The 5 Types Of Gestures And Their Classification In Non-verbal Communication

Types of gestures

Communication between two or more people can be verbal (use of linguistic signs in the message) and non-verbal. The latter, non-verbal communication, is the process in which there is a sending and receiving of messages without words that is, through 3 elements: clues, gestures and signs.

In this article we will talk about the types of gestures we use when communicating These gestures will or will not accompany our verbal message, and will enrich, adapt or modulate what we want to transmit.

Gestures in non-verbal communication

When relating to people, we use verbal and non-verbal communication, and we use a large number of gestures to add value to what we are saying orally. We also use gestures to modulate interactions, regulating our participation and that of the other interlocutors. The different types of gestures will have one function or another, as we will see later.

A gesture is a body movement typical of the joints There are different types of gestures, although they are mainly performed with the hands, arms and head.

A gesture It is not the same as a gesture ; Gesturing implies an anarchic, artificial and inexpressive movement, while gesture is usually expressive, and you will want to contribute something to the verbal message (or modulate it).

Gestures are included within motor expressions, and these in turn are part of a person’s non-verbal behavior.

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In addition to gestures, motor expressions are made up of facial expressions and postural behaviors

Types of gestures

We can talk about the types of gestures that we will see below.

1. Emblematic gestures or emblems

The emblems are signals emitted intentionally, with a specific and very clear meaning In this case the gesture represents a well-known word or set of words.

These would then be gestures that can be directly translated into words, for example: waving your hand in goodbye, or saying “no” with your head.

2. Illustrative or illustrative gestures

They are produced during verbal communication, and serve to illustrate what is being said orally. These are conscious gestures, which vary greatly depending on the culture. They join the language, but they differ from the emblems in that They do not have a meaning that can be directly translated since the word to which they are attached does not give them their meaning.

That is, the gesture “serves” the word, it does not mean it. How do you serve it? Emphasizing it, emphasizing it or imposing a rhythm on it that the word alone would not have.

An example of an illustrative gesture is any body movement that plays an auxiliary role in non-verbal communication, for example, moving the hands up and down like “flapping,” to indicate “far away” or “far away.”

3. Gestures that express emotional or pathographic states

Continuing with the types of gestures, pathographers are gestures that express emotional states, and they perform a similar function to illustrative gestures, but we should not confuse them. In this case, they are similar in that, like them, they also accompany the word, and give it greater dynamism. However, they differ in that the pathographers, as we have seen, reflect the emotional state of the sender, while the illustrator is emotionally neutral.

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Thus, the illustrative gesture consists of a more cultural form of expression, while the pathographic gesture arises from the emotional state of the moment.

Through pathographs you can express the anxiety or tension of the moment, triumph and joy, discomfort, happiness, pain, etc.

4. Gestures regulating interaction

Is about movements produced by both the sender and the receiver in a communicative interaction, and which have the objective of regulating interventions in the interaction. These are signs to take over in the conversation. They also have an essential role during the beginning or end of the event (for example, shaking hands in greeting or farewell).

They can be used to accelerate or brake the interlocutor (for example, making circles with the index finger and wrist to accelerate it, or with the open palm of the hand tapping in the air to slow it down). They can also indicate to the interlocutor that they can continue speaking, or make them understand that we are giving them the turn to speak.

In psychotherapy, regulatory gestures fulfill an essential function in relation to active listening of the patient. Such listening involves the ability to hear not only what the person is directly expressing, but also the feelings, ideas or thoughts that underlie what is being said.

The most frequent regulatory gestures are head indications (such as nods) and staring. Fast nods convey the message to hurry up and finish speaking, while slow nods ask the interlocutor to continue and indicate to the listener that you find it interesting and like what is being said.

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5. Adaptation gestures or adapters

Finally, the last types of gestures that we are going to define are adapters, gestures that are used to manage or manage emotions that we do not want to express

Adapters are used when our mood is incompatible with the specific interaction situation that is occurring, so that we do not want to express our emotions directly, nor with the intensity that we really feel.

These situations can cause discomfort in the interaction and/or in the sender himself, therefore he try to control this discomfort and he does so using the gesture as a way of adapting to the situation.

For example, an adapter would be running our fingers through our shirt collar when we feel suffocated by the tension of the situation, or touching our hair when we are nervous.

These are gestures used as an “escape route” from what is being said or produced in the interaction and/or in our affective and emotional state.