almost every question on body language has been posed and answered—but I thought that when Body Language itself was first published. —Julius Fast. Nov 20, Julius Fast teaches you how to penetrate the This important book adds a new Body Language JULIUS FASTBody Language Pan Books. Author: Julius Fast; Type: Downloadable PDF; Size: MB; Downloaded: times; Categories: Body Language; Body Language helps you to understand the .
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Body Language book. Read 77 reviews from the world's largest community for readers. Your body doesn't know how to lie. Unconsciously, it telegraphs your. Body Language - Julius Fast - Free download as Text File .txt), PDF File .pdf) or read online for free. ChapterThe-Silent-Language-Of-Love. wm-greece.info: Body Language (): Julius Fast: Books.
My friend, still in his thirties, turned to me bewilderedlyas she stormed out of the car and asked, What did I do? Tell me, what the hell did I do? What he had done was to break a cardinal rule of non-verbal communication.
Look, and let your eyes slideaway when you are in far intimate contact with a stranger. The second zone of territory charted by Dr Hall iscalled the personal distance zone.
Here, too, he differen-tiates two areas, a close personal distance and a far personaldistance. The dose area is one and a half to two and a half 32 You can still hold or grasp your partners hand atthis distance.
As to its significance, he notes that a wife can staywithin the close personal distance zone of her husband, butif another woman moves into this zone she presumablyhas designs on him. And yet this is obviously the comfort-able distance at cocktail parties. It allows a certain inti-macy and perhaps describes an intimate zone more than apersonal zone. But since these are simply attempts by DrHall to standardize a baby science, there may be a dozenclarifications before proxemics gets off the ground.
The far phase of personal distance, Dr Hall puts at twoand one half to four feet and calls this the limit of physicaldomination. You cannot comfortably touch your partnerat this distance, and so it lends a certain privacy to anyencounter. Yet the distance is close enough so that somedegree of personal discussion can be held. When twopeople meet in the street, they usually stop at this distancefrom each other to chat. At a party they may tend to closein to the close phase of personal distance.
A variety of messages are transmitted by this distanceand they range from, I am keeping you at arms length,to I have singled you out to be a little closer than theother guests. To move too far in when you are on a farpersonal relationship with an acquaintance is consideredpushy, or, depending on the sexual arrangement, a sign ofpersonal favour.
You make a statement with your distance,but the statement, to mean anything, must be followed up. Social and Public SpaceSocial distance, too, has a close phase and afar phase. Theclose phase is four to seven feet and is generally the 33 It is thedistance we assume when, in business, we meet the clientfrom out of town, the new art director or the office man-ager.
It is the distance the housewife keeps from the repairman, the shop clerk or the delivery boy. You assume thisdistance at a casual social gathering, but it can also be amanipulative distance. A boss utilizes just this distance to dominate a seatedemployee- a secretary or a receptionist. To the employee,he tends to loom above and gain height and strength.
Heis, in fact, reinforcing the you work for me situationwithout ever having to say it. The far phase of social distance, seven to twelve feet, isfor more formal social or business relationships.
The bigboss will have a desk large enough to put him thisdistance from his employees. He can also remain seated atthis distance and look up at an employee without a loss ofstatus. The entire man is presented for his view. To get back to the eyes, at this distance it is not properto look briefly and look away. The only contact you haveis visual, and so tradition dictates that you hold the per-sons eyes during conversation.
Failing to hold his eyes isthe same as excluding him from the conversation, accord-ing to Dr Hall. On the positive side, this distance allows a certain pro-tection. You can keep working at this distance and not berude, or you can stop working and talk. In offices it isnecessary to preserve this far social distance between thereceptionist and the visitor so that she may continue work-ing without having to chat with him.
A closer distancewould make such an action rude. The husband and wife at home in the evening assumethis far social distance to relax. They can talk to each otherif they wish or simply read instead of talking. The imper- 34 Finally, Dr Hall cites public distance as the farthest ex-tension of our territorial bondage.
Again there is a closephase and a far phase, a distinction which may make uswonder why there arent eight distances instead of four. But actually, the distances are arrived at according tohuman interaction, not to measurement. The close phase of public distance is twelve to twenty-five feet, and this is suited for more informal gatherings,such as a teachers address in a roomful of students, or aboss at a conference of workers.
The far phase of publicdistance, twenty-five feet or more, is generally reservedfor politicians where the distance is also a safety or asecurity factor, as it is with animals. Certain animal specieswill let you come only within this distance before movingaway. While on the subject of animal species and distance,there is always the danger of misinterpreting the truemeaning of distance and territorial zones. A typicalexample is the lion and the lion tamer.
A lion will retreatfrom a human when the human comes too close andenters his danger zone. But when he can retreat nolonger and the human still advances, the lion will turnand approach the human. A lion tamer takes advantage of this and moves towardsthe lion in his cage.
