Body language – differences in men and women

Body language – differences in men and women

Excerpt: Book by Allan and Barbara Pease – The Definitive Book of Body Language

“When we say someone is ‘perceptive’ or ‘intuitive’ about people, we are unknowingly referring to their ability to read another person’s body language and to compare these cues with verbal signals. In other words, when we say that we have a ‘hunch’ or ‘gut feeling’ that someone has told us a lie, we usually mean that their body language and their spoken words don’t agree. This is also what speakers call ‘audience awareness,’ or relating to a group. For example, if an audience were sitting back in their seats with their chins down and arms crossed on their chest, a ‘perceptive’ speaker would get a hunch or feeling that his delivery was not going across well. …

“Being ‘perceptive’ means being able to spot the contradictions between someone’s words and their body language.        

“Overall, women are far more perceptive than men, and this has given rise to what is commonly referred to as ‘women’s intuition.’ Women have an innate ability to pick up and decipher nonverbal signals, as well as having an accurate eye for small details. …

“Research by psychologists at Harvard University showed how women are far more alert to body language than men. They showed short films, with the sound turned off, of a man and woman communicating, and the participants were asked to decode what was happening by reading the couple’s expressions. The research showed that women read the situation accurately 87 percent of the time, while the men scored only 42 percent accuracy. … Female intuition is particularly evident in women who have raised children. For the first few years, the mother relies almost solely on the nonverbal channel to communicate with the child and this is why women are often more perceptive negotiators than men, because they practice reading signals early. …

“Magnetic Resonance Imaging brain scans (MRI) clearly show why women have far greater capacity for communicating with and evaluating people than men do. Women have between fourteen and sixteen areas of the brain to evaluate others’ behavior versus a man’s four to six areas. This explains how a woman can attend a dinner party and rapidly work out the state of the relationships of other couples at the party — who’s had an argument, who likes who, and so on. …

The female brain is organized for multitracking — the average woman can juggle between two and four unrelated topics at the same time. She can watch a television program while talking on the telephone plus listen to a second conversation behind her, while drinking a cup of coffee. She can talk about several unrelated topics in the one conversation and use five vocal tones to change the subject or emphasize points. Unfortunately, most men can only identify three of these tones. As a result, men often lose the plot when women are trying to communicate with them. ..

“[A part of this is that] most men’s close-range and peripheral vision is far poorer than women’s, … [and] women’s peripheral vision extends to at least forty-five degrees to each side, above and below.”

Author: Allan and Barbara Pease
Title: The Definitive Book of Body Language…
Publisher: Bantam. Copyright 2004 by Allan Pease
Pages: 13-15, 176
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