Nonverbal Dictionary
Amphibian Brain
Nonverbal Brain
Nonverbal World
Zygomatic Smile

David B. Givens, Ph.D., Director (509-624-4794; givens@center-for-nonverbal-studies.org)

Welcome to Nonverbal World

The Center for Nonverbal Studies (CNS) is a private, nonprofit research center located in Spokane, Washington. Underway since October 1, 1997, the Center's mission is to advance the study of human communication in all its forms apart from language. The Center's goal is to promote the scientific study of nonverbal communication , which includes body movement, gesture, facial expression, adornment and fashion, architecture, mass media, and consumer-product design.


I can never bring you to realize the importance of sleeves, the suggestiveness of thumbnails, or the great issues that may hang from a bootlace. --Sherlock Holmes to Watson ("A Case of Identity")

He even walked like a crab, as if he were cringing all the time. --Elia Kazan, commenting on actor James Dean (Dalton 1984:53)


By David B. Givens:

LOVE SIGNALS: A Practical Field Guide to the Body Language of Courtship (New York: St. Martin's Press), 2005.  (Translated into Arabic, Bulgarian, Chinese (Mainland China), Czech, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian (by Zavod Za Udzbenike I Nastavna Sredstva), Spanish, and Swedish; paperback edition by St. Martin's Griffin, 2005.)

Love Signals, the Book

Book reviews:

“I love this book! It should be called ‘The Book of Secrets’." --Amazon customer review (Dr. Ali Binazar, July 21, 2014)

“I found it a fascinating, fun and easy to read book.” --Amazon customer review (Steven Chambers, May 8, 2010)

“Wow, what a fascinating book! When it comes to courtship among humans, the beginnings are all based on non-verbal cues - including posture, gestures and facial expressions. Everyone knows that first impressions are the most important, you really don't realize the impressions you are giving until you read this book!” --Amazon customer review (Alice in Wonderland, Feb. 16, 2006)

“I would absolutely recommend "Love Signals" to anyone who wishes to enjoy the intellectual discussion behind the science and psychology of attraction and / or for anyone who wishes to become better skilled at reading people's body language (as well as being aware of their own "signals" they are sending out).” --Amazon customer review (Marni Galison, Oct. 22, 2010)

(To preview this book, please click on GOOGLE PREVIEW.)

CRIME SIGNALS: How to Spot a Criminal Before You Become a Victim (New York: St. Martin's Press), 2008. (Chicago Sun Times Book of the Day, January 23, 2008) Ebook edition 2013, Macmillan, New York.

Crime Signals, the Book

Book reviews:

“One of the best books I ever read!” --Amazon customer review (Barbara, June 19, 2010)

“This book is a life saver.” --Amazon customer review (Max, Feb. 22, 2008)

“Brilliant. Simply brilliant. A must read. I'll save you time - if the title interests you or you have an interest in body language you should buy this book. It's the best I've ever read.” --Amazon customer review (E. Daly, Jan. 12, 2009)

“This book came recommended to me by another body language expert, Tonya Reiman, author of The Yes Factor: Get What You Want. Say What You Mean. The Secrets of Persuasive Communication as a good introduction to body language signals. It did not disappoint.” --Amazon customer review (Steven Chambers, May 29, 2010)

(To preview this book, please click on GOOGLE PREVIEW.)

YOUR BODY AT WORK: A Guide to Sight-reading the Body Language of Business, Bosses, and Boardrooms (New York: St. Martin's Press), released August 31, 2010. (Chinese edition by Chonqing Publishing House, German edition by Finanzbuch Verlag, Brazilian Portuguese by Editora Vozes, and Indonesian by Mizan; excerpted in Human Communication in Society [Allyn & Bacon, 2012])

Book reviews:

“This book is well written in a style that appeals to academics and lay persons. I highly recommend it for anyone interested in nonverbal communication in all of their relationships!” --Amazon customer review (JD, Dec. 30, 2012)

“Great book about interaction between people and the way how Body Language influences our relationships. Body Language is very important. Read it and learn about it.” --Amazon customer review (Gérard Bour, from Belgium, Jan. 30, 2014)

“This book is a reference! I recommend it for anyone looking for a comprehensive book on nonverbal communication in the professional world.” --Amazon customer review (T1M3 TR4V3LL3R, Jan. 5, 2014)

“Met or exceeded my expectations. What is shown is what I received. I have read this and expect to use as often as I can.” --Amazon customer review (tony, Nov. 6, 2013)

(To preview this book, please click on GOOGLE PREVIEW.)