The animal retreats, as is its nature, tothe back of the cage as the lion tamer advances. When thelion can go no farther, he turns and, again in accordancewith his nature, advances on the trainer with a snarl.
Heinvariably advances in a perfectly straight line. The 35 The lion, approaching in astraight line, climbs on the platform to get at the trainer. At this point the trainer quickly moves back out of thelions danger zone, and the lion stops advancing.
The audience watching this interprets the gun that thetrainer holds, the whip and the chair in terms of its owninner needs and fantasies. It feels that he is holding a dan-gerous beast at bay. This is the non-verbal communica-tion of the entire situation. This, in body language, is whatthe trainer is trying to tell us. But here body languagelies. In actuality, the dialogue between lion and tamer goeslike this - Lion: Get out of my sphere or Ill attack you. I am out of your sphere.
All right. Illstop right here. It doesnt matter where here is. The trainer has manipu-lated things so that here is the top of the lions platform. In the same way the far public sphere of the politician orthe actor on a stage contains a number of body-languagestatements which are used to impress the audience, notnecessarily to tell the truth. It is at this far public distance that it is difficult to speakthe truth or, to turn it around, at this far public distance itis most easy to lie with the motions of the body.
Actorsare well aware of this, and for centuries they have utilizedthe distance of the stage from the audience to create anumber of illusions. At this distance the actors gestures must be stylized,affected and far more symbolic than they are at closerpublic, social or intimate distances. On the television screen, as in the motion picture, thecombination of long shots and close-ups calls for stillanother type of body language. A movement of the eyelid 36 In the close-up the gross movements are usually lost.
This may be one of the reasons television and motionpicture actors-have so much trouble adapting to the stage. The stage often calls for a rigid, mannered approach toacting because of the distance between actors and audi-ence.
Today, in revolt against this entire technique, thereare elements of the theatre that try to do away with thepublic distance between actor and stage. They either move down into the audience, or invite theaudience up to share the stage with them.
Drama, underthese conditions, must be a lot less structured. You canhave no assurance that the audience will respond in theway you wish. The play therefore becomes more form-less, usually without a plot and with only a central idea. Body language, under these circumstances, becomes adifficult vehicle for the actor. He must on the one handdrop many of the symbolic gestures he has used, becausethey just wont work over these short distances.
He can-not rely on natural body language for the emotions hewishes to project no matter how much he lives his part. So he must develop a new set of symbols and stylizedbody motions that will also lie to the audience. Whether this close-up lying will be any more effectivethan the far-off lying of the proscenium stage remains tobe seen.
The gestures of the proscenium or traditionalstage have been refined by years of practice. There is alsoa cultural attachment involved with the gestures of thestage.
The Japanese kabuki theatre, for example, con-tains its own refined symbolic gestures that are so culture-oriented that more than half of them may be lost on aWestern audience. Charlie Chaplins little tramp, in his silentmovies, was universal enough in his movements to bringalmost every culture to laughter, including the tech-nologically unsophisticated cultures of Africa. However,culture is still a guiding factor in all body language, andthis is particularly true of body zones.
Dr Hall goes intothe cross-cultural implication of his proxemics. In Japan,for example, crowding together is a sign of warm andpleasant intimacy. In certain situations, Hall believes theJapanese prefer crowding.
Donald Keene, who wrote Living Japan, notes the factthat in the Japanese language there is no word for privacy. Still this does not mean that there is no concept of privacy. To the Japanese, privacy exists in terms of his house. Heregards this area as his own and resents intrusion into it. The fact that he crowds together with other people doesnot negate his need for living space. Dr Hall sees this as a reflection of the Japanese conceptof space.
Westerners, he believes, see space as the distancebetween objects. To us, space is empty. The Japanese seethe shape and arrangement of space as having a tangiblemeaning. This is apparent not only in their flowerarrangements and art, but in their gardens as well, whereunits of space blend harmoniously to form an integratedwhole. Like the Japanese, the Arabs, too, tend to cling close toone another.
But while in public they are invariablycrowded together, in private, in their own houses, theArabs have almost too much space. Arab houses are,if possible, large and empty, with the people clustered 38 Partitions between rooms areusually avoided, because in spite of the desire for space,the Arabs, paradoxically, do not like to be alone andeven in their spacious houses will huddle together. The difference between the Arab huddling and theJapanese proximity is a deep thing.
The Arab likes totouch his companion, to feel and to smell him. To denya friend his breath is to be ashamed. The Japanese, in their closeness, preserve a formalityand an aloofness. They manage to touch and still keeprigid boundaries. The Arab pushes these boundaries aside. Along with this closeness, there is a pushing and a shar-ing in the Arab world that Americans find distasteful. Toan American there are boundaries in a public place. Whenhe is waiting in line he believes that his place there is in-violate.
