Culture and Body Language

Body language, unlike one of the seven facial expressions of emotion, is not universal.  In fact, research has shown that it is culture specific. writes that many of our body movements and gestures are culturally determined, some gestures have different meanings in different cultures. What can be seen in one culture as a compliment is often taken as an insult in another culture.

With our internationally connected world it is important for the business traveler, teacher, psychologist, doctor etc. to understand that one culture’s set of acceptable body language gestures or movements may not be interpreted the same way in a different culture.

One can simply look at the greeting style of various cultures to see this cultural discord come to life.  There are huge differences between the way Americans, Asians, and Middle Eastern people greet each other.

When dealing with cultural differences or a difficult cultural encounter Knowledge Is the Key!

Humintell’s IntelliCulture has a section devoted to gestures of different cultures and what they mean.  If you encounter individuals from varying cultural backgrounds, you would benefit from this cross-cultural adaptation tool.

 To read  more about gestures and how they are received in varying countries  read the entire article.

 Use Coupon Code:  COMP15 to receive 15% off your IntelliCulture purchase.


2 responses to “Culture and Body Language”

  1. Would indeed a know your opinion about studies of Hillel Aviezer, who has always maintained that facial expressions are elusive despite the studies done. the natural environment is the most important thing.
    Study: Angry, disgusted, or afraid? Studies on the malleability of emotion perception. Psychological Science, 19, 724-732

  2. Fabio – Thank you for your comment and patience. Humintell has just published a blog on the Aviezer study and included Dr. Matsumoto’s insight. You can visit our most recent blog or click on the link below to read about Humintell’s and Dr. Matusmoto’s comments on that study:

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