NEW 2015 (available now): “Nonverbal Neurology: How the Brain Encodes and Decodes Wordless Signs, Signals, and Cues.” Chapter One in Chadee, Derek, and Aleksandra Kostić (Eds.), Social Psychology in Nonverbal Communication (New York: Palgrave-Macmillan), pp. 9-30.

Book review: "An important new study of the fascinating subject of human body language" - Desmond Morris, author of The Naked Ape and Manwatching

NEW 2015 (available now): “Measuring Gestures.” Chapter Three in Chadee, Derek, and Aleksandra Kostić (Eds.), Social Psychology in Nonverbal Communication (New York: Palgrave-Macmillan), pp. 66-91.

Book review: "In this new volume of brilliant essays by internationally acclaimed researchers and theoreticians that is beautifully orchestrated by editors Aleksandra Kostić and Derek Chadee, the silent world of nonverbal communication is given the voice it well deserves." - Philip G. Zimbardo, Emeritus Professor, Stanford University, USA

FORTHCOMING 2015: “Reading Palm-up Signs: Neurosemiotic Overview of a Common Hand Gesture.” Accepted for publication (Mar. 4, 2015) in Semiotica. (To preview this article, please contact the author for an advance copy [givens@gonzaga.edu].)

UPDATE 2015 (Sept. 9): "Palm-up and Palm-down Gestures: Precursors to the Origin of Language" has been published on The Center for Nonverbal Studies' Website.

Comment: “I think yours is a really good paper!” --Ralph Holloway (Dept. of Anthropology, Columbia U; Sept. 1, 2015 3:05 PM)

Comment: "It was an eye-opener to me in that I hadn’t previously thought about the evolution and meaning of palms up vs palms down gestures. I will certainly be thinking about these issues in the future!" --Kathleen Gibson (Dept. of Anthropology, U of Texas-Austin; Oct. 1, 2015 10:45 AM)

(To view this article, please click on PUBLICATIONS.)

World Book Encyclopedia published its first-ever entry on "Body Language"--written by CNS staff--in its 2001 CD and 2001 hardback encyclopedia editions.

"Mysteries of Mating"--a TV pilot featuring CNS research--premiered on February 13, 2001, at 7pm and 10pm PST, and 10pm and 1am EST, on The Learning Channel. (LA Weekly . . . "TV Pick of The Week"!)


The Center for Nonverbal Studies (CNS) is home to The Nonverbal Dictionary of Gestures, Signs, and Body Language Cues.  Our earlier Website was abruptly taken down by AOL in late 2008, and this is the beginning of our new site, begun February 26, 2009.

We apologize for the disruption in service, and hope to make the newest version of The Nonverbal Dictionary available soon.  Meanwhile, thanks very much for your patience and support.  We look forward to continuing our dialogue with you on all matters of nonverbal communication, from the Adam's-Apple-Jump to the Zygomatic Smile.


David Givens



David B. Givens began studying "body language" for his Ph.D. in anthropology at the University of Washington in Seattle. He served as Anthropologist in Residence at the American Anthropological Association in Washington, D.C. from 1985-97, and is currently Director of the Center for Nonverbal Studies in Spokane, Washington. He taught anthropology at the University of Washington and teaches in the School of Professional Studies at Gonzaga University. His expertise is in nonverbal communication, anthropology, and the brain. Givens offers seminars to lawyers, judges, social workers, salespeople, and physicians; works with local law-enforcement agencies and the FBI; and consults with the U.S. intelligence community. Givens's scholarly articles are recognized as international classics by the Max Planck Institute in Germany. Givens and neuroscientist Paul D. MacLean introduced the word "isopraxism" (the reptilian principle of mimicking) into the English language, as announced by the executive editor of the American Heritage Dictionary in the Atlantic Monthly. Givens was a member of a team of anthropologists, linguists, astronomers, and nuclear physicists charged by the U.S. Dept. of Energy with designing a marker to warn human beings 10,000 years in the future about the dangers of nuclear waste. Givens has spoken to the Smithsonian Institution, National Academy of Sciences, European COLIPA, U.S. EPA, Washington State Administrator for the Courts, and other groups. He has done consulting for Sandia National Laboratories, the Bechtel Group, U.S. Department of Energy, Pfizer, Epson, Wendy's International, Dell Inc., Unilever, Hallmark, Masterfoods USA, Kimberly Clark, and Best Buy.  His ideas on nonverbal communication have been written about in Omni, Harpers, the New Yorker, U.S. News & World Report and in the New York Times, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times. Givens is the author of Love Signals: A Practical Field Guide to the Body Language of Courtship (St. Martin's, New York, 2005), Crime Signals: How to Spot a Criminal Before You Become a Victim (St. Martin's, 2008), and Your Body at Work: A Guide to Sight-reading the Body Language of Business, Bosses, and Boardrooms (St. Martin’s, 2010). His online Nonverbal Dictionary is used around the world as a reference tool.


