up with the “right” answer.
  2. Hiding the eyes (also typical of the insecure person), looking past the interlocutor, blinking frequently.
  3. A strained, unnatural smile, tense facial muscles.

Gestures that help to recognize a lie

The main thing that any student of body language strives for is the ability to identify lies in the speech of the interlocutor. Dishonesty is talked about:

  1. Frequent touching of the face, scratching the forehead and nose, covering the mouth with the hand. The person is literally trying to stop himself from speaking a lie, covering his face, avoiding the direct judgmental gaze.
  2. Stroking, scratching neck. Speaks of lying caused by fear or misunderstanding. Such gestures are often demonstrated by subordinates when talking to a superior.
  3. Touching the earlobe. During communication, touching the ears means that the person does not believe the information he or she heard, but tries not to show it.
  4. Rapid frequent smiling, licking the lips. Means excitement, desire to hide deception.

Inconsistency of gestures to spoken words indicates lying, but we should consider individual characteristics. Perhaps the dissonance is caused by anatomical features, is a consequence of a disease. Also mismatch of movements and words is characteristic of foreigners, who do not know the language well and try to complement the words with gestures.

Books in Behavioral Psychology

The following works will help to find solutions to the problems encountered, to evaluate the behavior of others.

  1. Р. Chaldini, “The Psychology of Influence. Persuade. Influence. Defend Yourself. The book collected the 6 basic foundations of behavior. This book on the psychology of human behavior and gestures can be read online or in the classic version.
  2. Т. Seelig, “Do-It-Yourself. Tips for those who want to leave their mark.” The challenges that arise are incentives to keep moving forward. So says the author of this book.
  3. С. Covey, The Seven Skills of Highly Effective People. A guide to learning how to manage your own life.
  4. Д. Myers, “The Games People Play. People Who Play Games.” Another guide to exploring behavioral psychology.
  5. М. Goulston, “Mental Traps at Work.” This book on human psychology by behavior and gestures presents information revealing the concept of mental traps, indicates ways to address them in communication.

Understanding behavioral psychology is the key to making sense of the interlocutor. In addition, knowledge of this direction helps to hide one’s own emotions by controlling behavior. The study of the psychology of deception helps to identify duplicity, lies, not to succumb to manipulation.

IMPORTANT: article informational character! Before use it is necessary to consult with a specialist.

Gestures, warning of aggression

It is important to recognize gestures of aggression and threats in time – it makes it possible to prevent a conflict and escape from the direct line of attack of the interlocutor. Aggressive attitudes are manifested by:

  1. Clenching of fists. The interlocutor speaks in a calm tone, his posture is relaxed, but his hands are constantly clenched into fists – a clear signal of restrained anger.
  2. Fists are placed on the table surface, hips, or pressed to the waist – direct threat, readiness for an attack.
  3. Hands hidden behind the back. The person literally tries to restrain himself/herself, not to show aggression.
  4. Lips pressed down, jaws firmly clenched. Expression of contempt, discontent with the interlocutor.
  5. Scratching the back of the neck and nape. Expectation of an attack, demonstration of readiness for a defense.

If a person twitches his upper lip, flared nostrils, squinted eyes during conversation, he is ready for an open encounter, demonstrates the superiority over an opponent, threatens.

Defensive gestures.

Signs by which you can determine the discomfort of the internal state:

  • If a person feels uncomfortable, believes that he is in danger, he subconsciously seeks to build a barrier between himself and the world around him. This is a closed interlocutor. More often he/she crosses his/her arms on the chest, puts his/her leg behind the leg, puts something in front of him/her that can serve as a shield, for example, a file with documentation or a bag.
  • If the person involuntarily clenches his fists, it means that he initially set up against you distrustfully or aggressively, and is ready to defend himself.

Gait .

The gait of a confident person can always be distinguished from the gait of an anxious or uptight person. Signs of confidence:

  • Spread shoulders;
  • Big steps;
  • Lifted chin;
  • “Chest in a wheel.”

