Szövegértés - Body Language

Interpreting body language

You’re probably better than you think, according to the experts. There’s a popular series on US television (Lie to Me) all about a body language expert.lie2me


English actor Tim Roth plays the part of Dr Cal Lightman – the world’s leading “deception expert”. He solves crimes by observing suspects during questioning. And if someone lies, he knows it.


The series is inspired by a real-life expert who helps with criminal cases and investigations. He does this by “reading” the human face, body and voice.


So what is body language exactly? Basically, it’s a series of signals (usually sent unconsciously) in the form of body movement, gesture, eye movement and voice. Body language can actually transmit an enormous amount of information, and it can help us understand a person’s attitude or state of mind.


In fact, studies have suggested that only 7% of communication involves actual words, while 55% is visual (body language, eye contact) and 38% is vocal (pitch, speed, volume, tone offolded arms voice). Many examples of body language are easy to identify. In most cultures, smiling shows happiness and a friendly attitude. So, when someone smiles at you, they’re telling you that they’re open, interested and happy to communicate. But if someone puts their arms across their chest, they’re putting a barrier between themselves and you. And if this is combined with a harsh facial expression, watch out as this can indicate hostility.


Other examples are more complex. Experts say that if the person you’re speaking to looks from one eye to the other and then at your forehead, they think they have authority over you. If it’s your eyes and then your nose that they look at, then they consider you an equal. And if it’s your eyes and then your mouth that they look at, they might be attracted to you.


It’s very difficult to lie with your body language. For example, people who fake a smile only use the muscles around the mouth – and the top half of their face remains unchanged. However, a genuine smile involves the whole face, including the eyes.



Research shows that most people unconsciously recognise the sincerity of a smile by looking at the top half of the face. One of the great advantages with body language is that you don’t have to learn it – you already know it, even if you don’t know you do... if you know what I mean!


a suspect - someone who the police believe is responsible for a crime
questioning - during “questioning”, the police ask someone questions or interrogate that person
gesture - a movement that you make with a part of your body
an attitude - your “attitude” to something is the way you think and feel about that thing
a state of mind - your “state of mind” at a specific time is the way you feel at that time
to involve - if a situation “involves” something, that thing is a part of that situation
pitch - the “pitch” of a sound is how high or low it is
put a barrier between - if someone “puts a barrier between” him/herself and others, that person prevents others from getting close to him/her
harsh - unkind, unpleasant, not nice
a facial expression - an expression on your face that shows an emotion (fear, anger, sadness, etc.)
hostility - aggression and anger towards others
to lie - if you “lie”, you don’t tell the truth
to fake - if you “fake” something, you do it even though it isn’t real/true


Find the missing information:

1. Lie to Me is a popular television …………………...

2. Body language is a series of …………………… in the form of body movement.

3. Body language can help us understand a person’s ……………………

4. Studies have shown that actual words only represent about ……………………..  of communication.

5. In most cultures, smiling shows ……………………….

6. Experts say that if someone looks at your eyes and then your nose, they consider you an ……………………….

7. People who smile genuinely, smile with all their ……………………..