The Center for Nonverbal Studies (CNS) gave a Featured Presentation on "Establishing Viable Rapport Across Continents" on Tuesday, January 26, 1999, at the Sheraton Sand Key Resort in Clearwater, Florida. The Q-Search conference was sponsored by the Marketing Institute and the Institute for International Research (www.iir-ny.com).

CNS conducted field research on the Warm Wishes® product line for Hallmark Cards Inc., with the Center for Ethnographic Research, in Kansas City, Missouri, from March 1-5, 1999.

A presentation on "Product Selection and the Evolution of Consumer Goods" was given at the 98th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association (Chicago Hilton & Towers Hotel, Thursday, November 18, 1999, in Private Dining Room 2, 3rd floor).

CNS conducted field research in Spokane, Washington, on signage for Hallmark Cards Inc., with the Center for Ethnographic Research in Kansas City, Missouri, from January 6-11, 2000.

A presentation on "Interrogation and the Interview: Nonverbal Agendas" was presented to the Washington State Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) on Wednesday, July 26, 2000, at the Spokane Intercollegiate Research & Technology Institute (SIRTI) in Spokane, Washington.

"Nonverbal Behavior for Investigations," was presented for the Behavior Analysis Training Institute at the CarrAmerica Realty Corporation Conference Center in Pleasanton, California, on Tuesday, December 19, 2000, from 8:30 am - 4:00 pm.

Research on facial expressions was completed for LaForce & Stevens, 132 West 21st Street, New York, NY on behalf of Johnson & Johnson Oral Health.

Research on available consumer data was completed for Robideaux Marketing & Design on behalf of Olympic Foods and Sunkist (see the product at www.sunkistpure.com).

Observational and ethnographic product research was completed for Ethnographic Research, Inc., in Kansas City, Missouri, on behalf of Epson America.

CNS contributed copy on nonverbal communication for use in media ads by Sprint (July 2001).

CNS contributed information on nonverbal communication for use on the Intel Education Web Site (August 2001).

A product launch was held for Procter & Gamble's Olay Touch, on behalf of DeVries Public Relations, 30 East 60th Street, 14th Fl, New York, NY, in September, 2001.

Product research in China, England, Japan, Mexico, Sweden and the U.S. was completed for Ethnographic Research, Inc., Kansas City, Missouri, on behalf of Pfizer.

CNS provided training in nonverbal communication from 2002 - 2004 for the U.S. Department of Defense. (CNS is an official DoD contractor.)

CNS completed research on "The Language of Hands" in Los Angeles, Kansas City, Chicago, and Boston on behalf of Unilever. Results were shared at a press conference on the rooftop garden of the Library Hotel in New York City. ''Working with the Center for Nonverbal Studies, we better understand how people feel about their hands and the hands around them,'' said Pablo Gazzerra, Vaseline Intensive Care Brand director. ''From Dr. Given's conclusions, we are pleased that Healthy Hand Essentials Moisturizing Lotion will fulfill consumer need for a product to help correct the physical attributes that inhibit our communication'' (Amsterdam News, August 29, 2002).

CNS presented the keynote speech ("The Naked Ape and Cosmetic Behavior") to the International Cosmetic Forum (hosted by the European Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association [COLIPA] of Brussels, Belgium, under the patronage of the International Centre for Applied Research in Cosmetology and the Italian Society of Toxicology) at the Aula Magna Santa Lucia, University of Bologna, Bolgna, Italy, on March 6, 2003.

CNS conducted nonverbal research for Best Buy from June 12 - 21, 2003 in Maryland and Virginia, in cooperation with the Center for Ethnographic Research in Kansas City, Missouri.

CNS provided nonverbal training for the FBI on June 24 - 25, 2003 in Tampa, Florida.

CNS conducted research in September and October, 2003 for Dell Inc. in cooperation with the Center for Ethnographic Research in Kansas City, Missouri.

CNS conducted research in November and December, 2003 for Wendy's International, Inc. in Columbus, Ohio, and Spokane, Washington.

