Nonverbal cues occur in what is called a “gesture cluster” – a group of movements, postures and actions that reinforce a common point. Trying to decipher body language from a single gesture is like trying to find narrative meaning in a single word. However, when words appear in sentences or gestures come in clusters, their meaning becomes clearer. For example, if you’re talking with someone who begins fidgeting, it may not mean much by itself. But if that person is also reducing eye contact and pointing his feet toward the door, there’s a very good chance that he’s finished with the conversation and wants to leave.
Because they give added clarity, clusters play a key role in our ability to spot a liar. So before entering a negotiation, I coach clients to notice when their counterpart’s behavior changes — and to be aware that a good indication of bluffing is when they see three separate body language cues that send duplicate signals of stress, uneasiness, and possible deception.
But, according to recent research at Northeastern University, MIT and Cornell, there is one specific cluster of nonverbal cues that is especially revealing, and that most of us unconsciously monitor when evaluating a person’s intent and integrity. This “telltale cluster” of nonverbal signals associated with lying are: hand touching, face touching, crossing arms, and leaning away.
Read the whole story: Forbes