The Arab has no concept of privacy in a publicplace, and if he can push his way into a line, he feels per-fectly within his rights to do so. As the Japanese lack of a word for privacy indicates acertain attitude towards other people, so the Arab lack ofa word for rape indicates a certain attitude towards thebody. To an American the body is sacred. To the Arab,who thinks nothing of shoving and pushing and evenpinching women in public, violation of the body is aminor thing.
However, violation of the ego by insult is amajor problem. Hall points out that the Arab at times needs to be alone,no matter how close he wishes to be to his fellow man. Tobe alone, he simply cuts off the lines of communication. He withdraws, and this withdrawal is respected by hisfellows. His withdrawal is interpreted in body language as,I need privacy. Even though Im among you, touchingyou and living with you, I must withdraw into my shell.
Were the American to experience this withdrawal, he 39 The withdrawal wouldbe interpreted in his body language as silent treatment. And it would be further interpreted as an insult. When two Arabs talk to each other, they look eachother in the eyes with great intensity. The same intensityof glance in our American culture is rarely exhibitedbetween men.
In fact, such intensity can be interpreted asa challenge to a mans masculinity. I didnt like the wayhe looked at me, as if he wanted something personal, tosort of be too intimate, is a typical response by anAmerican to an Arab look. The Western Worlds Way with SpaceSo far we have considered body language in terms ofspatial differences in widely disparate cultures, the Eastand Near East as opposed to the West.
However, evenamong the Western nations, there are broad differences. There is a distinct difference between the way a German,for instance, handles his living space, and the way anAmerican does. The American carries his two-foot bubbleof privacy around with him, and if a friend talks to himabout intimate matters they will come close enough fortheir special bubbles to merge.
To a German, an entireroom in his own house can be a bubble of privacy. Ifsomeone else engages in an intimate conversation in thatroom without including him he may be insulted.
Perhaps, Hall speculates, this is because in contrast tothe Arab, the Germans ego is extraordinarily exposed. He will therefore go to any length to preserve his privatesphere. Hall notes thatas soon as they could they set about partitioning their 40 In open stockades, Germanprisoners tried to build their own private dwelling units. The Germans exposed ego may also be responsiblefor a stiffness of posture and a general lack of spontaneousbody movement.
Such stiffness can be a defence or maskagainst revealing too many truths by unguarded move-ments. In Germany, homes are constructed for a maximum ofprivacy. Yards are well fenced and balconies are screened. Doors are invariably kept closed. When an Arab wantsprivacy he retreats into himself but when a German wantsprivacy he retreats behind a closed door. This Germandesire for privacy, for a definite private zone that doesnot intrude on anyone elses, is typified by his behaviourin line-ups or queues.
At a movie house in a German-American neighbour-hood I waited in line recently for a ticket and listened tothe German conversation about me as we moved forwardsin neat and orderly fashion. Suddenly, when I was just a few places from the ticket-sellers window, two young men who, I later learned,were Polish walked up to the head of the line and tried todownload their tickets immediately.
An argument broke out around us. Weve beenwaiting on line. Why dont you? Thats right. Get back in line. To hell with that! Its a free country. Nobody askedyou to wait in line, one of the Poles called out, forcinghis way to the ticket window. Youre queued up like sheep, the other one saidangrily. Thats whats wrong with you Krauts. The near-riot that ensued was brought under controlby two patrolmen, but inside the lobby I approached theline crashers.
Start a riot? One of them grinned. Just shaking them up. Whyform a line? Its easier when you mill around. Discover-ing that they were Polish helped me understand theirattitude.
Unlike the Germans, who want to know exactlywhere they stand and feel that only orderly obedience tocertain rules of conduct guarantees civilized behaviour,the Poles see civilized behaviour as a flouting of authorityand regulations. While the Englishman is unlike the German in his treat-ment of space - he has little feeling for the privacy of hisown room - he is also unlike the American.
When theAmerican wishes to withdraw he goes off by himself. Possibly because of the lack of private space and thenursery raising of children in England, the Englishmanwho wants to be alone tends to withdraw into himself likethe Arab. The English body language that says,I am looking forsome momentary privacy is often interpreted by theAmerican as, I am angry at you, and I am giving youthe silent treatment.
The English social system achieves its privacy by care-fully structured relationships. In America you speak toyour next-door neighbour because of proximity.
InEngland, being a neighbour to someone does not at allguarantee that you know them or speak to them. There is the story of an American college graduate whomet an English Lady on an ocean liner to Europe. Theboy was seduced by the Englishwoman and they had awild affair. A month later he attended a large and very formaldinner in London and among the guests, to his delight, hesaw Lady X.
Approaching her he said, Hello! How haveyou been? Then emboldened, he added, Why,only last month we slept together on the trip across. And what, Lady X asked icily, makes you think thatconstitutes an introduction? In England, relationships are made not according tophysical closeness but according to social standing. Youare not necessarily a friend of your neighbour unless yoursocial backgrounds are equal.
This is a cultural fact basedon the heritage of the English people, but it is also a resultof the crowded condition in England. The French, likethe English, are also crowded together, but their differentcultural heritage has produced a different cultural result. While crowding has caused the English to develop an in-ordinate respect for privacy, it has caused the French tobe very much involved with each other.
A Frenchman meets your eyes when he is talking toyou, and he looks at you directly. In Paris, women areclosely examined visually in the streets. In fact, manyAmerican women returning from Paris feel suddenly un-appreciated. The Frenchman, by his look, conveys a non-verbal message. I like you. I may never know you orspeak to you, but I appreciate you. No American male looks at women like this. Instead ofappreciation this would be interpreted as rudeness in anAmerican.
In France the crowding is partly responsible for theFrenchmens involvement with each other. It is also heldresponsible for their concern with space. French parkstreat space differently than American parks do.
They havea reverence for their open areas, a reverence even in thecity, for the beauty of architecture. In New Yorkwe are an intensely crowded city and because of this wehave developed an individual need for privacy. The NewYorker is traditionally known for his unfriendly attitudeand yet the unfriendly attitude is developed out of arespect for our neighbours privacy. We will not intrudeon that privacy, so we ignore each other in elevators, insubways, in crowded streets. We march along in our own little worlds, and whenthose worlds are forced together we go into a catatonicstate to avoid a misinterpretation of our motives.
In body language we scream, I am being forced to rubup against you, but my rigidity tells you that I do notmean to intrude. Intrusion is the worst sin. Speak to astranger in New York City and you get a startled, alarmedreaction. Only in times of great crisis do the barriers fall down,and then we realize that New Yorkers are not unfriendlyat all, but rather shy and frightened. During the GreatNortheast Power Failure everybody reached out toeverybody else, to help, to comfort, to encourage and fora few warm, long hours the city was a vital place.
Then the lights went on and we fell back into our rigidzones of privacy. Out of New York, in small American towns, there is amore open friendly attitude.
People will say, Hello, tostrangers, smile and often make conversation. However,in very small towns, where everyone knows everyoneelse and there is very little privacy, the stranger may betreated to the same stand-offish attitude that he receivesin the very big city.
But unless we understand thebasic principles of individual territories we cannotappreciate what happens when these territories are in-vaded. How we react to personal invasion of our territoryis very much related to body language.
We should knowour own aggressive behaviour and our reactions to othersaggressions if we are to become aware of what signals weare sending and receiving. Perhaps the most touching account of the inviolabilityof body zones was a novel written almost half a centuryago by H. It isthe story of a young child shipwrecked on a tropicalisland with an old sailor. The sailor raises the boy to self-sufficiency and then dies, and the child grows to man-hood alone, meets a young Polynesian girl and falls inlove with her.
The novel deals with the boys loveaffair with the Polynesian girl who has been declaredtaboo from infancy. She has grown up forbidden toallow herself to be touched by any man. The strugglebetween the two to break down her conditioning and 45 It was the early recognition of just how defensive ahuman can become about his body zones and personalprivacy that led Stacpool to explore this theme, but it hasonly been in the last decade that scientists have begunto understand the complex significance of personalspace.
In an earlier chapter I told of a psychiatrist who, withthe aid of a packet of cigarettes, taught me a lesson aboutthe invasion of personal space. He, in turn, had learnedmuch of what he knew from the reaction of patients inhospitals for the mentally ill. A mental hospital is aclosed microcosm, and as such often reflects and exag-gerates attitudes of the larger world outside. But a mentalhospital is also a very special type of place.
The inmatesare more susceptible to suggestion and aggression thanare normal men and women and often their actions distortthe actions of normal people. How aggressive a mental patient is to someone dependson the rank of the other person. It is a test of dominance. In any mental hospital one or two patients will attainsuperior rank by aggressive behaviour, but they canalways be cowed by one of the attendants. In turn, theattendant is beneath the nurse and she is subordinate tothe doctor.
In the Army, dominance isachieved by a system of symbols, stripes for the non-commissioned officers and bars, leaves, birds and stars for the commissioned officers.
But even without the symbols, the pecking order remains. I have seen privates in a 46 The sergeants,through their manner and bearing, were able to convey anobvious body-language message of rank.
Advice for Status SeekersIn the business world, where neither stripes nor otherobvious symbols are worn, the same ability to project asense of superiority is the common attainment of theexecutive. How does he do it? What tricks does he use tosubdue subordinates, and what tricks does he bring outfor in-fighting in his own rank?
An attempt to study this was made by two researchersin a series of silent films. They had two actors play theparts of an executive and a visitor, and switch roles fordifferent takes. The scene had one man at his desk whilethe other, playing the part of a visitor, knocks at the door,opens it and approaches the desk to discuss some businessmatter. The audience watching the films was asked to rate theexecutive and the visitor in terms of status.
