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When people are involved in a conversation, there are certain body movements or behaviors that are involved. The study of such body movements or behaviors is referred to as kinesics. There are five categories of body movements and gestures under kinesics and they are illustrators, emblems, adaptors, regulators and affect displays. Understanding these body movements and gestures can help people establish the mood in a conversation, the atmosphere and also the message that is being conveyed. We will use these categories of kinesics to study people in a public place so as to understand the use of these gestures in real life.
A couple of weeks ago, I had visited the food court in one of the local malls in the evening. I sat a considerable distance from a couple that was involved in a heated conversation which one could only assume was related to their relationship. From the bit of outbursts, I could hear, the lady was complaining about not getting enough love and affection from the man and this made her feel isolated and not loved. There are several facial expressions that both the female and the male used during the argument. These expressions were constantly used by the pair. The female had some kind of a frown on her face while the guy had half-smile kind of expression on his lips. The frown on the woman’s face depicted her discontent at the man for what she felt kike lack of affection by the man towards her. The frown showed disappointment from the lady which is an emotion being displayed in the form of a facial expression. The man, on the other hand, had a half-smile where one part of his mouth was smiling while the other wanted to act normal. The man kept on rolling his eyes while his girlfriend was speaking showing he believed the girls thoughts were not important and that they might be false and that he was falsely being accused.
Illustrators are the gestures that people use to complement what they are saying. In the conversation, I noticed several gestures from both the man and the woman. While she was complaining, she repeatedly pointed at the man using her index finger. This act shows that the woman is insisting whatever she is saying is directed to or is caused by the man she is talking to at the table. Sometimes the lady would place her hand over her chest which would suggest that she was trying to indicate her heart which is the emotional hub for she. The woman was the dominant speaker in the conversation thus she was the one who mostly used the illustrators as she was also speaking out of pain.
When the man wanted to speak, he employed the use of regulators to try and stop her prolonged speech. He tried by raising his hand but the woman snubbed him completely and continued to speak. He then tried another attempt by leaning forward and opening his mouth as if he wanted to say something so that she might pause and try to listen to what he wanted to say. The woman stopped talking and he began relaying his responses to the allegations. During this time, both of them used emblems which are a non-verbal gesture that translates into a meaningful sign. While the man was speaking, the woman shakes her head right and left which meant that she disagreed with what he was saying. The man after this gesture reacts by putting his hands in front of him while the palms are facing up at the same time tilting his head upwards. This gesture is used to pose a question like “what?”or “why?”. The man seemed to be asking the woman why she was unsatisfied with the feedback he issued.
Towards the end of their conversation, I noticed the couple used adaptors to convey various gestures that showed comfort or satisfaction. Examples of adaptors are smiling, tapping the fingers or even playing with the hair. I observed that when the lady was talking, she would put her elbows on top of the table and massage using her hands, the side of her head. This is a technique used to relieve tension so the woman used it to feel more comfortable in the argument. At some point the woman reached out her hand and held the man’s hands and this signaled the end of the quarrel and the fact that they had reached a conclusion on the matter. It seemed as though the man had explained himself and maybe made promises to be better which caused her some relief and thereby decided to hold the man’s hands to signal that she appreciated and agreed to the man’s responses and promises made.
From my observations at that mall, I realized that people usually use these gestures in their everyday conversations without knowing they use them. They just apply them instinctively to express emotions and feelings or to achieve certain responses in the conversations they usually are involved. Kinesics helps people understand these gestures so as to be able to effectively use them and efficiently respond to them when they encounter them during conversations. These gestures are usually used a couple of times or just once depending on the message that the speaker intends to relay to the listener.

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