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Neck body language

 

Techniques > Use of body language > Parts-of-the-body language > Neck body language

Hiding | Turning | Touching | No neckSee also

 

The is used to support and rotate the head and hence controls some head body language. It also may send a few signals of its own.

Hiding

The neck a classic position where a predator attacks, either going for the jugular artery at the side or crushing or ripping out the windpipe.

When people feel threatened they will thus naturally act to protect the neck, pulling the chin down to protect the throat and possibly also raising the shoulders to protect the sides of the neck.

Embarrassment or fear can lead to increased swallowing. A hand on the throat may cover up the signs of swallowing as the person seeks to hide this signal.

Turning

The neck can be rotated, both horizontally and vertically, thus giving our head several degrees of freedom and the ability to look in many directions. The eyes can also look without turning the head. Rotating the neck is useful for extending the range of vision. It can also be used deliberately to send a signal that the person is giving or removing attention.

The neck can also become stiff from propping up the head and rotation of the neck may be done to exercise it. Exercising the neck can be a sign of tension. It may also indicate boredom.

Touching

Touching the front of the neck may indicate concern about what the person is saying (via their windpipe). This may because they are lying or otherwise are embarrassed or uncomfortable with what they are actually saying or are thinking of saying.

When a person is uncomfortable with what they are saying or where they are saying it, then their neck muscles may tense, affecting their voice through constriction of the windpipe or tensing of the vocal chords. This can cause discomfort in the neck and the hand thus acts to sooth this irritation.

When a person is uncomfortable they may sweat. If they are wearing a tight collar this will start to rub and irritate them. As a result they may pull at their collar.

The neck also contains the tubes going down to the stomach and touching the neck may show a concern about eating or drinking.

Another reason for touching the neck is when the person fears attack, as it reflects the desire to cover their windpipe.

There are also major muscles at the side and back of the neck and rubbing or squeezing these indicates tension, which may well be anxiety.

Suddenly grabbing the back of the neck can be a displacement activity for anger, as if the person raises their hand to strike then has to do something to restrain it. A neck-grab can also be a sign of shock or surprise as if the person is pulling their head back and grabbing it to suppress the reaction. This may be done as a deliberate exaggeration.

No neck

Having 'no neck' is often associated with people who have done so much weight training that their necks are almost as wide as their heads. The appearance, coupled with a muscled body, can be very threatening. If the person enjoys this effect on others, they may exaggerate it with arms held wide, fierce glares and other dominant body language.

See also

Head body language

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