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Scientists have just discovered that there are 3 times more, regularly used facial expressions than first thought. There are 21  different facial expressions, which can display even complex compound emotions such as “sadly angry” or “happily disgusted” as well as the more obvious and common ones. In fact, our hand gestures, facial expressions, physical stances and body postures, together create a rich layer of communication. Very often, body language reveals more about us than we would care to say. Therefore the question “do you speak body language” is not as ridiculous as it first seems.  Actually, the answer is “yes, of course you do!”

Most people are only aware when it is too late that their demeanour is painting a revealing picture of what they are thinking. Obviously this is embarrassing if they are saying the opposite! A denial of aggression, or an expression of love, will fall on deaf ears, if hand gestures, facial expressions and body posture, tell a different story. But there are obviously far more subtle variations of this theme.

A witness’s demeanour in court is sometimes of crucial importance.  Almost every court judgement, closing submission or summing-up contains at least a passing reference to a witness’s demeanour.

“Hiding the truth” is an expression that is often used in court, but funnily enough, the witness who gives evidence with a “poker face” is the one whom it is most easy to spot in a lie. Hiding your hand in a game of cards is a lot easier than hiding the truth from the face of justice – most of the time!


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