How is the use of body language different in humans and in animals

Intoduction Body language can be defined as a form of communication using body movements or gestures, instead of, or as a complement to, sounds, verbal language, or other forms of communication. (Wikipedia.). This term is usually applied to body language that is thought to be involuntary, but however, a clear distinction between voluntary and involuntary body language cannot be made. For example, a smile or a wave may be either voluntarily or involuntarily (Wikipedia.)Voluntary body language: refers to movement, gestures and poses intentionally made by the person, with a full or partial intention of making them and a realization of what they communicate. It can apply to many types of soundless communication, such as formalized gestures. (Wikipedia.)Involuntary body language: Some examples of human body language and their interpretations are considered below:1. Showing palms to the listeners- may mean openness and honesty.2. Hiding the palms- may mean deceit. 3. Moving the hands close to the mouth or touching the nose- may also indicate deceit.4. Pointing with a leg or knee towards another person- may mean interest or acceptance of the said person. 5. Pointing your body away from the one you talk- means you would rather not be talking to the person. 6. Silently looking at the floor or avoiding direct eye contact- may mean that a person is thinking about a problem that emotionally affect them. 7. Not looking into the person’s eyes, in Western culture- can also indicate deceit. Animals, although not bestowed with the gift of speech, can effectively convey a variety of emotions, both within their group as well as with humans. Some examples of feline, dolphin and gorilla body language can be considered:FelinesFear triggers an adrenaline rush, causing the cats back and tail to arch and the hair to bristle. This is mainly intended to dissuade potential attackers. When fearful, nervous and defensive, their ears flatten or twitch and their eyes dilate fully. Confident, aggressive cats in response to direct confrontations with intruders, narrow their pupils to slits for better depth perception and stare down their opponents, their ears stand up, facing forward or folded so that the backs are seen head-on. To create the illusion of being larger, an aggressive cat will approach the defensive cat in a prancing sideways motion with its rear end held high and tail slung low. (Animalplanet.com.) Dolphins Bottle-nosed dolphins identify themselves with a signature whistle. They use a complicated system of whistles, squeaks, moans, trills and clicks. Some of the other dolphin behaviors possibly used for visual communication includes, arching, eye white display, flexing, head wag, playing dead, etc. (Dolphin Communication)GorillaKoko, a captive gorilla, can supposedly communicate more than 1,000 signs based on American Sign Language, and is considered to be the most proficient non-human users of language.Bonobos, a subspecies of chimpanzees, are also adept with certain forms of communication. Research into non-human Great Ape language suggest that apes are capable of using human modes of communication to communicate with humans and other apes (Wikipedia.)ConclusionIn essence, although both humans and animals use body language to convey a variety of emotions, it can be said that humans have evolved from a time where body language was the sole means of communication, to the ability to speak and use body language at the same time to convey the meaning more emphatically. In animals, body language is one of the primary means of communication.************************************************************************ReferencesAnimalplanet.com. Retrieved November 18, 2005, http://animal.discovery.com/guides/cats/behavior/bodylanguageintro.htmlDolphin Communication. Retrieved November 18, 2005, http://academic.scranton.edu/student/VALLAK3/default3.htmlWikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved November 18, 2005,

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