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If you are curious about the people in your life or people in general and what they do how they do it, you will find all the answers to the questions you seek in human psychology.
Human psychology, or just psychology, according to the American Psychological Association, refers to the study of the human mind and behavior.
Psychology is one of the multifaceted fields of study as it features different branches ranging from human development and social behavior to sports, clinical, and health psychology. There is also an area of psychology that addresses and pries into cognitive processes.
One of the biggest names in understanding human psychology is Sigmund Freud, who researched human psychology widely and came up with a widely accepted theory that people could be cured if they made their unconscious thoughts conscious.
Through the years, these theories have been built on and refined hence the application of psychology and psychological techniques when dealing with issues related to mental illnesses, cognitive development, perception, as well as the memory, among other issues.
Often, psychology is used to describe human behavior, explain the development of the behavior, and to predict and then change or control behavior. And using all the information gathered about human psychology, you can analyze and accurately predict human behavior.
But since you are probably not ready to go to school to study everything you need to know about human psychology, this article shares insights into the analysis of a person’s behavior with ease. What this means is that at the end of this article, you should be better equipped with the knowledge necessary for reading people.
How to read/ analyze people
Human beings are extremely complex, and it can be very hard to read or analyze a person, whether you’ve known them for months or years or if you just met them.
However, from a psychiatric point of view, it turns out that you could easily analyze someone’s behavior and understand what’s going on in their minds in different ways, including analyzing their verbal and non-verbal cues.
To analyze anyone, you must stop using logic as a reference point, and you have to dig a little deeper to find the information you are looking for.
And as you do all that, you need to remain objective, and you also need to take a neutral stand. When you do this, you will easily find out more about that person, including their emotional baggage and their preconceptions, as well as ego clashes and old resentments.
So, let’s get started! Who would you like to read? Your boss, partner, sibling coworker? The techniques below should help you out.
The art of reading people
Observe and analyze body language cues
People communicate a lot using their bodies. And according to research, words only account for 7% of how human beings communicate, while body language accounts for 55% of communication, and our voice tones account for 30% of our communication.
With this information, it means that you could psychoanalyze someone quite easily by asking questions, remaining objective, listening, and watching how they react. But you shouldn’t try too hard to read the body cues. Don’t be too intense or extra analytical.
You need to be comfortable, relaxed, and fluid. Essentially, sit back and observe. Some of the cues you need to watch out for include appearance, posture, and physical movements.
For example, if they are wearing a T-shirt and jeans, it could mean that they are comfortable with being casual, and a Buddha cross might indicate their spiritual values.
A confident person would hold their head high while an individual with low self-esteem would have a cowering walk. Regarding body movements, crossed legs and arms suggest anger, defensiveness, or self-protection, while someone who leans towards or away from you either like or dislike you.
Hiding hands in pockets, laps, or behind the back suggests that the individual is hiding something. Cuticle picking or lip biting often suggests that the individual is in an awkward situation or under pressure, and their behavior shows that they are trying to soothe themselves.
The other body language cue you need to bear in mind is facial expression. The face holds so many secrets, and you could learn a lot about how someone feels through the face because this part of the body always holds many emotions.
For instance, did you know that the deep frown lines suggest overthinking or worry? Or that the crow’s feet are smile lines suggestive of joy and a clenched jaw/ teeth grinding a sign of tension?
Listen to and Trust Your Intuition
If you are uncomfortable with watching how someone reacts to your thoughts/ words or how looking for signs like pursed lips (which suggests contempt, bitterness, or anger), then you could try this – listen to what your gut is telling you.
The beauty of human psychology is that there are numerous times where you can access the information you have been searching for only by tuning in to that person, without worrying about how they are behaving or what they are saying. Here, you need to listen to what they are not saying by listening to what your intuition is saying.
Your intuition refers to the non-verbal information you receive through ah-has and images, instead of logic. Your intuition allows you to learn more about who someone is and not their outside expression of themselves.
To make the most out of your intuition, you need to:
- Honor your gut feelings, especially what your intuition tells you about someone the first time you meet them. Don’t ignore that visceral reaction.
- Pay attention to those ah-ha moments, also called flashes of insight
- Feel those goosebumps, they represent intuitive tingles, and you could also get goosebumps from deja-vu experiences.
- Be attentive for your intuitive empathy because they allow you to feel the other person’s emotions and symptoms. For example, you may feel upset or depressed after a meeting.
Tap into Your Senses to Sense Their Emotional Energy
Emotional energy, or what we often refer to as vibes are invaluable when you are trying to understand someone. For example, you feel good and empowered around some people, but others are just draining.
That tells you a lot about the other person, and you can use that information in the future to avoid mistakes.
You could also read people’s emotional energies by sensing their presence (again, feel their vibe), watch their eyes, how do their touch/ handshake feel? What can you tell about their laugh or voice?
Other things you could use to analyze someone’s behavior:
- Look out for deviations and inconsistencies
- Identify personality cues, for example, is their behavior introverted, or is it extroverted? Are they driven by significance or relationship? What feeds their ego? How do they handle uncertainty and risk? How do they act when they are relaxed or stressed?
At the end of the day, human psychology is all about understanding human behavior. Behavior means how they act, feel, and think.
Actions (anything that can be observed with psychological sensors or seen with bare eyes), cognitions (verbal and non-verbal thoughts and images we carry with us), and emotions (positive or negative) are behavior.
All these elements of behavior are connected, and they don’t run independently of each other, meaning that you can easily perceive the world around you by practicing mindfulness in your interactions, listening to your intuition and your inner wishes, and by having an appropriate response to your surroundings.
There is a lot that goes into understanding human psychology, and the pointers above are an excellent place to start.