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One of the most important body languages cues

Researchers analyzed a sample size of speed daters to break down the most important aspects of body language

body language

Body language plays a bigger role in attraction and the formation of first impressions than most people realize. A recent study that came out identifies some of the aspects of nonverbal communication that can make or break the first moment when you meet someone.

“[R]esearchers found that body postures involving widespread limbs and a stretched torso nearly doubles the odds of success compared with closed postures involving limbs held close to the torso, hunched over,” according to a CNN article describing some of the key finding in the research.

According to the CNN article, one of the authors of the study elaborated:

We’ve seen it in the animal world, that taking up more space and maximizing presence in a physical space is used as signal for attracting a mate,” [Tanya] Vacharkulksemsuk, [who co-authored a study on this subject], said. “By exerting dominance they’re trying to signal to a potential mate ‘I am able to do things, I have a space in this hierarchy, I have access to resources.’

To test the theory with humans, Vacharkulksemsuk and her team conducted two field studies, involving speed-dating interactions and using a unnamed leading GPS-based online dating application.

In the first study, researchers filmed 144 speed-dating sessions, looking for nonverbal cues through facial expressions, gestures and posture. After the sessions, mate-seekers filled out surveys asking their impressions of each other and whether they wanted to meet that same person again — “the gold standard of success,” Vacharkulksemsuk said.

The result

According to CNN:

They found that profile pictures showing outstretched arms and legs got more yeses than those with crossed arms, excluding responders who picked up on the ruse. Across both studies, the results held true for men and women, though men enjoyed a slight advantage than women, the study found.

The researchers believe the rules of attraction hold just as true for humans as they do for animals, and that expansive postures signal not only dominance but openness to sharing resource held by dominant members of a society.

This also ties into Mehrabian’s Communication Model, which says that 55 percent of the way you communicate your feelings and attitudes is through your facial expressions. So interpersonal communication isn’t all about what to say.


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About Jordan Murray Jordan is a journalist who has written extensively about dating and lifestyle for multiple publications.

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