Folded Arms Gestures

Hiding behind a barrier is a normal human response that we learn at an early age to protect ourselves. As children, we hid behind solid objects such as tables, chairs, furniture and mother's skirts whenever we found ourselves in a threatening situation. As we grew older, this hiding behaviour became more sophisticated and by the age of about six, when it was unacceptable behaviour to hide behind solid objects, we learned to fold our arms tightly across our chests whenever a threatening situation arose. During our teens, we learned to make this crossed-arms gesture a little less obvious by relaxing our arms a little and combining the gesture with crossed legs.

As we grow older, we develop the arm crossing gesture to the point where it has become less obvious to others. By folding one or both arms across the chest, a barrier is formed that is, in essence, at attempt to block out the impending threat or undesirable circumstances. One thing is certain; when a person has a nervous, negative or defensive attitude, he will fold his arms firmly on his chest, a strong signal that he feels threatened.

Research conducted into the folded arm position in the United States has shown some interesting results. A group of students was asked to attend a series of lectures and each student was instructed to keep his legs uncrossed, arms unfolded and to take a casual, relaxed sitting position. At the end of the lectures each student was tested on his retention and knowledge of the subject matter and his attitude toward the lecturer was recorded. A second group of students was put through the same process, but these students were instructed to keep their arms tightly folded across their chests throughout the lectures. The results showed that the group with the folded arms had learned and retained 38 per cent less than the group who kept its arms unfolded. The second group also had a more critical opinion of the lectures and of the lecturer.

These tests reveal that, when the listener folds his arms, not only has he more negative thoughts about the speaker, but he is also paying less attention to what is being said. It is for this reason that training centres should have chairs with arms to allow the attendees to leave their arms uncrossed.

Many people claim that they habitually take the arms folded position because it is comfortable. Any gesture will feel comfortable when you have the corresponding attitude; that is, if you have a negative, defensive or nervous attitude, the folded arms position will feel good.

Remember that in non-verbal communication, the meaning of the message is also in the receiver, not only the sender. You may feel 'comfortable' with your arms crossed or your back and neck stiffened, but studies have shown that the reception of these gestures is negative.

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Responses

  • patrick
    What crossed arms across your chest gesture in the united states?
    6 years ago
  • ANTONINA
    What do the folding of the arms gesture mean?
    5 years ago
  • Tahvo
    What does folding your arm across your chest mean in the united states?
    5 years ago
  • antje eisenhauer
    What does it mean to fold your arms across your chest in japan?
    5 years ago
  • Emily Smith
    What doed folding as across chest indicate?
    4 years ago
  • maria
    What does folding your arms meaning?
    4 years ago
  • WILLIAM
    What culture folds arms across the chest?
    4 years ago
  • Helen
    Do u feel comfortable to fold your arms?
    4 years ago
  • ausonia derose
    Does folding your arms help build chest?
    4 years ago
  • j
    What does it mean to fold yout arms and hide fingers?
    4 years ago
  • charlene
    What does it mean arms folded across chest?
    4 years ago
  • Patrick McLean
    What does it mean to fold your arms and smile you being critized?
    4 years ago
  • stephan
    What does folded arms gesture means?
    3 years ago
  • Rene Thomas
    What does arms folded across chest and fingers o sign mean?
    3 years ago
  • mantissa
    What is the socological meaning when your corss your arms in from of your chest?
    2 years ago
  • yasmin
    Is it professional to fold your arms?
    2 years ago
  • gimja
    What does speaking with arms folded mean?
    2 years ago
  • hailey
    What does arms being folded in front of someones chest means means in the United States?
    2 years ago
  • berenice
    What does it mean when someone speaks with arms folded across body?
    1 year ago
  • FATIMA
    What does folded arms over ones mid section say about an individual?
    1 year ago
  • garry
    What does crossing your arms across your chest mean?
    1 year ago
  • ryley
    What des it mean when someone folds their arms when conversing?
    1 year ago
  • hal
    When taking a photo for a business should you fold your arms?
    1 year ago
  • Ghenet
    What does arm folding over face mean?
    1 year ago
  • ursula
    What does it mean when your crush folds his arms?
    1 year ago
  • PAUL
    What does an x made out of your arms mean?
    12 months ago
  • mitchell
    Why should we not fold our arms across ches when intervied?
    11 months ago
  • Gloriana T
    What does the folded arms mean in skull.and.bones?
    11 months ago
  • ethan muir
    What is the mean of arms cross on chest?
    10 months ago
  • evan marshall
    What does folded arms say in nonverbal communication?
    10 months ago
  • Stephanie
    What does meeans when you fold your hands when listening?
    9 months ago
  • Jali
    How to respond to folded arms?
    9 months ago
  • Eddie
    What does Arms crossed firmly in front of chest mean?
    9 months ago
  • Oliwier
    What does folding your arms in front of you to say about your character?
    7 months ago
  • faramond
    How can folding your arms affect communication?
    6 months ago
  • olo
    Are folded arms a form of nonverbal communication?
    6 months ago
  • margherita piccio
    What does folded arms tell us about a listener?
    6 months ago
  • arnor
    How to not fold arms in presenation?
    6 months ago
  • uwe fink
    What do arms folded mean in customer care service?
    5 months ago
  • omar
    What does holding your arm across your chest horizontally mean?
    5 months ago
  • codi
    What does folding your arms suggest?
    5 months ago
  • konsta
    What is the stance of sitting back, folding your arms across the chest and stodying someone?
    5 months ago
  • DANNY
    What does it mean when people fold their arms over their head?
    5 months ago
  • TERHI SAVOLAINEN
    Is it good to keep your hands folded in a office photo?
    4 months ago
  • David
    What does foldingf your arms mean?
    3 months ago
  • Karoliina
    When folding your arms when talking what does that means?
    3 months ago
  • ashley
    What does it mean if you stand with your arms folded?
    3 months ago
  • marcel
    Is folding your arms professional?
    2 months ago
  • AMBROGIO
    How folded arms show negative posture?
    2 months ago
  • leonardo
    What does folding your arms mean as a social worker'?
    2 months ago
  • Amanda
    What does standing with arms folded in the front mean?
    2 months ago
  • lea gallo
    Can a person get fired from folding arms?
    2 months ago
  • Ursula
    What can hands folded across chest mean?
    2 months ago
  • girmay semhar
    Why is folding arms bad customer service?
    1 month ago
  • kevin
    What does folded arms portray in therapy?
    1 month ago
  • Petra
    What does folded legs and arms?
    1 month ago
  • robert kastner
    What does signalling and x with your arms across your chest signal?
    24 days ago
  • bildad
    Why would a speaker have his arms folded?
    14 days ago

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