CNS completed its final report on January 30, 2004, for Dell Inc.

CNS conducted nonverbal focus-group research on men's grooming in April, 2004 for Robideaux Marketing & Design in cooperation with Strategic Research Associates in Spokane, Washington.

CNS conducted nonverbal training for Masterfoods USA, a division of Mars Incorporated, at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada, from August 3-5, 2004.

CNS collaborated with economist and essayist, Jan Van Meenan, on his 2004 book, De Politiek Achter Het Gebaar (Roeselare: Roularta Books), about the body language of Belgian politicians.

CNS completed its final report for the U.S. Department of Defense in October, 2004.

CNS produced a white-paper report on "The Bioevolution of Human Hair" for Pfizer in October, 2004.

CNS conducted research on nonverbal messages conveyed by portraiture for Heller Communications in New York City in March, 2005.

CNS conducted research in February and March, 2005, in Dallas and Houston, Texas, for Wendy's International, Inc., on behalf of Pacific Ethnography in Santa Monica, California.

CNS staff wrote an article on nonverbal communication in face-to-face meetings (for designers) for Heller Communications in New York City in April, 2005.

CNS conducted research on nonverbal "comfort cues" in April, 2005, for Kimberly Clark's Kleenex division.

CNS analyzed nonverbal messages conveyed by corporate portraiture for Heller Communications in New York in September and October, 2005.

CNS conducted research on nonverbal communication in 2005-06 for Masterfoods USA in Vernon, California.

CNS analyzed nonverbal messages conveyed by corporate portraiture for NewPage Coated Paper in Dayton, Ohio in February and March, 2006.

CNS presented a seminar on "Roadside Reactions: Nonverbal Agendas for Police Officers" on March 2, 2006 to the Road Warrior Interdiction Network in Beaumont, Texas.

CNS presented a seminar on "Roadside Reactions: Nonverbal Agendas for Police Officers" on March 3, 2006 to the Beaumont Police Department at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas.

CNS produced a white-paper report on "Rationale for Nonverbal Training in Telephone Sales" for SureSpeak, Inc., on behalf of Quicken Loans in April, 2006.

CNS presented a seminar on "Judicial Kinesics" on April 28, 2006 to the Texas College for Judicial Studies in Austin, Texas.

CNS provided training on "Reading the Person in Front of You: Nonverbal Signs, Signals and Cues," on September 19, 2006 in Saratoga Springs, New York, for the NYS Affirmative Action Advisory Council's Annual Training Symposium.

CNS presented a seminar on "Feelings Apart from Words" for Inland Northwest Blood Center in Spokane, Washington, November 16, 2007.

CNS consulted on a project for the National Center for State Courts, on behalf of Greacen Associates in Regina, New Mexico, December 3, 2006 - November 27, 2007.

CNS presented a seminar on “Reading the Person in Front of You: Nonverbal Signs, Signals, and Cues” to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Seattle, Washington, February 27, 2008.

CNS presented a seminar on “Visible Deception: Nonverbal Signs, Signals, and Cues” to the FBI Polygraph Program at the Burton Federal Building in San Francisco, California, June 17, 2008.

CNS presented a seminar on “Reading Deception in the Field” for the U.S. EPA – Region 10 in Seattle, Washington, January 21, 2009.

CNS gave a keynote presentation on “Crime Signals in Casinos” at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada, March 2, 2009, for World Game Protection, Inc.

CNS presented “Nonverbal Styles of Judicial Communication” to the 2009 Advanced Judicial Academy at the University of Illinois College of Law in Champaign, Illinois in June, 2009.

On August 13, 2009 CNS met via teleconference with officials from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) regarding its audit—at the request of the U.S. Congress—of The Transportation Security Administration's (TSA’s) Screening Passengers by Observation Techniques (SPOT) program. According to Dr. Jonathan Tumin of GAO’s Homeland Security & Justice Team, “TSA has told us that most of the nonverbal indicators they use to detect signals of stress, deception or fear are based on your [i.e., CNS's] research.” According to GAO's May 2010 Report to the U.S. House of Representatives (on "Aviation Security"), "TSA cited research on . . . nonverbal indicators by Dr. David Givens . . . as support for the choice of several of the behavior indicators" (May 20, 2010; www.gao.gov/new.items/d10763.pdf; accessed May 21, 2010).

CNS conducted training in “Nonverbal Behavior Analysis” for the FBI in Stafford, Virginia, on September 17, 2009.

