As a species we are strongly imitative and it is impossible for a healthy individual to grow up and live in a community without becoming infected with its typical-action patterns. The way we walk and stand, laugh and grimace, are all subject to this influence.This is the third of three books on human behaviour which I read over the last few months and am writing up this week. This one was recommended to me by Sir Graham Watson, and I got it as part of my belated birthday spending of Amazon vouchers.
It's the 2002 update of the 1977 book Manwatching: A Field Guide to Human Behaviour; Morris grumbles a bit about having to change the title in these new times, but then he gets on with the serious business of looking at different things that we do with our bodies to for specific non-verbal communications - 488 pages worth, with loads of diagrams. To be honest, I found it entertaining rather than enlightening; there is no over-arching theory other than that it pays to pay attention to what people are doing as well as saying. It is interesting to see how some gestures can mean quite different things in different countries - in some places the beckoning gesture that I use, moving my hand towards me, actually means "go away"; my daughter's habit of telling us not to bother her by pushing her open hand towards us is amusing here but extremely rude in Greece. But I felt that of the three books I've written up here this week, I possibly learned least from this. (Must go back and re-read The Naked Ape; it boggled my mind as a teenager.)