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body language

body language, nonverbal communication by means of facial expessions, eye behavior, gestures, posture, and the like. Body language expresses emotions, feelings, and attitudes, sometimes even contradicting the messages conveyed by spoken language. Some nonverbal expressions are understood by people in all cultures; other expressions are particular to specific cultures. Kinesics, the scientific study of body language, was pioneered by the anthropologist Ray L. Birdwhistell, who wrote Introduction to Kinesics (1952).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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