A certain set ofrules began to emerge from the ratings. The visitorshowed the least amount of status when he stopped justinside the door to talk across the room to the seated man. He was considered to have more status when he walkedhalfway up to the desk, and he had most status whenhe walked directly up to the desk and stood right infront of the seated executive.
Another factor that governed status in the eyes of theobservers was the time between knocking and entering,and for the seated executive, the time between hearing theknock and answering. The quicker the visitor entered the 47 The longer the executivetook to answer, the more status he had. It should be obvious that what is involved here is amatter of territory.
The visitor is allowed to enter theexecutives territory and by that arrangement the execu-tive automatically achieves superior status. How far into the territory the visitor penetrates, andhow quickly he does it, in other words how he challengesthe personal space of the executive, announces his ownstatus. The big boss will walk into his subordinates officeunannounced.
The subordinate will wait outside the bossoffice until he is permitted in. If the boss is on the phone,the subordinate may tiptoe off and come back later. If thesubordinate is on the phone, the boss will usually asserthis status by standing above the subordinate until hemurmurs, Let me call you back, and then gives the bosshis full attention.
There is a continuous shifting or fighting for statuswithin the business world, and therefore status symbolsbecome a very necessary part of the shift or dance. Theexecutive with the attache case is the most obvious one,and we all know the joke of the man who carries onlyhis lunch in his attache case but insists on carrying thecase simply because it is so important to the image hemust project. I know of a black minister and educator inAmerica who travels around the country a great deal.
Hetold me that he would never go into any Southern city,into the downtown area or a hotel, without a businesssuit and an attache case. These two symbols gave him acertain amount of authority that differentiated him fromthe nigger in the same city.
Big business sets up a host of built-in status symbols. Alarge drug firm in Philadelphia earned enough money 48 The build-ing could have been designed with any number of officesand workrooms, but quite deliberately the company set upa built-in status symbol in the offices. The corner officeson the very highest floor were reserved for the very high-est personnel. The corner offices on the floor below werereserved for the next rank of top personnel.
Lesser, butstill important executives had offices without cornerwindows. The rank below this had offices withoutwindows at all. Below them were the men with par-titioned cubicles for offices.
These had frosted-glass wallsand no doors and the next rank down had clear-glass cubicles. The last rank had desks out in an openroom. Rank was arrived at by an equation whose elementsconsisted of time on the job, importance of the job,salary and degree. The degree of MD, for example,gave any man, no matter what his salary or time onthe job, the right to have a closed office.
PhDs mightor might not have such an office, depending on otherfactors. Within this system there was room for many otherelements to demonstrate degree of status.
Curtains, rugs,wooden desks as opposed to metal desks, furniture,couches, easy chairs, and of course, secretaries, all set upsub-hierarchies. An important element in this set-up was the contrastbetween the frosted-glass cubicles and the clear-glasscubicles.
By allowing the world to see in, the manin the clear-glass cubicle was automatically reduced inimportance or rank. His territory was that muchmore open to visual invasion.
He was that much morevulnerable. What about leadership? By what tricks or by what body language does a leaderassert himself? As with all of Chaplins movies, it was filled with bits ofbody language, but the most delightful sequence was onethat took place in a barber shop.
Chaplin as Hitler and Jack Oakie as Mussolini areshown getting shaves in adjacent chairs. The scene centresaround the attempts of each to put himself in a dominantposition to the other in order to assert his superior leader-ship. Trapped within their chairs, lathered and draped,there is only one way to achieve dominance, and that is bycontrolling the height of the chairs. They can reach downand jack them up. The higher man wins, and the scenerevolves around the attempt of each to jack his own chairto a higher position.
Dominance through height is a truism that works fromthe animal kingdom to man. Among wolves, recentstudies have shown that the pack leader asserts his domi-nance by wrestling a yearling or subordinate wolf to theground and standing over him.
The subordinate expresseshis subservience by crawling beneath the pack leader andexposing his throat and belly. It becomes a matter of whois higher. The same positioning occurs with humans. We are allaware of the tradition of abasement before a king, beforeidols, before altars.
Bowing and scraping in general are allvariations of superiority or inferiority by height. A young man I know, well over six feet tall, wasextremely successful in business because of his ability toshow empathy for his associates. Observing him inaction in some successful business transactions I becameaware that whenever possible he stooped, sloped his body,or sat, in order to allow his associate to achieve dominanceand feel superior.
In family searings the dominant member, usually thefather, will hold sway at the head of a rectangle table or anoval table. Often the choice of a round table will tellsomething of the family set-up.
