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My research interests focus on nonverbal behavior, in particular, on those almost imperceptible and unconscious acts, like scratching own nose, licking own lips and so on, with witch people express their mood, emotions, attraction and attitudes.
Some researcher like Monica M. Moore or Karl Grammer observed that people, especially women, can use their body language in a deliberate way to induce interlocutor or a bystander, usually a male, to notice them or to self-disclose. Of course, observations of these social scientists are very interesting, but we make a lot of unnoticed acts whose sole or main function is to reduce a slight feeling of tension.
This arousal is provoked by some input about witch the person keeps unaware and so the input acts in a subliminal way. When he or she feels the tension, automatically reacts making a nonverbal act. I videotaped and studied a lot of these situations and made the following observations: (1) Most of nonverbal acts are usually matched by a facial expression; (2) The facial expression is almost never made entirely; often it is only sketched or stifled; (3) Many of the nonverbal acts appear incomplete or parts of a more complex action; (4) There are always an input that trigger the nonverbal reaction: another action (like to be touched by an acquaintance), a word, a remark or the sight of something interesting, alluring, frightful or annoying; and (5) The nonverbal reaction is made about a second after the input.
So, from a neurological perspective, most of nonverbal acts appear like a "compromise" between the immediate and "uncoordinated" reactions of the amygdala and the subsequent "braking" of the prefrontal cortex.
Another conclusion we can infer from these observations is the following: if we are able to connect the input with the reaction, we can "reading the mind" of anyone; of course, we cannot really reading the mind, but we can formulate an hypothesis on what the person we are observing feels or thinks about the input: this means "working with the emotions"!
My actual projects of research: I am trying to elaborate ways to use one's nonverbal signals (like touch, voice modulation, variations of interpersonal distance, etc.) and emotional words and speeches in an intentional way to induce an emotional involvement and arousal in one's interlocutor. The purpose, making this, is to appeal to one's interlocutor and appearing to his or her eyes as more charming, friendly and charismatic.
At that moment he or she would feel a natural bent to make something to who has provoked him or her state of arousal. This method turns to be useful in psychotherapy, but even in dating, persuasion or selling. Another field of application of one's body language to provoke a state of emotional arousal is hypnosis. A new way to induce hypnosis, named "Nonverbal Hypnosis," uses nonverbal inputs to provoke an altered state of conscience in subjects and patients. The method, in theory, is relatively simple. Hypnotist makes gestures in front of the eyes of the subject, noise, vocalizations or touch him or her. Every time, the hypnotic operator observes the subject reacts with a physiological change linked to trance (like dilatation of pupils, pallor, modification of the dimension of the lower lip and others), he knows he have evoked an emotional reaction able to create a "leak" in patient's ordinary state of conscience. So, the hypnotist insists on this signal until the subject develops a good state of trance. Only, in that moment, the operator begins to give verbal suggestions: when he is been invested with the power to obtain they will be performed automatically.
During last year I created a free library on line on nonverbal behavior: its name is "Nonverbal Library" and contains more than 500 articles that anyone can consult, copy or dowload; the address of that site is:
- Applied Social Psychology
- Communication, Language
- Emotion, Mood, Affect
- Gender Psychology
- Interpersonal Processes
- Nonverbal Behavior
- Person Perception
- Persuasion, Social Influence
- Prejudice and Stereotyping
- Sexuality, Sexual Orientation
- Social Cognition
- "Come Interpretare i Messaggi del Corpo" (How to Decode Body Messages), De Vecchi Publisher, 1997, 2000, 2002 (in Spanish, 2000).
- "I Segreti della Comunicazione" (Secrets of Communication), De Vecchi Publisher, 2000.
- "All the Signals of Flirting": Nonverbal signals of interest and refusal, tuttoscienze, (818) La Stampa, n. 109.
- "Communicating with Our Feet": When her big toe has an erection, tuttoscienze (832), La Stampa, n. 206.
- "Eyes: A Window into Our Soul": New researches show a correlation of iris pigmentation on character, tuttoscienze (877), La Stampa, n. 156.
- "Gestures and Speech are Inseparable": Recent researches prove that if one's wants doing a fluent speech, has to gesticulate, La Stampa, n. 16.
- "Lips, Words of Silence": Even when we don't talk, we let our mood and emotions out, tuttoscienze (841), La Stampa, n. 268.
- "What Happens to the Brain When it is Inventing?": Neuro-psychological bases of creativity, tuttoscienze (942), La Stampa, n. 249.
- "Why We Find Tanned Skin So Attractive": Summer, sun and tan enhance sexual arousal, tuttoscienze (834), La Stampa, n. 220.
- "Written on the Palm of our Hands": Science of dermatoglyphic and fingerprint, tuttoscienze (885), La Stampa, n. 133.
- Courtship and Dating
- Nonverbal Behavior
- Nonverbal Hypnosis
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