when giving instructions or advice to subordinates and it is particularly common among accountants, lawyers, managers and the like. The gesture has two versions; the raised steeple (Figure 42), the position normally taken when the steepler is giving his opinions or ideas and is doing the talking. The lowered steeple gesture (Figure 43) is normally used when the steepler is listening rather than speaking. Nierenberg and Calero noted that women tend to use the lowered steeple position more often than the raised steeple position. When the raised steeple position is taken with the head tilted back, the person assumes an air of smugness or arrogance. Although the steeple gesture is a positive signal, it can be used in either positive or negative circumstances and may be misinterpreted. For exam ple, a salesm an presenting his product to a potential buyer may have observed several positive gestures given by the buyer during the interview. These could include open pa lms, leaning forward, head up and so on. Let’s say that towards the end of the sales presentation the customer takes one of the steeple positions. If the steeple follows a series of other positive gestures, appearing when the sales- man shows the buyer the solution to his problem, the salesman has been given a cue to close the sale, ask for the order and expect to get it. On the other hand, if the steeple gesture follows a series of negative gestures such as arm folding, leg crossing, looking away and numerous hand-to-face gestures, and if the buyer takes the steeple position towards the close of the sales presentation, the buyer may be confident that he will not buy or that he can get rid of the salesman. In both these cases the steeple gesture means confidence, but one has positive results and the other negative consequences for the salesman. The movements preceding the steeple gesture are the key to the outcome. GRIPPING HANDS, ARMS AND WRISTS Several prominent male members of the British Royal Family are noted for their habit of walking with thhead up, chin out and one eir palm gripping the other hand behind the back. Not only does British Royalty use this gesture; it is common among Royalty of many countries. On the local scene, the gesture is used by the policeman patrolling his beat, the headmster of the local school when he is walking through the a school yard, senior military personnel and others in a position of authority. This is therefore a superiority/confidence gesture position. It also allows the person to expose his vulnerable stomach, heart and throat regions to others in an unconscious act of fearlessness. Our own experience shows that, if you take this position when you are in a high stress situation, such as being inter- viewed by newspaper reporters or simply waiting outside a dentist’s surgery, you will feel quite relaxed, confident and even authoritative. Our observation of Australian police officers has shown that the officers who do not wear firearms use this gesture frequently and often rock back and forth on the balls of the feet. However, the police officers who do wear firearms seldom display this gesture, using the hands-on-hips aggressive gesture instead (Figure 98). It seems that the firearm itself has sufficient authority for its wearer so that the palm-in-palm gesture becomes unnecessary as a display of authority. The palm-in-palm gesture should not be confused with the hand-gripping-wrist gesture (Figure 45) which is a signal of frustration and an attempt at self-control. In this case one hand grips the other wrist or arm very tightly as if it is an attempt by one arm to prevent the other from striking out. Interestingly, the further the hand is moved up the back, the more angry the person has become. The man in Figure 46, for example, is showing a greater attempt at self-control than the man in Figure 45 because the hand in Figure 46 is gripping the upper arm, not just the wrist. It is this type of gesture that has given rise to such expressions as, ‘Get a good grip on yourself’. This gesture is often used by sales people who have called on a potential buyer and have been asked to wait in the buyer’s reception area. It is a poor attempt by the salesman to disguise his nervousness and an astute buyer is likely to sense this. If a selfgesture is changed to the -control palm-in-palm position, a calming and confident feeling results. THUMB DISPLAYS In palmistry, the thumbs denote strength of character and ego and the non-verbal use of thumbs agrees with this. They are used to display dominance, superiority or even aggression; thumb gestures are secondary gestures, a suof a gesture pportive part cluster. Thumb displays are positive signals, often used in the typical pose of the ‘cool’ manager who uses them in the presence of subordinates. A courting man uses them in the presence of a potential femner