Editors Introduction

“How Can Body Language Effect People’s Mood and Confidence?”

My initial inquiry project began from class parlors that I was a part of that had me thinking about lots of things. Technology was a huge part of these parlors and the book we were reading but what caught my attention was one statement that spoke about the impact that smiling can have on your mood. Immediately my mind wandered back to when I watched a Ted talk by a woman named Amy Cuddy that was called “Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are”. This talked was based around the idea that using certain techniques, a person can alter ones mood or performance by just changing how they carried themselves. It also got me thinking about how could I link this topic to technology as our class revolved around a book that focused on technology. As I began my research, I kept my focus quite broad so I would have plenty of avenues to explore. I knew that there would be plenty of research done but I wanted to keep my options open. Whilst I was still looking to find information regarding the links between body language and technology, I also had an interest in finding out about the correlation between positive body language and athletic performance. Being a student athlete myself, I am always interested in learning new ways to improve performance and I was almost certain that what I would go on to find would be positive results.

“Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are” was the key to my research process. All of my original ideas were sparked from having watched this talk. Amy Cuddy presents her audience with many facts and anecdotal stories to back up her points. Her belief was that you can force yourself into certain body poses in order to change how your body would work. All of these sources that I have researched are similar in ways as the main topic of conversation is how you can use your body language to influence your behaviors.

Ron Gutman once stated in his Ted talk on “The Hidden Power of Smiling” that Charle’s Darwin had a theory and that “his theory states that the act of smiling itself actually makes us feel better, rather than smiling being merely a result of feeling good.” I found it interesting how by forcing yourself to do something with your body language, you can alter your mood so drastically. This again fueled my train of thought on the topic and made me want to delve into it further.

Digging deeper, I researched how our beings develop from a young age and how body language has such a big influence on us as we grow up. It all seems to start from birth when we learn to detect human emotion through our parents as can be seen in “The Meeting Eyes of Love: How Empathy is Born in us”. I was amazed by how our brains develop from a young age and it was interesting to learn the connection between eye contact and empathy. This connection made me think about how our brains can use emotion to fuel performance and confidence.

It was fascinating to learn about the use of “Power Poses” and how standing in a particular posture can have such an adverse effect on your confidence and performance.  It connected with how people approach job interviews. People who perform best in these interviews are not the ones to be sitting scrunched over in a chair. These people are standing up in correct postures and are building themselves up to be great when they enter that room.

Further into my research, I watched a video about the art of Public Speaking. This video talks about how difficult it would be to communicate with people if you were unable to understand tone or non-verbal cues. It also talks about the importance of ones body language when giving a speech in order to portray the right message. Somebody who stands up to give a speech and portrays the characteristics of a shy person will lose his/her audience due to lack of confidence. This video was published in 2012 and is now available through the videos on demand section on the libraries website. It is pivotal whilst giving a speech that your facial expression matches the tone of your topic, i.e.: a serious subject matter should coincide with a serious facial expression.

Again, having watched the video mentioned above, I was interested to learn ways that people can use these confidence cues to interest with people easier. This can be seen in the article “How to Talk to Anyone”. This book is a very smart collection of different types of ways that someone can use body language in their favor to talk to people. Immediately one quotes that stood out to me was “There are two kinds of people in this life: Those who walk into a room and say, “Well, here I am! And those who walk in and say, “Ahh, there you are.” I felt that this quote summed up my whole research so far in the sense that in reality there are some people who are completely comfortable with themselves in public and there are others who shy away from certain situations as they fear being judged or else getting something wrong. In one chapter the book mentions how eye contact is a key component when it comes to falling in love. It has been proven that eye contact is almost always the first way that two people connect with each other and then form a bond that may or may not be broken.

Finally, my last two sources focused on the sporting aspect of the whole topic. I wanted to learn about the impact that nonverbals had on sport performance. As my research progressed I was amazed to learn the ways that your body language can effect performance. It is clear from this article that body language plays a predominant role in the professional industry these days. “When viewing televised coverage of sport events, it is noticeable to hear commentators frequently refer to the body language of competing players while also speculating on the level of confidence of those performers.” Players have admitted that they are unintentionally aware of their opponents body language and they can make pre-determined guesses as to how they will perform. Positive body language often correlates with someone who is confident in their ability whilst negative body language portrays the complete opposite.  It was also interesting to find out that sports stars these days pay very close attention to their opponents behaviors in order to detect how they will perform. “Detection of Nonverbal Winning and Losing Behavior in Sport” shows just this. This is evidently seen in soccer as a team that has home advantage seems to have much more energy than the opposing team as a result of greater support from their fans. “Awareness of ones nonverbal behaviors may enhance performance in sport by allowing the projection of dominance rather than appeasement or submissive behavior to the opponent”. It has been proven many time that athletes who are able to detect opponents body language, can have a slight edge when it comes to competition as their can pre-determine what traits their opponent will have and they can adjust their approach as necessary.

Below is a short list of six-word-memoirs that just summarize the topic in as few words as possible. Some of these memoirs are quotes from sources and the aim of them is to inform you the reader but at the same time not boring you to death with information. I really enjoyed researching this topic and there is no doubt in my mind that I will continue to learn about the topic as I grow up.

“Fake it, till you make it”

  • If you smile, it triggers chemicals associated with happiness
  • People try to use body language in order to make themselves perform better and as a result their positivity, passes onto other people
  • “Wonder Woman” pose linked with positivity and power
  • Power poses can change peoples confidence and self-belief (Comforting for the brain)
  • Technology forces people into low power poses which in turn have a negative effect on things like their mood and self-confidence
  • Personal experiences: such as experimenting with faking positive body language on the course and as a result it had a positive impact on my performance

 

 

“Animals have shaped our body language”

  • Research has shown that animals use their body language to emphasize power within the animal kingdom
  • Body language is transferable, e.g. if one animal acts in a high power pose, then the person they come into contact with will revert to a low power pose as a result
  • Humans have adapted the same techniques and it has been proven that the characteristics work the same way

 

“Predicting what your opponents are feeling”

  • People have started to implement body language when it comes to athletic performance
  • You can now detect other athletes confidence or ability by just looking at how they act or carry themselves.
  • Soccer goalkeepers are learning to detect penalty takers self-beleif
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