In the same way in dis-cussion groups around a table, the leader will automatic-ally assume the head-of-the-table position. That this is no new concept is obvious in the story ofKing Arthur and his round table. The table was round sothat there could be no question of dominance and everyknight could share equally in the honour of being seated atthe table.
However, this whole idea was weakened by thefact that Arthur himself wherever he sat, became thedominant figure and status decreased as the distance fromthe King increased. The boss of a large drug company I have worked in hasan office that contains, in addition to his desk and deskchair, a couch, an easy chair and a coffee table with one ortwo chairs around it. This man announces the formality orinformality of a situation by where he sits during thatsituation.
If a visitor comes whom he wants to treat in aninformal manner, he will come around from his desk andguide the visitor to the couch, to the easy chair or to thecoffee table. In this way, by his positioning, he indicatesjust what type of interview he will have. If its to be anextremely formal one he will remain seated behind his desk.
This very fact led a journalist named Herbert Jacobs to attempt to apply it to crowd size. Since estimation of crowd size tends to vary according to whether the obser- ver is for the crowd or against it, the size of political rallies, peace rallies and demonstrations are inflated by the marchers and deflated by the authorities. Jacobs, by studying aerial photographs of crowds where he could actually count heads, concluded that people in dense crowds need six to eight square feet each, while people in loose crowds require an average of ten square feet.
Crowd size, Jacobs finally concluded, could be gauged by the formula, length times width divided by a correction factor that took density of the crowd into account. This gave the actual number of people in any gathering.
On the subject of crowds, it is important to realize that; the personal territory of the people in a crowd is destroyed by the very act of crowding. The reaction to this destruc- tion can, in some cases, change the temper of the crowd. Men react very strongly when their personal space or territory is invaded. As a crowd gets larger and tighter and more compact, it may also get uglier.
A loose crowd may be easier to handle. This need for personal space was known to Freud, who always arranged his sessions so that the patient would lie on the couch while he sat in a chair out of the patients sight. In this way there was no intrusion upon the patients personal space. Atext-book on criminal interrogation and confessionssuggests that the questioner sit close to the suspect andthat there be no table or other obstacle between them.
Any kind of obstacle, the book warns, gives the man be-ing questioned a certain degree of relief and confidence. The book also suggests that the questioner, though hemay start with his chair two or three feet away, shouldmove in closer as the questioning proceeds, so that ulti-mately one of the subjects knees is just about in betweenthe interrogators two knees.
This physical invasion of the mans territory by thepolice officer, the crowding in as he is questioned, hasbeen found in practice to be extremely useful in breakingdown a prisoners resistance. When a mans territorialdefences are weakened or intruded upon, his self-assur-ance tends to grow weaker. In a working situation the boss who is aware of this canstrengthen his own position of leadership by intrudingspatially on the man under him.
The higher-up who leansover the subordinates desk throws the subordinate offbalance. The department head who crowds next to theworker while inspecting his work makes the worker un-easy and insecure.
In fact, the parent who scolds the childby leaning over him is compounding the relationshipbetween them, proving and reinforcing his own domi-nance. Can we use this intrusion of personal space to arousedefensive measures in others, or can we, by avoiding it,also avoid the sometimes dangerous consequences of anintrusion?
We know that tailgating a car is dangerousfrom a purely physical point of view. If the car aheadstops short we can smack into it, but no one talks about 53 A man driving a car often loses an essential part of his own humanity and is, by virtue of the machine around him, once removed from a human being. The body- language communication that works so well for him out- side the car often will not work at all when he is driving. We have all been annoyed by drivers who cut in front of us, and we all know the completely irrational rage that can sometimes fill the driver who has thus had his space invaded.
The police will cite statistics to show that dozens of accidents are caused by this cutting in, by the dangerous reaction of the man who has been cut off. In a social situation few men would dream of acting or reacting in this fashion. Stripped of the machine we adopt a civilized attitude and allow people to cut in front of us, indeed we step aside quite often to permit people to board a bus or elevator ahead of us.
A car, however, seems to act much like a dangerous weapon in the hands of many drivers. It can become a weapon that destroys many of our controls and inhibi- tions. The reason for this is obscure, but some psycholo-, gists have theorized that at least a part of it is due to the extension of our personal territories when we are in a car.
Our own zones of privacy expand and the zone of privacy of the car becomes much greater and our reaction to any intrusion on that zone is greater still. Of Space and PersonalityThere have been many studies attempted to find out justhow the reaction to invasion of personal space is related topersonality.
One, a masters thesis by John L. Williams, 54 The manwho is withdrawn needs greater defences to insure thesanctity of his withdrawn state.
Another study, for adoctoral thesis, by William E. Leipold arrived at the sameconclusion by a clever experiment. Students were firstgiven personality tests to see if they were introverted orextroverted, and then were sent to an office to be inter-viewed about their grades.
