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The Nonverbal Advantage by Carol Kinsey Goman

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CHAPTER 5Talking with Your Hands

JANE IS TELLING IAN A STORY. At a crucial point, one of her characters slips a lethal substance into somebody else’s drink. To illustrate the action, Jane holds her hand in a C shape and tilts it, as if pouring from a cup. Nothing strange about that, you might think, except that Jane is blind and well aware that Ian is, too.

Hand and arm gestures not only are an adjunct to speech but may be our oldest method of communication. Researchers now believe that early humans communicated using a form of mime. Somewhere in our evolutionary history, speech took over from gesture as the main form of communication, but gesture and speech are so tightly connected that we can’t do one without the other. It’s an old, old habit, ...

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