The NonVerbal Dictionary of Gestures, Signs & Body Language Cues


Like an avalanche where you have to run for your life. --Roger (age 9)

Emotion1. A powerful feeling of affection, devotion, and fondness for a person, place, or thing. 2. An intense feeling of attachment to a family member, esp., to a baby or young child. 3. A strong desire to be near a person who is the object of sexual passion.

Usage: As intangible as it is illogical, love is thought to be our noblest and strongest emotion. Love may show in a. arousal cues (see The Dictionary's entry for "Hypothalamus"), b. breathing rate, c. courtshipd. the en face gaze, e. facial flushingf. head-tilt-sideg. heart rate,h. the hug, i. isopraxismj. the kissk. love signalsl. personal distance, m. pupil size, n. synchrony, and o. tone of voice.

RESEARCH REPORTS1. "Although the emotion of love, for instance that of a mother for her infant, is one of the strongest of which the mind is capable, it can hardly be said to have any proper or peculiar means of expression . . ." (Darwin 1872:212). 2. "I agree with Darwin that there is no distinctive facial expression for love" (Ekman 1998:212).

Neuro-notes. Love evolved from paleocircuits of the mammalian brain (specifically, modules of the cingulate gyrus) designed for the care,feeding, and grooming of offspring. (N.B.: There is a strong tendency to take care of, feed, and groom the people [and objects, e.g., automobiles] we love.)

Photo of sculpture (Bologna, Italy) by Doreen K. Givens (copyright 2000)