Unsure or fearful people usually look under their feet, do not wave their hands when walking, their steps are more like shuffling. Quick and easy steps indicate goal-oriented, impetuous person. You can see that he has a definite goal, something makes him act. Slow and indecisive steps indicate timidity. But slowness is not always associated with insecurity: perhaps the person simply isn’t in a hurry anywhere or even wants to show off.

By very relaxed gait can be determined that the person at this point in time is experiencing serious problems, perhaps a crisis, and such a gait also gives away laziness, depression. The heaviness of the gait reflects the power of the person, the desire to subdue, sometimes megalomania. A bouncing gait indicates a positive mood or a person is trying to hide something unpleasant in his soul.

Male and female gestures

Women tend to gesticulate more during conversations if the subject is pleasing to them. Discussing unpleasant things or talking to an unpleasant interlocutor, women instinctively seek to move away, shrink, become smaller. They press their hands together, bow their heads, turn away. When expressing interest, women try to move closer, their gestures are open, and their palms are turned toward the interlocutor.

Men express their irritation less frequently through gestures. Their mood is easier to estimate through their posture: a relaxed pose indicates trust, openness, an urge to continue a conversation. Stooping, putting shoulders together, putting hands in front – forms a kind of barrier from an unpleasant interlocutor.

Expressing sympathy through gestures

By studying body language and gestures, a person can easily understand the interest in an intimate and romantic relationship. Body movements of women who attract the attention of men are actively expressed:

  • Demonstration of the wrists, turning the inside of the palms upward;
  • shaking the hair, twisting the curl on the finger;
  • licking, biting the lips;
  • Touching hips, ankles;
  • Pointing the toes of the shoes in the direction of the man.

A man, showing interest in a relationship with a woman, subconsciously tries to show his best qualities:

  • stretches upward, squares his shoulders;
  • Constantly adjusts his tie, cuffs and collar of his shirt;
  • runs his hands over his hips, knees.

In both sexes, the interest in intimacy betrays an examining gaze. It slides down the figure of the person being attracted from top to bottom, lingering on the neckline and the level of the hips.

Lying gestures.

By changes in gestures, facial expressions, and behavior, can you tell if a person is lying to you? The most characteristic signs of deception:

Human psychology by behavior and gestures: how to interpret looks and postures

It is commonly believed (and feared) that psychologists or psychotherapists see right through people. It is believed that one look is enough for them to determine character, look, hidden thoughts and complexes. If you’ve ever thought that, you’re not the first to be mistaken. It’s not quite true, to put it mildly.

A psychologist is not a psychic, nor is he a magician.

A good psychologist knows how to observe other people’s postures and gestures, and draw conclusions based on what he sees. By the way, for a good specialist there are no wrong or false answers to questions – just ask a question, and the human body with its unconscious reactions will answer truthfully. And what the interlocutor expresses in words is not that important, in a sense.

Body language is a set of signals that we (consciously or not) use to communicate our feelings and intentions.

Here are some examples of what we can learn from understanding body language:

  • Understand whether the other person is lying or telling the truth;
  • Catch unspoken problems or feelings of another;
  • to increase the persuasiveness of one’s speech on a non-verbal level consciously;
  • make it easier to meet new people;
  • make a cool first impression;
  • negotiate more easily and effectively;
  • and even to impress your point of view on the other person (but that’s aerobatics, of course).

Cool, isn’t it? But there’s nothing supernatural about it. Just the knowledge of what to notice, and a trained attention span. Body language transmits various data from 65 to 80% of the information that people exchange with each other!

The Psychology of Looks, Gestures and Behavior

So where do we start to learn?

Facial expressions

Facial expressions are one of the most universal forms of body language. Facial expressions show emotions in the same way for all nationalities. But you’ve probably already heard about it on the show “Fool Me” with Dr. Lightman.

