Even when they don’t express their thoughts verbally, most people constantly throw off clues to what they’re thinking and feeling. Non-verbal messages communicated through the sender's body movements, facial expressions, vocal tone and volume, and other clues are collectively known as body language.
Body language isn’t always as clear as spoken language, but how it's interpreted can play a big role in how someone relates to and interacts with others. It's a silent orchestra: Microexpressions (brief displays of emotion that an individual tries to conceal), hand gestures, and posture register in the human brain almost immediately—even when someone is not consciously aware of them.
These moments of recognition, however brief, can have long-lasting repercussions for how an individual interprets others’ motivation, mood, and openness, as well as how their own inner self is perceived. Unfortunately, certain mental health disorders—particularly neurodevelopmental disorders like autism—may make it more challenging to notice and respond to the messages conveyed by body language.