CNS conducted training on “Crime Signals in Casinos,” for Niagara Falls Casinos, Ontario, Canada, on December 2 & 3, 2009.

CNS provided consulting services to Agence In Progress, Management de l'innovation, in Surenes, Paris, France, in September 2010.

CNS provided consulting services to Johnson & Johnson on Purell hand sanitizer, via Hunter Public Relations in New York, New York, in September 2010.

CNS provided consulting services on semiotics of the handshake to Johnson & Johnson for its Purell hand sanitizer, via Hunter Public Relations in New York, New York on September 27, 2010.

CNS presented "Body Language: How to Add Character to Your Characters" to the 2010 Idaho Writer's League Conference in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, in September 2010.

CNS provided ideas for Deloitte Consulting LLP on its "Art of Empathy Training" project in San Francisco, California, in October, 2010.

CNS provided consulting services on the semiotics of lips to Badoo.com, via PR Newswire in London, United Kingdom, in December, 2010.

CNS initiated a Weblog for Psychology Today ("Your Body at Work" [http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/your-body-work]) in 2010.

CNS presented "Body Language in the Workplace," jointly sponsored by Gonzaga University and Whitworth University, to Leadership Spokane, at the Red Lion River Inn, Spokane, Washington, on October 6, 2011.

CNS conducted training on "Interrogation and the Interview: Nonverbal Agendas," for the International Association of Arson Investigators in Spokane Valley, Washington, on October 27, 2011.

CNS took part in a documentary film on human courtship signs, for the BBC and National Geographic Society, produced by Pioneer Productions, Voyager House, 32 Galena Road, London, W6 OLT, England, on November 7, 2011.

CNS took part in a documentary film about sending a message into the distant future, for "Nuclear Underground," by Harvard University professors Peter Galison and Robb Moss, on February 25, 2012. With musical scoring by Michael Einziger (rock band Incubus), the film is set to premier at the Sundance Film Festival in January, 2013.

CNS completed nonverbal research on male archetypes for Chivas Regal - International in Keith, Moray in Speyside, Scotland in June, 2012.

CNS presented "Body Language: How to Add Character to Your Characters," an invited talk on The Art of Writing, at Auntie's Bookstore in Spokane, Washington, on September 25, 2012.

CNS provided consulting on nonverbal cues of empathy for the Seek Company (2368 Norwood Avenue) in Cincinnati, Ohio (OH 45212) from January 9 - April 4, 2013.

CNS took part in a documentary film series on the nonverbal psychology of lying for CBC-TV, produced by Cine Qua Non Films International, Inc. / Les Productions Lustitia, Inc., in Montreal, Quebec, Canada (10 225 rue St-Hubert H2C 2H6), from January 18 - April 17, 2013. ("Body Language" [airing Nov. 2014] est la première série documentaire québécoise s'intéressant à l'analyse du comportement des suspects lors des interrogatoires policiers. C'est ce qu'on appelle la psychologie des entrevues d'enquêtes qui consiste à observer le langage non verbal des personnes interrogées afin d'y déceler des informations importantes. À l'aide de reconstitutions, d'analyses et d'archives visuelles, "Body Language" dévoile comment ces experts en comportement humain peuvent aujourd'hui décrypter les microexpressions ou les microgestuelles des suspects, dans leur recherche de la vérité.)

CNS provided information on Asian comfort to Airbus, for its appearance at the Singapore Air Show (Feb. 11-16, 2014) in Changi, Singapore, on behalf of Protein LTD, 18 Hewett St, London, EC2A 3NN, UK, on January 3, 2014.

From January 17-20, 2015, a crew led by Miro Branković from Croatian National Television, HRT, filmed a part of his documentary series on “Unverbal Communications - Body Language” in Spokane, Washington, featuring CNS research. The goal is to span all continents, presenting nonverbal communication around the world while taking into account psychological, social, historical, cultural, medical, and even climatic aspects. It is a series of four, fifty minute episodes that are expected to be broadcast in the primetime time slot on Croatian National Television's channel one. Total filming time on all continents is two years. Pre-production lasted two years, as well as years of in depth subject study. “Unverbal Communications” will include Branko Lustig, twice Academy Award winner producer (“Schindler's List.” “Gladiator”), Jiri Menzel, Academy Award winner director (“Larks on a String”), and David Suchet (actor).

(Photo of street scene in Bologna, Italy, by Doreen K. Givens [copyright 2003])

Copyright 2015 by the Center for Nonverbal Studies