Body Language in Negotiation

This page about body language in negotiation is a new feature of our website.  On this page we will display links to several resources about body language.  Come back to the page often to see what is new!

The first link is to a short video presentation by Jan Hargrave.

1 Response to Body Language in Negotiation

  1. The video by Jan Hargrave is indeed an excellent example…of the fallacy that ‘body language’ can be interpreted in such a way that it ‘tells us something’ about someone. There is no scientific validity to the interpretation of non-verbal behaviour. It is and can only be the projection of the observer’s subjective view of the world onto the person being observed. While there may be claims for scientific validity there are always other studies that contradict those claims, simply because there can be no consistency to the ‘meaning’ of a particular physical stance or movement or posture or, in Jan’s video ‘hand position’. She is simply projecting a subjective symbolic interpretation on a body movement, just as dream interpreters project possible symbolisms onto the features of a dream, tea-leaf readers project symbolism onto the position of tea leaves in an upturned saucer. In all cases the interpreter creates the meaning, it is not present before the creation and so is not factual. Aldert Vrij wrote an excellent review into whether we can tell if someone is lying or telling the truth called ‘Detecting Lies and Deceit’. In the book he reviews a range of studies of the use of non-verbal behaviour in the detection of lies – the conclusions are……inconclusive – many studies contradict other’s findings and he notes with concern that some Police officers and others dealing with sensitive situations claim to be able to ‘tell when someone is lying’ from interpreting body language. The research proves otherwise – that there are not consistent non-verbal behaviours shown by people who lie…..or by those who tell the truth. To assign such credibility to this non-science that it is used in the selection of jurors is staggering not least because of its subjectivity but because of the gullability of the legal professionals who commission it.

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