Three types of instructions to the students were givenby the experimenter. These were called stress, praise orneutral instructions. The stress instructions were geared toupset the man. We feel that your course grade is quitepoor and that you havent tried your best. Please take aseat in the next room till the interviewer can speak toyou. The student then entered a room with a desk and twochairs, one in front of it and one behind it.
The praise interview started with the student beingtold that his grades were good and that he was doing well. In the neutral interview the instructions were simply, We are interested in your feelings about the course. Results of the study showed that the students whowere praised sat closest to the interviewers chair.
Thestudents under stress sat farthest away, and the ones re-ceiving neutral instructions sat midway. Introverted andanxious students sat farther away than extrovertedstudents under the same conditions. With this much charted, the next step was to determinethe reactions of men and women when their territory wasinvaded. Dr Robert Sommer, professor of psychologyand Chairman of the Psychology Department at theUniversity of California, describes a set of experimentsconducted in a hospital environment where, dressed in a 55 These intrusions, he reported, invariably bothered the patients and drove them from their special chairs or areas.
The patients reacted to Dr Sommers physical intrusion by. From his own observations and the observations of others Dr Sommer has discovered a whole area of body language that the individual uses when his private terri- tory is invaded. Aside from the actual physical retreat of - picking up and going somewhere else, there will be a series of preliminary signals, rocking, leg swinging or tapping. These are the first signs of tension, and they say, You are too near.
Your presence makes me uneasy. The next series of body-language signals are closed eyes, withdrawal of the chin into the chest and hunching of the shoulders. These all say, Go away. I do not want you here. You are intruding. Dr Sommer tells of another researcher into the field of spatial invasion, Nancy Russo, who used a library as her theatre of operations.
A library is a perfect place to observe reactions. It is a subdued atmosphere geared to privacy. In most cases a newcomer to a library will isolate himself from the other researchers by taking a seat some distance from anyone else.
Miss Russo would take an adjacent chair and then move closer to her victim, or sit across from him. While she found no single universal reaction to people sitting close, she found that most spoke with body language to transmit their feelings.
She described defensive gestures, shifts in posture, attempts to move away unobtrusively. Only one out of eighty students whose area was in-truded on by Miss Russo asked her verbally to moveaway. The rest used body language to communicate theirdisapproval of the closeness.
Dr Augustus F. Kinzel, who now works at the NewYork Psychiatric Institute, evolved a theory while work-ing at the US Medical Center for Federal Prisoners whichmay point the way towards detecting, predicting and eventreating violent behaviour in men. In his early animal studies Dr Kinzel noted that animalswill often react with violence to any intrusion of theirpersonal territory.
While working at the prison in apopulation selected for violent action against society, henoticed that certain men preferred isolation cells despitethe deprivations of such living. He found that these samemen were sometimes troubled by senseless outbursts ofviolence. Could it be that these men required more spaceto maintain their self-control? Dr Kinzel found that many men who were guilty ofassault with violence complained that their victims hadmessed around with them, though a careful check dis-closed that they had assaulted men who had done nothingbut come close to them.
The fits of violence weresimilarly provoked in and out of prison, so the prisonatmosphere could not explain it. What could? To find out, Dr Kinzel conducted an experiment in theprison with fifteen volunteer prisoners. Eight had violenthistories and seven didnt. The men were asked to standin the centre of an empty room while the experimenterapproached them slowly. Each was to say, Stop! The violent group, Dr Kinzel said, kept the experi-menter at twice the distance the non-violent ones did.
Their body buffer zones were four times larger in volumethan the zones of the non-violent group.
In this experiment the same feeling had been induced inthe violent men as when they had assaulted other prisonersfor messing around. These men, Dr Kinzel decided,went into an unreal panic when someone intruded upontheir larger-than-normal body zones. This panic and itsresulting violence occurred at a distance that other peoplewould consider normal. Much of what Dr Kinzel calls the quickly spirallingcharacter of violence between "overcrowded" ghettogroups and the police may be due to a poor under-standing by the police of the sanctity of body zones.
Dr Kinzels study seems to indicate that we are onlybeginning to understand the origins of violent outbreaksin human beings, and how to detect and manage them,outbreaks which seldom occur in the animal kingdomwhere a tacit understanding of territorial needs exists untilman interferes. Sex and Non-personsThere is, in the whole business of invasion, a strongsexual link. A girl moving into a mans territory en-counters a different set of signals than if she were moving 58 There is more acceptance andthe possibility of a flirtation makes the man less likely toresent the intrusion.
The same situation reversed, how-ever, generally puts a woman on her guard. The signal that invariably is sent by intruders is, Youare a non-person, and therefore I can move in on you. You do not matter. This signal, in the context of a business situationbetween boss and employee, can be demoralizing to theemployee and useful to the boss.
It can, in fact, reaffirmthe boss leadership. In a crowded subway there is a slightly different inter-pretation of the signals. There it is important that the twopeople regard each other as non-persons. Otherwise thefact that they are forced into such intimate terms may beawkward.
