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body language

A couple falling in love over dinner.

The great poet Rumi once wrote, "Lovers don't finally meet somewhere. They're in each other all along." In these 2 lines, he perfectly expressed the almost indescribable feeling of connection that people in love experience.

This type of spiritual connection may exist outside of the realm of science. However, a recent series of experiments published in Communications Psychology revealed that some people have a unique talent for deeply connecting or "synchronizing” and people find them very attractive.

One of the big giveaways people are attracted to one another is when their minds and bodies magically sync up. People who share a connection on a first date often unconsciously mirror each other’s postures, mannerisms and facial expressions.

A great way to see if someone is attracted to you is to cross your legs and if the other person follows, there’s a good chance they may be interested. People attracted to one another may also experience synchrony in heart rates, respiration, hormone levels and other autonomic functions.

All in all, when 2 people are in the throes of synchronicity, they share feelings of intimacy and cooperation. It’s a very similar physiological phenomenon seen in parent-child interactions.

To find out if synchronicity was tied to romantic attraction, researchers had participants watch a video of a man and a woman on a date. Some of the couples were in-sync and others were out-of-sync. After watching the video, the people were asked to rate their attractiveness and how strongly they appeared to be attracted to one another.

Synchronized couples scored higher in both attractiveness and mutual attraction.

In a second experiment, scientists held a speed dating event with 24 men and 24 women. Each person wore a wristband to track their physiological arousal. They were also asked to tap to the beat of a metronome. Those who synced both musically and psychologically received higher attractiveness scores.

Those with the highest scores were known as "Super Synchronizers" by scientists.

“We discovered that the ability to synchronize is stable across tasks and across partners. Some people are Super Synchronizers and Super Synchronizers are consistently rated as more attractive,” Shir Atzil, study author and director of the Bonding Neuroscience Lab and an assistant professor at Hebrew University, said according to Psy Post. “Being sensitive to a partner and attuning to them can help promote romantic bonding. This is because synchronized physiological states can improve regulation across various bodily systems, making interactions more fulfilling and suggesting cognitive and evolutionary advantages.”

To take advantage of synchronicity on your next date, plan some activities that make it easier to connect with someone. Studies show that people’s heart rates and breathing align when they watch emotional films together. This can also happen when listening to music together or dancing. A simple shared task such as doing a puzzle together can also help you sync with your date.

Ultimately, it’s all about building a connection with another person. “When we become aware that ‘we’ are sharing a moment with someone else, it is no longer necessarily the case that we are fundamentally separated by our distinct heads — we could really be be two individuals sharing in one and the same unfolding experience,” Tom Froese, a cognitive scientist from the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology in Japan, told Discover Magazine.


Former FBI agent and spy catcher shares the body language myths we erroneously believe

Joe Navarro's insights are fascinating—but you probably don't want to play poker with him.

Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash
man standing on concrete pavement

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If there's one guy you don't want to play poker with, it's Joe Navarro.

As a former FBI agent, Navarro's job was to catch spies—people whose entire job entails tricking people into thinking they are something they're not. In his 25-year career with the FBI, Navarro became an expert in body language and non-verbal communication. In fact, he's written multiple books on the subject, including "What Every Body Is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent's Guide to Speed-Reading People" and "The Dictionary of Body Language: A Field Guide to Human Behavior."

Navarro shared with WIRED some of the myths surrounding body language—or "non-verbals"—and some of them are so common, we probably don't even question whether they're true.

For instance, crossing your arms is commonly seen as a "blocking" behavior, to place a barrier between you and whoever you're talking to. In reality, says Navarro, it's a self-soothing behavior. Other common myths are that looking in one direction or the other is a sign of deception or that people who cover their mouth or nose are lying. It's natural for people to look in various directions as they're processing information and touching the nose or covering the mouth are soothing behaviors.

"We humans are lousy at detecting deception," Navarro says. Sometimes there are clues in specific non-verbals. He shares how someone's hair, forehead, eyes, nose, mouth and neck can offer information about a person. How a person carries themselves can tell us something as well. But there's not one single indicator that a person is lying.

"When we study non-verbals, it's not about making judgments," he says. "It's about assessing 'What is this person transmitting in that moment?'"


Navarro explained that reading people's body language is often about noticing how their non-verbals change rather than just what they are in any given moment. Sometimes it's about someone trying to hide a certain instinctual behavior, which means the person is trying to manage people's perception of them. And sometimes it comes down to knowing cultural differences, like how people in Eastern Europe carry flowers vs. how Americans do.

And as for poker? His analysis of what each player was doing at the table at different times was quite fascinating.

"The similitudes of sitting across from a spy or sitting across from players—it's their reactions to a stimulus. We have behaviors indicative of psychological discomfort that we use at home, at work, or at the poker table," he says. From head movements to chair shifting to where people place their hands, the players are saying something. Navarro's advice to watch someone's body language on double speed to see what movements really stand out was particularly interesting.

As Navarro says, most of our communication is actually non-verbal, so it's good to know what people are "saying" with their bodies. But as it turns out, it's not always as simple to figure out people's body language as we've been led to believe.

You can find Joe Navarro's books on body language here.

Leo Macallan transitioned to male and joined the blue-collar workforce.