and they are common aale partmong people who wear high-status or prestige clothing. People wearing new, attractive clothing use thumb displays more frequently than those who wear older, outdated clothing. The thumbs, which display superiority, become most obvious when a person gives a contradictory verbal message. Take, for example, the lawyer who turns to the jury and in a soft, low voice says, ‘In my humble opinion, ladies and gentlemen of the jury …’ while displaying dominant thumb gestures and tilting back his head to ‘look down his nose’ (Figure 48). This has the effect of making the jury feel that the lawyer is insincere, even pompous. If the lawyer wished to appear humble, he should have approached the jury with one foot toward them, his coat open, an open palm display and stooping forward a little to show humility, or even subordination to the jury. Thumbs most often protrude from people’s pockets, sometimes from the back pockets (Figure 49) in a secretive manner to try to hide the person’s dominant attitude. Dominant or aggressive women also use this gesture; the women’s movement has allowed them to adopt many male gestures and positions (Figure 50). In addition to all this, thumb thrusters will often rock on the balls of their feet to give the impression of extra height. Arms folded with thumbs pointing upwards is another popular thumb gesture position. This is a double signal, being that of a defensive or negative attitude, (folded arms) plus a superior attitude (displayed by the thumbs). The person using this double gesture usually gesticulates with his or her thumbs, and rocking on the balls of the feet when standing is common. The thumb can also be used as a signal of ridicule or disrespect when it is used to point at another person. For example, the husband who leans across to his friend, points toward his wife with a closed fist thumb gesture and says, ‘Women are all the same, you know’, is in viting an arg ument with his wife. In this case the shaking thumb is used as a pointer to ridicule the unfortunate woman. Consequently, thumb-pointing is irritating to most women, particularly when a man does it. The shaking thumb is less common among women, although they sometimes use the gesture at their husbands or at people they do not like. Five Hand-to-Face Gestures DECEIT, DOUBT, LYING How can you tell when someone is lying? Recognition of the non-verbal deceit gestures can be one of the most important observation skills one can acquire. So what deceit signals can give people away? One of the most commonly used symbols of deceit is that of the three wise monkeys who hear, speak and see no evil. The hand-to-face actions d epicted form the basis of the human deceit gestures (Figure 53). In other words, when we see, speak and hear untruths or deceit, we often attempt to cover our mouth, eyes or ears with our hands. We have already mentioned that children use these obvious deceit gestures quite openly. If the young child tells a lie, he will often cover his mouth with his hands in an attempt to stop the deceitful words from coming out. If he does not wish to listen to a reprimanding parent, he simply covers his ears with his hands. When he sees something he doesn’t wish to look at, he covers his eyes with his hands or arms. As a person becomes older, the hand-to-face gestures become more refined and less obvious but they still occur when a person is lying, covering up or witnessing deceit; deceit can also mean doubt, uncertainty, lying or exaggeration. When someone uses a hand-to-face gesture, it does not always mean that he or she is lying. It does, however, indicate that the person may be deceiving you and further observation of his other gesture clusters can confirm your suspicions. It is important that you do not interpret hand-to-face gestures in isolation. Dr Desmond Morris noted that American researchers tested nurses who were instructed to lie to their patients about their health in a role-play situation. The nurses who lied showed a greater frequency of hand-to-face gestures than those who told the truth to the patients. This chapter looks at the variations in hand-to-face gestures and discusses how and when they occur. The Mouth Guard The mouth guard is one of the few adult gestures that is as obv ious as a child’s. The hand covers the mouth and the thumb is pressed against the cheek as the brain sub- consciously instructs it to try and suppress the deceitful words that are being said. Sometimes this gesture m ay only be several fingers over the mouth or even a closed fist, but its meaning remains the same. The mouth guard is not to be confused with evaluation gestures, which will be covered later in this chapter. Many people try to disguise the mouth guard gesture by giving a fake cough. When playing the role of a gangster or criminal, the late Humphrey Bogart often used this gesture when discussing criminal activities with other gangsters or when being interrogated by the police to show non-verbally that he was being dishonest. If the person who is speaking uses this gesture, it indicates tha t he is te lling a lie. If , however, he covers his mouth while you are speaking, it indicates that he feels you are lying! One of the most unsettling sights a public speaker can see is his audience all using this gesture whilst he is speaking. In a small audience or a one-to-one situation, it is wise to stop the presentation or delivery and ask, ‘Would someone care to comment on what I’ve just said?’ This allows the audience’s objections to be brought out into the open, giving you the opportunity to qualify your statements and to answer questions. Nose Touching In essence, the nose touch gesture is a sophisticated, disguised version of the mouth guard gesture. It m ay consist of several light rubs below the nose or it may be one quick, almost imperceptible touch. Some women perform this gesture with small discreet strokes to avoid smudging their make-up. One explanation of the origin of the nose touch gesture is that, as the negative thought enters the m ind, the subconscious inst ructs the hand to cover the mouth, but, at the last m oment, in an a ttempt to appe ar less obvious, the hand pulls away from the face and a quick nose touch gesture is the result. Another explanation is that lying causes the delicate nerve endings in the nose to tingle, and the rubbing action takes place to satisfy this feeling. ‘But what if the person only has an itchy nose?’ is frequently asked. The itch in a person’s nose is normally satisfied by a very deliberate rubbing or scratching action, as opposed to the light strokes of the nose touch gesture. Like the mouth guard gesture, it can be used both by the speaker to disguise his own deceit and by the listener who doubts the speaker’s words. The Eye Rub ‘See no evil’ says the wise monkey, and this gesture is the brain’s attempt to block out the deceit, doubt or lie that it sees or to avoid having to lo ok at the face of the person to whom he is te lling the lie. M en usually rub their eyes vigorously and if the lie is a big one they will often look away, normally towards the floor. Women use a small, gentle rubbing motion just below the eye, either because they have been brought up to avoid making robust gestures, or to avoid smudging make-up. They also avoid a listener’s gaze by looking at the ceiling. ‘Lying through your teeth’ is a common phrase. It refers to a gesture cluster of clenched teeth and a false smile, combined w ith the eye rub gesture and an averted gaze. This gesture is used by movie actors to portr ay insincerity, but is ra rely seen in re al life. The Ear Rub This is, in effect, an attempt by the listener to ‘hear no evil’ in trying to block the words by putting the hand around or over the ear. This is the sophisticated adult version of the handsover-both-ears gesture used by the young child who wants to block out his parent’s reprimands. Other variations of the ear rub gesture include rubbing the back of the ear, the finger drill (where the fingertip is screwed back and forth inside the ear), pulling at the earlobe or bending the entire ear forward to cover the earhole. This last gesture is a signal that the person has heard enough or may want to speak. The Neck Scratch In this cas e, the index finger of the wr iting hand scratches below the earlobe, or may even scratch the side of the neck. Our observation of this gestu re .reveals an interesting point: the person scratches about five times. Rarely is the num ber of scratches less tha n five and seldom more than five. This gesture is a signal of doubt or uncertainty and is characteristic of the person who says, ‘I’m not sure I agree.’ It is very noticeable when the verbal language contradicts it, for example, when the person says something like, ‘I can understand how you feel.’ The Collar Pull Desmond Morris noted that research into the gestures of those who tell lies revealed that the telling of a lie c aused a tingling sensation in the de licate facial and neck tissues and a rub or scratch was required to satisfy it. This seems to be a reasonable explanation of why som e people use the collar pull gesture when they tell a lie and suspect that th ey have been caught out. It is almost as if the li e causes a slight trickle of sweat to form on the neck when the deceiver feels that you suspect he is lying. It is also used when a person is feeling angry or frustrated and needs to pull the collar away from his neck in an attem pt to let the cool air circulate around it. When you see someone use this gesture, a question like, ‘Would you repeat that, please?’ or, ‘Could you clarify that point, please?’ can cause the would-be deceiver to give the game away.