The person who intrudes on another verballyin a crowded subway is guilty of a gaucherie. It may, infact, be a little left of gauche. Here a rigid withdrawal isnecessary in order to endure an uncomfortable situation. We have never seen any movies in which a boy and a girlmeet on a crowded subway. It just isnt done, even inHollywood. The crowding in subway trains is only bearable,Sommer believes, because the riders tend to think of eachother as non-persons. If they are forced to acknowledgeeach others presence because of an abrupt stop, forinstance, they may resent the situation in which they findthemselves.
The reverse is also true. In an uncrowded situation aperson will resent being treated as a non-person. Ourlibrary researcher noticed one man who lifted hishead and stared at her coldly, signalling with bodylanguage, I am an individual, by what right do youintrude? So strongly did she feel thismans disapproval that she was unable to follow throughher experiment for the rest of that day.
Her inability to continue was because the man whoseprivacy she was invading suddenly cut through her owndefences and for the first time in the experiment she per-ceived him as a human instead of an object. This ability torealize humanity in another individual is an extremely im-portant key to how we act and react in body language aswell as in all relationships.
Dr Sommer points out that anobject, a non-person, cannot invade someone elses per-sonal space, any more than a tree or a chair can. Nor isthere any problem with invading the personal space of anon-person. As an example Sommer cites the hospital nurses whodiscuss the patients condition at his bedside, or the blackmaid in the white household who serves dinner while theguests debate the race question.
Even the cleaner whoempties the wastepaper basket in an office may not botherto knock when he enters, nor does the occupant of theoffice mind this intrusion. The cleaner is not a real personto him. Hes a non-person just as the man in the office is anon-person to the cleaner.
Ceremonies and SeatingHow we recognize and react to invasions includes anumber of what Sommer calls recognition ceremonies. In normal circumstances when you invade anothersterritory in either a library or a cafeteria, you send out aset of deferential signals. Verbally you apologize and ask, 60 In body language you lower youreyes when you sit down.
When you take a seat on a crowded bus the properceremony is to keep your eyes straight ahead and avoidlooking at the person sitting next to you.
For othersituations there are other ceremonies. Defending personal space, according to Dr Sommers,involves using the proper body-language signals orgestures and postures as well as a choice of a location. How do you sit at an empty table when you wish to dis-courage other people from joining you? What bodylanguage do you use? A study by Sommers amonguniversity students showed that sitting down at anempty table when you wanted privacy usually involveduse of two procedures.
Either you look for privacy bypositioning yourself as far as possible from other dis-tracting people, or you attempt to get privacy by keepingthe entire table to yourself alone. If you look for privacy by retreating from others, youapproach the problem from an avoidance viewpoint. You take a retreat position, usually at the corner of thetable.
In body language you say, Share my table if youwish, but leave me alone. I am putting myself here at acorner so that the next person can sit as far from me aspossible. The other approach would be to try to keep the entiretable to yourself. This is an offensive attitude and theaggressive person who chooses it would seat himself inthe centre of either side.
He is saying, Leave me alone. You cannot sit down without annoying me, so findanother table! Among other findings of Dr Sommers study were thefollowing: Students who wish to hog the entire table, whoare in defence, will face the door.
Most students, retreatersand defenders, preferred the back of the room, and mostpreferred small tables or tables against the wall. In body language, students who sat squarely in thecentre of the table were asserting their dominance, theirability to handle the situation and also their desire to havethe table to themselves. The student who sat at the corner of the table sig-nalled his wish to be left alone. I dont m i n d if you sharethe table, but if you do, I have placed myself far away.
What are homosexual signals? A game that can be surprising, frightening, adventurous or revealing — but never dull. A Science Called Kinesics Within the last few years a new and exciting science has been uncovered and explored. It is called body language. Both its written form and the scientific study of it have been labelled kinesics. Body language and kinesics are based on the behavioural patterns of non-verbal communication, but kinesics is still so new as a science that its authorities can be counted on the fingers of one hand.
Clinical studies have revealed the extent to which body language can actually contradict verbal communications. A classic example is the young woman who told her psychiatrist that she loved her boyfriend very much while nodding her head from side to side in subconscious denial.
Body language has also shed new light on the dynamics of interfamily relationships. A family sitting together, for example, can give a revealing picture of itself simply by the way its members move their arms and legs. If the mother crosses her legs first and the rest of the family then follows suit, she has set the lead for the family action, though she, as well as the rest of the family, may not be aware she is doing it. In fact, her words may deny her leadership as she asks her husband or children for advice.
But the unspoken, follow-the-leader clue in her action gives the family set-up away to someone knowledgeable in kinesics…..
The Body is the Message 2. Of Animals and Territory 3. How We Handle Space 4. When Space is Invaded 5.