Leo Macallan is an actor, trans model, author and a confessed keen observer of human behavior. As a transgender man, he is in the unique position of being able to understand gender-based behavior from multiple perspectives.

After transitioning, Macallan worked blue-collar jobs alongside a lot of men who weren't exactly accepting of transgender people or those who were different. So, he had to learn to adjust his body language and communication style to feel comfortable and project an air of confidence in an aggressive environment.

To share his knowledge with others who may be uncomfortable in male-dominated environments, he created a video where he revealed his body language and communication tips. Macallan also shared how to observe the group of men to determine the hierarchy and how to react to offensive behavior.

Here are his 4 most important tips:

Some advice from papa bear


some advice from papa bear #ftm #transgender #fyp #transman #beard

1. Go Slow

"Walking fast, fast hand movements, they just read nervous,” he said. “Even when I do the dumbest things, I do them slow. Say I was at the supermarket and I dropped [a bottle of soda]...I would lean down very, very slowly, very casually, like the laziest lion in the den."

"It's all about the presentation and the perception of who you are and what you're doing," Macallan added.

2. Body language

"I want you to spread out as much as you can,” he said. “Put your arm across the chair. Any time I'm sitting down and there's a chair next to me, guess what? I'm pushing the chair out, I'm putting my whole arm over it and I'm leaning back with my chin up and I'm crossing my legs or stretching them out. Don't do that around girls.”

He says that spreading out is a "powerful stance," and it will trick your mind into calming down.

3. Control your laughter

"If you're within a dude and he's making a joke and you don't think it's funny, don't laugh,” he said. “Just sit there. The art of not filling space also emanates confidence. You don't have to fill the space. If they say something really offensive or are trying to f*** with you, all you have to say is, 'What was that? Can you repeat that?' and say it real loud. Watch them squirm."

4. Be the observer

"You need to practice being the observer and not the observed,” he said. “The minute you switch that perspective, you can calm down."

Macallan’s final takeaway is that even though men you’ll find on blue-collar work sites may appear to be in control and know precisely what they’re doing, a lot of it is actually an act. The best part, it’s one that you can learn, too.

"I can't tell you how many times I stood in that steel mill with a bunch of other dudes around me and they're all scratching their bellies like confused orangutans, but they're making a s***ton of money, " he said. "So, keep that in mind. That helped me face a lot of my fears."

Pop Culture

Writer causes stir claiming that 'intertwined' and 'paw' hand-holding mean different things

One means you're passionate about each other. The other, not so much.

Eli Rallo has some thoughts about how Taylor Swift and travis Kelce hold hands.

When two people in a romantic relationship hold hands out in public, it symbolizes their connection to one another and shows the general public they are an item. “It feels good to hold hands with someone we know because it’s all about wanting to be close to them,” Toni Coleman, LCSW, a psychotherapist and relationship coach, told Women’s Health.

As with kissing and hugging, “research shows that touch, like holding hands, releases oxytocin, a neurotransmitter that gives you that feel-good buzz,” Coleman added.

However, according to writer and social media influencer Eli Rallo, hand-holding can mean many different things depending on how you do it. She used a recent photo of musician Taylor Swift and her new beau, football player Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs, to demonstrate her point.

The couple was recently spotted in public with a tight interlocking grip. “I just want to make something abundantly clear: [intertwined finger hand holding] is something very different to [paw hand holding],” Rallo said.

Warning: Video contains mildly adult subject matter.




“[Intertwined] is giving ‘last night we said I love you for the first time now we can’t stop saying it,’ ‘we can’t keep our hands off each other,’ ‘we have both mutually agreed this is the greatest lay of our lives,’” Rallo continued.

“[Paw] is we hate each other, but we are still together because it is convenient.”

Rallo then went on to show some photos of Swift holding hands with different men, noting that she had an interlocking grip with her former boyfriend, Jake Gyllenhaal. “This leads me to believe two things, and this is a working thesis,” she continued. “Number one, hot men are always going to hold hands [with interlocked fingers]. Number two, men who are good in bed are always going to hold hands [with interlocked fingers]."

“You should never settle for one of these paw things,” she concluded.

Commenters on the video weren’t entirely on the same page with Rallo. Many say they choose the paw grip with their partners, not because of the lack of passion in their relationship but because it’s more comfortable.

"Intertwined fingers is awkward," Keetinamobina wrote. "Sometimes the intertwined fingers thing is painful for some of us," JSainte17 added.

While Tay noted that whether she “waffles” or pancakes” has to do with her relationship status. "I called interlocked hands waffle and the other one pancake—I must be waffled at all times—but if I’m mad, I pancake," she wrote.

Even though Rallo got mixed reviews in the comments, body language experts agree with her.

Celebrity body language expert Karen Donaldson told Women’s Health that the interlocking grip symbolizes a heightened desire to be and stay connected. “This is a display of a strong and deep bond in the relationship,” Donaldson said.

Those who enjoy the firm “but not interlaced” palm-to-palm action may have feelings for one another that are less intense or unequal. “Depending on where you are in your relationship, this handhold style could be a protective grip. But most likely, the person doing the tighter hold is the dominant one in the relationship and is aiming to take charge,” says Donaldson.

“Or, if it’s a newer relationship, the couple may be finding a way to stay connected because they aren’t yet ready to interlace fingers,” movement pattern analyst Alison Henderson added.