Picturing People Nude To Read Their Hidden Emotions!

Christopher Philip

A useful way to appreciate how body language works and to make it appear more logical in our minds is to picture specific body language postures as they would appear if the person were nude. This is especially important since the cues have evolved under these circumstances. For example, take legs crossed versus uncrossed. How would legs spread wide open appear on a woman? How about on a man? What about a person with their legs uncrossed with their hands up behind their head slouched down in a chair? This would most certainly come across as a dominant and an in-your-face kind of posture. Now imagine this very same posture coming from an arrogant boss if he was completely nude with his genitals fully exposed!  What if he played on height differences, for example, by him standing and you sitting while he encroached into your workspace serving to display his genitals just inches away from you?  What kind of message would be sent?

(photo of the “fig leaf” posture)

While our clothing masks some of the offensiveness of these postures, the meaning is still relevant because both the postures and their meaning evolved without clothing.  Picturing people naked can also help when reading timid body language.  For example, imagine the “fig leaf” posture where the hands are cupped together or interlaced and placed over the midsection or genitals so as to cover them from exposure. 
This happens with clothes on, but our minds are hardwired to act as if we are nude and when we feel shame, guilt, timidity or shyness we cover our most vulnerable parts, whereas when we feel confident, happy, and comfortable we fully expose ourselves to the world.  Women can also be seen holding books or articles of clothing that have been removed over their chests to hide their breasts from others, especially creepy men.  The 70’s movie cliché made it nearly universal to expect women to walk around campus this way.

So next time you want to read people you feel are arrogant or timid, imagine how the posture would appear nude.  Are they covering their private areas or are they exposing them?

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