is a type of non-verbal communication
in which physical behavior, as opposed to words, is used to express or convey
information. Such behavior includes facial expressions, body posture, gestures, eye movement, touch
and the use of space. Body language exists in both animals and humans, but this article focuses on interpretations of human body language. It is also known as kinesics.
Body language must not be confused with sign language, as sign languages are full languages like spoken languages and have their own complex grammar systems, as well as being able to exhibit
the fundamental properties that exist in all languages. Body language, on the other hand, does not have a grammar and must be interpreted broadly, instead of having an absolute meaning corresponding with a certain movement, so it is not a language like sign language, and is simply termed as a "language" due to popular culture.
In a community, there are agreed-upon interpretations of particular behavior. Interpretations may vary from country to country, or culture to culture. On this note, there is controversy
on whether body language is universal
. Body language, a subset of nonverbal communication
, complements verbal
communication in social interaction. In fact some researchers conclude
that nonverbal communication accounts for the majority of information transmitted during interpersonal interactions. It helps to establish the relationship between two people and regulates interaction, but can be ambiguous
. Hence, it is crucial to accurately read body language to avoid misunderstanding
in social interactions.