February 8, 2017

How Body Language Can Negatively Impact a Character’s Likeability

It’s estimated that the average American spends 5.11 hours on any given day watching television. This is an astounding 32 percent of average waking hours. During this time, we develop feelings for the characters we see on the screen who share in our struggles, make us laugh and help us enjoy the completion of a busy day.

Whether or not you realize it, characterization is an aspect of the creation of any hit show that really draws us in. However, it’s not always the goal of Hollywood to make us like the characters on television shows. After all, there has to be a villain in a good plot, and it’s necessary to assign certain characteristics to key players in movies and television shows to provide the audience the balance of good and evil necessary to make for exciting plots that will keep everyone asking for more. The next time you enjoy your favorite shows, think about a few body language similarities some of our most notorious characters share.

Avoidance of Eye Contact

When we “meet” new characters on the television screen, we can liken it to the instances in life when we meet real people. There are certain judgements we make upon first contact, and one of the most important is eye contact. When you engage with someone who looks you straight in the eyes, it automatically triggers feelings of trust. Therefore, it’s not uncommon for the bad guy in a plot to avoid eye contact, especially when being confronted of their wrongs.

Poor Posture

Whether or not we realize it, we often look to television to seek a sense of leadership in our own lives. You may watch a certain series based on the strength of a lead character who gives you the motivation to take the reins over your problems or just admire your favorite character on a sitcom who has the ability to smile even when things are at their worst. A common characteristic of a strong leader is proper posture. A character with proper posture exhibits a higher sense of self-worth, one that assures us they have themselves together.

On the other hand, a variety of shows features a villain or needy character everyone loves to hate who slumps when they stand. While this increases your disdain for the character, it’s worth noting that, according to the Arthritis Disease Center, as much as 80 percent of the American population doesn’t assume proper posture. To avoid negatively impacting your own likeability, you can correct your rounded shoulders using posture correctors.

Negative Facial Expressions

Just as a picture is worth a thousand words, a simple expression on our faces can speak volumes. We grimace when something disgusts us and smile when things are going well. However, when we’re interacting with others, we often exhibit reflections that aren’t true to what we’re really thinking. For instance, you smile and nod while a coworker shows you an entire album of vacation pictures when you really need to get started on a report.

When it comes to television villains, we can, to an extent, appreciate their typical honesty when it comes to their negative facial expressions when reacting to others. Just a few examples include:

  • Nodding impatiently while someone else is saying something important
  • Pointing their fingers
  • Rolling their eyes
  • No apparent reaction at all when the speaker is sharing exciting news

While we can find it difficult to appreciate this common honesty in t.v. bad guys, it’s clear facial expressions are a great way to create a strong character even if it is done so to shed them in a negative light.

A Deeper Level of Television Enjoyment

We watch television for a number of reasons, but the most prevalent is to escape our responsibilities and watch other people deal with theirs for a few hours. Considering we spend so much of our time being entertained in front of our television screens, it only makes sense that we should gain a better understanding of just how we are manipulated into forming just the judgements against characters that producers and directors intend. By understanding how body language is used in negative character development, you can enjoy a deeper level of television enjoyment.

Editor

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