How Are Socioeconomic Status and Body Language Related?

People with an upper socioeconomic status or background tend to be less engaged in conversations. In a Berkeley study where two participants were filmed while having a conversation, the participants of the higher socioeconomic status or background displayed more disengagement behaviors, such as fiddling with things, not making eye contact or doodling. People of a lower socioeconomic status or background were more likely to make eye contact, smile and nod or otherwise engage in the conversation. The disparity was so great that even objective viewers later could guess participants' socioeconomic background by their body language.

More facts about body language:

  • Another big body language indicator is the position of a person's feet. According to multiple studies, the position of a person's feet can indicate whether they're comfortable in a situation or even physically attracted to someone.

  • Despite stereotypes on television or in the media, reading body language is not an exact science. Experts say that body language signals have to be considered in groups, and even then, they still are open to interpretation.

  • Body language can even be an indicator of a person's political preferences. Statistically, people who have liberal political views are more likely to follow a conversation partner's eyeline as it changes, and people who have politically conservative views are more likely to hold their gaze no matter where their conversation partner looks.

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