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Today we will learn how to read a person’s character.

Yes, psychology is cool because it can read people’s characters. There is a stigma that psychology kids can read your personality at a glance.

Several methods can be used to read people’s characters. In today’s special we’re going to talk about observational science in psychology to read people from their gestures to their fake smiles.

Let’s go!

observation of body language

Research has proven that verbal communication is only a small part of our communication. On the other hand, body language and tone of voice are the biggest aspects. In this section, I use How To Read A Person Like A Book by Gerald I Kidney and Henry H Calero (1973) as a reference.

The key to this technique is to avoid being overly analytical or intense. Relax, relax and just watch your subject. It is also important to look at body language as a unit, not as individual movements

– Pay attention to appearance

As a first impression, look at her looks. You can start with neatness, type, and dress style.

Does he wear neat and clean clothes?

Is he wearing clothes that look relaxed and casual?

Does she wear clothes/accessories that show her religiosity?

A person’s first impression doesn’t always match reality, but that’s normal. At least you get a rough idea of the character of the person.

– See attitude

When reading a person’s posture, look for signs of walking, sitting, and speaking.

Do they walk with their chests out? This means confidence and a big ego.

Or maybe they keep their eyes on the ground and don’t dare look the other person in the eye? That shows low self-esteem.

Do they walk slowly, hands in pockets, heads bowed, only looking ahead to note the direction of the road? The posture of “The Dejected Walker” indicates that the person is critical and keeps secrets.

There are still many postures that indicate a person’s enthusiasm and character. Depending on the situation and context of the appearance of a person’s posture, the meaning can also change to follow it.

The book I referenced also explains the direction a person is facing and their desires. The book alludes to the fact that when a person faces the exit, they have a desire to… well, get out.

For more detailed information, you may be able to purchase the book from Gramedia or your local bookstore.

– Observation of body movement

Your body movements can indicate your mood, your closeness to other people, and your thoughts. Here are some body movements and their meaning:

Distance. In general, we tend towards someone we like or get comfortable with. We also tend to lean forward when we are in a situation that pleases us.

cross hands Well, that’s body language that’s used a lot. This pose indicates that the person is guarded, angry, and defensive.

hide hands. Someone who puts their hands behind their shoulders, in their pockets, or between their thighs indicates that they are hiding something.

Biting Lips. In a formal context, biting the lip indicates that the person is under pressure or in an awkward situation. In certain contexts and places (e.g. America), this gesture indicates that the person is flirting with the other person.

It is important to know a person’s culture, origin, and customs before being 100% sure. There is a concept that someone who constantly moves their feet (fidgets) is accused of having an anxiety disorder.

Unfortunately, moving the feet can also be interpreted as trying not to fall asleep, the person’s unique habits, enthusiasm, and so on.

– Interpretation of facial expressions

Emotions are easy to see on our faces. This is universal in every human being. Ivory and Ambady (2002a) found that in 75 studies, facial expressions of happiness, sadness, surprise, disappointment, anger, disgust, and fear appeared spontaneously.

There are also facial expressions that appear in certain situations. Like a “poker face” or flat face, used to hide a person’s facial expressions and emotions.

If you’re more interested in more complex interpretations, try reading Interpretations of the Smile. A smile has many variables and can be used for any situation.

An example of the many types and interpretations of a smile is a fake smile. Yes, fake smiles can be identified. Usually, those fake smiles quickly disappear from people’s faces.

So just smile for a moment and then his face will be flat again.

If you want to get better at identifying different types of smiles, visit this website or read magazine reviews about smiles.

Listen to your intuition

OK, intuition might be the observation part, which sounds a bit odd. The reason for this is that it’s not always based on the fact that sometimes it can be right or vice versa. In general, someone who works frequently with clients (psychologist, counselor, etc.) has a sharper intuition. Because experience and flight hours in dealing with customers sharpen intuition.

– Feel intuitive empathy

Empathy is a mental effort consciously made to clarify a person’s experience, whose expression is less clear, through a subtle interpretation of history (Dohrenwend, 2018).

Sometimes, after explaining the story of a friend/patient, you will feel the manifestation of your empathy in your body. This phenomenon can occur due to the high intensity of empathy.

Ask yourself the following questions while observing:

Did my back/neck suddenly hurt when it was normal?

Was I sad or upset about the disappointing event earlier?

feeling emotions/atmosphere

– Pay attention to the eyes and their movements

Eyes are windows into your soul. A psychologist who interacts often with his clients can determine the condition of his client. (Caring, cruel, angry, hiding something, etc.)

We can also see a person’s thoughts through their eyes. The majority of people who think will look up.

Someone who maintains eye contact can be said to be bolder and more confident. On the other hand, someone who avoids eye contact may be perceived as shy or insecure.

– Audible tone and intonation when speaking

Tone and intonation can be the biggest clue to a person’s reaction. Many of us can distinguish the intonation of someone assertive and angry.

You can easily spot it with this question:

Are its intonation and pitch appropriate for the situation at the time?

For small practice questions, try answering these examples:

You and your friends are joking while everyone is laughing out loud there is someone who sounds uncomfortable. He couldn’t laugh out loud, he even had an expression on his face like he was scared.

Do you think the intonation and tone of his laugh were appropriate for the situation? Or is there a topic that bothers him / makes him uncomfortable?

Additional information

Reading characters cannot be mastered overnight. You need a lot of experience and you meet a lot of people. Psychologists also need long flight hours to get to know the character of a person in a short time. Keep learning, duplicating information, and interacting a lot with people around you!

Can you fully control your body language? Not, body language isn’t something that’s generally done on purpose. Trying to control it makes you look unnatural and suspicious.


Observing a person’s movements requires extensive information about the context of activities, habits, and culture, including the real reason someone is acting.

However, the assumption of this observation is based on the observations of various psychologists. You can still get an idea of the character of your subject.

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