To conclude this chapter, there are some other subtle gestures that tell us that someone is thinking or evaluating a decision which includes stroking the side of the nose, flared nostrils, pinching the bridge of the nose, looking upwards and looking around the room. These gestures all show us that a person is trying to come up with the best course of action, or to come to a satisfactory decision. Some evaluative gestures also have confusing meanings, for example, looking up might mean that someone is bored or in disbelief – a form of evaluation. When looking up refers to disbelief the person is ‘sending a prayer to God’ or saying “I can’t believe what I’m hearing”. Flared nostrils might also be an evaluative gesture as well because it reveals an internal judgment but it can also indicate agitated or aggression. In the same general ballpark, one might turn their nose sideways by twitching the muscles slightly revealing dislike or disbelief. This last gesture likely has origins in avoiding a particularly bad odor.
These last clues should always be taken in context and be paired with other evaluative cues in clusters, of which have been discussed in this chapter. Many times, evaluative body language shows reserved disagreement, which gives us time to prepare a better case or prepare for a less desirable outcome, such that we aren’t taken by surprise.
Some evaluative gestures: