In his book, “You Can Read Anyone,” author David J. Lieberman, Ph.D., gives an in-depth look at the techniques used to interpret a person’s body language. According to the author, these are the same techniques used by the FBI, US Military, and other law enforcement agencies.
So, it sounds like some compelling stuff, right?
Lieberman introduces what he calls the S.N.A.P. method, or “Strategic Non-Invasive Analysis and Profile.” S.N.A.P. is used to draw on visual and verbal clues from individuals in order to make assumptions about what a person is thinking.
Let’s be clear, though. There is no such thing as “mind reading” a person, no matter how advanced the techniques are. What things like S.N.A.P. do, however, is that they help you gauge a person’s mental state.
“When a person is nervous but tries to appear otherwise,” writes Lieberman, “this leads to what is called ‘perception-management’—a person’s attempt to present a certain image in order to convey the ‘right’ effect.”
This is a good example of gauging a person’s mental state based on their bodily cues.
Moreover, one of the main messages that the author tries to get across is this: “Whenever you are questioning a person’s desire for something, consider what he does, not necessary what he says.” In other words, actions speak louder than words.
“When people pretend to be confident,” Lieberman writes, “in a poker hand or in the real world, they manipulate how confident they appear by trying to create the opposite impression of how they truly feel.”
Again, perception-management occurs when another person is engaged in attempt to present the “right” image to another person. “A person engaged in perception-management generally over-compensates,” the author explains. “If you look for it, it is glaringly obvious. Remember, the confident person is not interested in how he [or she] is coming across.” The author continues: “Any superfluous gesture in a serious situation is a sign that someone is trying to act calm and confident.”
Some of the areas where body language techniques can be useful according to Lieberman are:
Finally, as mentioned above, the S.N.A.P. method is used by law enforcement and military personnel to get a sense of some of the above questions regarding a person’s motives. Although there is no such things as “mind reading” a person, it is possible to gauge someone’s mood or emotions based on their behaviors.
Lieberman, D. J. (2007). You can read anyone. MJF Books, New York, NY.