You might argue that I don’t need to learn what emotions look like on the face when I already know exactly how the other person feels. And you would be partly right – the mirror neurons in your brain allow you to sense others. But if you “take apart by the screws” even such familiar things as facial expressions and emotions, you will learn to understand people much better, and you will see what previously escaped you!

How does emotion manifest itself?

  • Raised and arched eyebrows;
  • horizontal wrinkles in the forehead;
  • The whites of the eye are clearly visible;
  • A relaxed (possibly ajar) lower jaw.
  • eyebrows raised, straight;
  • wrinkles between the eyebrows;
  • raised upper eyelids, “fear has many eyes”;
  • crooked line of mouth.
  • wrinkled nose;
  • elevation of upper lip;
  • Lower lip slightly protruding;
  • Darkened nasolabial folds.
  • drooping and drooping eyebrows, often with a vertical crease between them;
  • enlarged or bulging eyes;
  • lips compressed, corners drooped;
  • nostrils dilated;
  • The lower jaw is slightly forward;
  • pronounced jowls.
  • goosefoots at the outer corners of the eyes (by the way, you can tell a “fake” smile by their absence);
  • a straight smile;
  • cheeks are raised;
  • the lower eyelids are raised, but the eyebrows remain at rest.
  • eyebrows are compressed and raised;
  • pouted lower lip;
  • corners of lips lowered.

Get into the habit of paying attention to the discrepancy between what a person says and what emotions are reflected on their face. This is the first step in learning nonverbalism.

The Look

If the person has something to hide from you, or is not sincere enough, your gazes will rarely overlap during a conversation. On the contrary, if he looks you in the eyes more than 50-60% of the time, there are two possibilities. If his pupils are dilated, then he’s showing more interest in you than in what you’re saying. He is interested in you, or even excited about you. If the pupils are constricted, it’s a challenge, he’s hostile.

Pay attention to how often the person you are talking to blinks. People often blink out of concern or discomfort. He may be anxious about something, or uncomfortable in your company. Blinking too infrequently could be the result of a person controlling their facial expressions (like a poker player who wants to hide all emotion).

Next in readability is the expression of the mouth. From the basic, biting the lip can indicate anxiety and restlessness. The context of the conversation is important – the person you’re talking to may be reacting that way to what you’re discussing, or to you, or to where you’re at. Or maybe you’ve blurted out something unnecessary.

Now the smile. On its own, it can carry a different message; you have to consider the entire facial expression as a whole. Here are some examples:

  • An honest smile (there will be other “symptoms” of joy);
  • cynical, sarcastic (look for manifestations of contempt);
  • False (note the eye expression – whether the lower eyelids are raised and there are “crows feet”).

The position of the body in space, the posture and the degree of relaxation speaks volumes! From physical well-being to self-esteem and confidence in one’s competence, for example.

The most basic thing that is available to everyone is an open posture.

Open posture – arms and legs not crossed, torso open. Friendliness, openness, willingness.

Closed posture – often hunched over, limbs crossed, torso as if “hiding. This means hostility, anxiety, unfriendliness.


The two most important rules of nonverbalism – take into account the context and look at the behavior of the person as a whole. As for the context.

For example, in front of you is a person in a closed pose. You immediately remember that this is about mistrust and hostility, and he just froze, or wants to pee very badly.

Or you interpret your colleague’s dilated pupils as an expression of personal interest. Is it okay that you’re in a dark room and your pupils dilated from lack of light? So be careful!

By the way, an interesting thing, you should not be afraid of psychologists – in normal life, outside the counseling office, they also become “regular people.” It is unrealistically difficult to focus so much on the interlocutor, to catch the slightest movement of the facial muscles, the slightest gestures. It’s a big and very energy-consuming job.

So specialists who work with people often switch on the “fighting” mode only at the workplace, while in ordinary life they communicate with greater relaxation. Although, with constant training, it is still partially automatic to read a person.

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