Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Types Of Gestures

As we all probably know, gestures are the motion of hands or body that is used to help emphasize or express a thought or feeling. Gestures are usually used together with verbal communication.

1st picture on the right. We can easily tell that the lady's angry and seem to be arguing about something by looking at her pointing finger and facial expression.

2nd picture. This was taken during a political argument. We can see that the man on the right seems to accusing the other man on the left by the tensed pointing finger. Whereas the man on the left seems to be trying to tell him to calm down or probably to get his facts straight with the open palm of his hands.

3rd picture. That's the 29th president of the United States, Warren G. Harding. Usually the gesture of the fist is portrayed as aggression and anger. However, in this picture it portrays strength, determination, and power.

Here are some commonly used gestures.
  1. Emblems. Emblems are specific gestures with specific meaning that are consciously used and consciously understood. They are used as substitutes for words and are close to sign language. A common example would be the 'V' sign portrayed with only the index and middle finger up, facing away from the body would mean 'victory' or 'peace'. If the palm is towards the body then it'd be considered rude.
  2. Iconic gestures. Iconic gestures are often used when someone is trying to portray concrete and physical items. This gesture is especially useful when we're is trying to give others a clearer mental image of the item.
  3. Regulators. Regulators are used to control turn-taking in conversation. For example, when a person has finished speaking, he'd drop his arms whilst the other person who wants to speak would raise an arm as if to grasp the way forward.
  4. Affect displays. Affect displays are used to display emotions. For example, if a person uses his hands to cover his ears or the shaking of the hand vigorously probably shows that he doesn't want to hear anymore of what is being said.

Gestures are rather complicating as there are so many types of gestures made up all over the world and are commonly used. It'd be difficult to know all of it. The list above could go on and on. Understanding the way gestures work is very important as it can unintentionally cause misunderstanding between parties such as when the 'V' sign is wrongly portrayed.

"Types Of Gestures" 2006. Wikipedia. Web. June 6th 2009.
"Gesture Types" 2003. Changing Minds. Web. June 6th 2009.

Yang Su Ying

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