Body Language and Facial Expressions: Do they Matter?

Our early ancestors lived in an incredibly dangerous world for many years. Without any real language, they needed to have other ways to communicate. Communication was necessary to express their emotions, needs, anxieties, and desires with each other. They managed to do this through using nonverbal communications including physical changes, gestures, sounds, and facial or body responses. Our biological heritage meant that for so long that we communicated nonverbally. Let’s take a closer look at body language, including how it has evolved to where it is today. Between things like facial expressions and even how we fold our arms, our body gives us away.

Evolution of Body Language

We evolved; learning to verbally communicate with each other as well as bettering our skills of understanding body language. The result is that it has made such a vast difference in our lives and allowed our species to continue to thrive. Otherwise, there would have been a problem with our species becoming extinct long ago. It has taken a great deal of time, but these skills are infinitely better than they were before. Here is a closer look at this evolution. This technique has developed with time. Without conscious behaviour, some signals directly alert others of any risks that are perceived. We are also able to communicate to others around us immediately. As our brain forces us to freeze in place when we see an aggressive dog, it conveys our body’s reaction. It is noticeable whether or not we are comfortable or uncomfortable, content or hopeless, safe or in danger. The benefit is two-fold. As we physically react to the world around us, others can benefit. For instance, if we taste something disgusting, people will see our facial expression. They will not even need to taste it because they will know by your face that the food is terrible. Body language gives you an efficient way to communicate before your words can even come out. As you can see, body language is essential to our evolution.

Importance of Body Language and Facial Expression

Body language has not only evolved from the need of survival, though this is the main reason for it. Our brain also expresses intentions through body language. For example, say you are speaking to someone, and you notice that their feet are pointing towards an exit. You will know that this person probably needs to leave. They may be running late for something and need to go. They stay to talk to be polite, but they need to go. You can see this through their body language, and you can end this conversation. A perfect example as to why we say that actions speak louder than words. So what’s psychologically behind all of this? Our demands, feelings, thoughts, emotions, and motives are processed by what’s known as the limbic system of the brain. The limbic system has input into what our body naturally does without thought. For instance, when someone gives us bad news and our lips compress instantly, or you are asked to work another weekend, and we narrow our eyes as our chin lowers. These are common facial expressions for these situations, and stress displays that our limbic brain has perfected over the years. You are not reacting this way based on cultural identity; rather these are things that everyone does.

How People View Us

Body language helps people get clues on how we feel about them or how they should view us. When we see someone that we are comfortable with, our eyebrows will arch defying, and our facial muscles will relax. Our arms will be pliable so we can welcome them. In the presence of someone we love, we are going to have very specific reactions. We tend to lean our head, and blood will flow to our lips making them complete, as our pupils dilate. This signifies that our bodies naturally adjust to the authentic thoughts that we feel. Our bodies do not have to react like this. However, we evolved to present them for a reason. We are social creatures that want to communicate verbally and non-verbally. Understanding body language is quite crucial and also very fascinating. There have been reported cases where children who are born blind, having never visualised these non-verbal cues can instinctively do them. For example, a child that is blind had covered their eyes when they heard something they do not enjoy. This suggests that body language is hardwired into us.


What one visually observes can in combination with other cues, be an excellent way to discover how others feel about you and assess how a relationship is evolving. Frequently when people feel that something is wrong in a relationship, this can be expressed in body language displays. Couples who hold hands all the time may or may not be a real indication of their relationship if it’s done out of habit. Instead, the subtle behaviours may be more accurate representation. Learning the art of reading body language can go a long way. It can help us identify what others are feeling, believing, wanting or worrying about. Having that additional insight gives a much better evaluation of others. In turn, it helps us in communicating more empathetically and efficiently for better comprehension. No matter where we are, our body language will give us away. You have all been there when someone is saying “yes” to you; however, the body language is saying “no”. Our body language will tell observers what we are thinking and feeling, giving off signals to the people around us. Author: Professional researcher   If you would like to receive our newsletter: Subscribe to our mailing list

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