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Body Language (Язык жестов тела)

Body language (язык тела (невербальные средства коммуникации, включающие жесты, позы и др. невербальные знаки)) is a broad term for forms of communication using body movements or gestures instead of, or in addition to, sounds, verbal language, or other forms of communication. It forms part of the category of paralanguage, which describes all forms of human communication that are not verbal language.

Paralanguage (параязык (передача информации за счет определенной манеры говорить (напр., при помощи темпа речи, тембра и громкости голоса, тона, его модуляции и др., а также за счет таких невербальных средств, как жесты, мимика и т. п.))), including body language, has been extensively studied in social psychology. In everyday speech and popular psychology, the term is most often applied to body language that is considered involuntary, even though the distinction between voluntary and involuntary body language is often controversial. For example, a smile may be produced either consciously or unconsciously.

Voluntary body language refers to movement, gestures and poses intentionally made by a person (i.e., conscious smiling, hand movements and imitation). It can apply to many types of soundless communication. Generally, movement made with full or partial intention and an understanding of what it communicates can be considered voluntary.

Involuntary body language quite often takes the form of facial expression, and has therefore been suggested as a means to identify the emotions of a person with whom one is communicating.

The relation of body language to animal communication has often been discussed. Human paralanguage may represent a continuation of forms of communication that our non-linguistic ancestors already used, or it may be that it has been changed by co-existing with language. Body language is a product of both genetic and environmental influences. Blind children will smile and laugh even though they have never seen a smile. Iraneus Eibl-Eibesfeldt claimed that a number of basic elements of body language were universal across cultures and must therefore be fixed action patterns under instinctive control.

Some forms of human body language show continuities with communicative gestures of other apes, though often with changes in meaning. More refined gestures, which vary between cultures (for example the gestures to indicate «yes» and «no»), must be learned or modified through learning, usually by unconscious observation of the environment.

Body language is important in one-on-one communications, and may be even more important in group communications. In group situations, often only one person at a time is speaking, while non-verbal communication is coming from each individual in the group. The larger the group, the more impact body language may have.


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