The body language of your nose is an interesting one. Research has shown that when people lie they are very likely to touch some part of their nose. This can take the form of tapping, scratching, rubbing, etc. This self development article sheds some light on the subject.
Nose body language – why you touch your nose
There are various reasons why you touch your nose. Here are just some of them:
* You have a cold
* You have an allergy
* You are not telling the truth
* You smell something strange
* You are thinking deeply or evaluating something
* You have a genuine itch (from an insect bite say)
* You are sharing a secret (and tap your nose accordingly)
* You are frustrated (and generally pinch the bridge of your nose)
* You disagree with someone (especially if you rub your finger along your nose)
Of all of the above, the main reason for touching your nose has been found to be connected with lying or not telling the whole truth.
Nose body language – clinical explanation
When you tell a lie your blood pressure increases and the blood vessels in your nose allow more blood to enter by dilating. This causes the tissues in your nose to swell. The additional blood causes mast cells to release histamine and your nose tingles or becomes itchy. You then touch, scratch or rub your nose lightly to satisfy the itch. (If you have a genuine itch – not caused by lying – you usually rub your nose more vigorously.)
Nose body language – other explanations
It is also believed that the movement of hand to nose is the remnant of covering your mouth in the way that children often cover their mouth and nose in an attempt to hide a lie they have just told. With age, the body language associated with lying and covering the nose and mouth area becomes more subtle. A teenager might just cover their lips and the side of their nose with a few fingers. Adults might just brush past the nose very quickly.
Another explanation of this is that if you feel nervous about telling lies, you automatically want to occupy your hands in an attempt to cover up the lie. You therefore touch your nose as it is a prominent part of your face and feels like a natural thing to do. Touching your nose also acts as a way of calming your nerves if you are not being totally truthful.
There is also the belief that touching your nose when lying is linked to nursery stories you heard as a child such as the story of ‘Pinocchio’. You are checking subconsciously that your nose is not growing with the lies!
Nose body language - warning
Before you start to analyze people’s body language too deeply, remember that although a nose touch suggests deception, there are other reasons for touching your nose as mentioned above. Also, if a person does not touch their nose this does not mean that they are definitely telling the truth. As with all body language, it is important not to judge someone from a single gesture. You will usually find other clues that support your gut feeling about someone.
Nose body language - summary
The body language of your nose and how certain gestures can suggest that someone is lying is a subject that has caused much debate over the years. This self development article sheds some light on the subject as well as issues to be aware of.
If you would like to read more about this do have a look at these links:
body language (Amazon.com) or body language (Amazon.co.uk)
(Disclosure: Dr Madden is a participant in the Amazon EU Associates Programme)
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