Law professors won't do much overtly, they engage in subtle violence. Often, when we think of violence, we think of the very overt, loud, obvious kind — primarily physical violence, but also in the form of "over the top," very loud, confrontational (and frightening) yelling, screaming or threatening.
But there is also a more subtle and insidious form of "word violence," and this occurs much more frequently because it "goes under the radar" and masks itself as "normal." While it can be easily dismissed or overlooked because of its quieter presentation, it can do serious damage none-the-less, by
1) creating stress
2) fostering oppression
3) deflating motivation
4) curtailing creativity
5) eventually leading the way to more overt forms of violence.
In individual interactions, one who uses the power of words in subtly violent ways may be doing so consciously, in a purposeful effort to manipulate, or unconsciously, out of his or her "unexamined Shadow." Examples of subtle "word violence" can show up as malicious gossip, passive-aggression, purposeful withholding, inconsistency, incivility, and bullying, to name a few.
Withholding draws its power from the imprinting of an authoritarian system, in which people have been trained by more overt communications — including body language — so that ultimately the overt words or facial/body expression are no longer needed in order for the person in the perceived position of authority to manipulate the situation to his or her advantage. [...]
Some parts of the body can be controlled more than others. The easy parts to discipline are those parts whose actions we are most aware of in everyday signaling. We know most about our facial expressions, and so they come out on top on self-awareness list. We lie best with our faces. Hand movements and postures are more useful clues to deception because people are less aware of them; gesticulations can be studied carefully for deception clues. The legs and feet are of particular interest because this is the part of the body where people are least aware of what they are doing. Frequently, however, the actions of this lower region of the body are obscured from view so that, in practice, their usefulness is severely limited. Legs and feet are a vital give-away area.
Whole-body lying is difficult for most people because most people lack practice. Few people are ever called upon to engage in sustained, deliberate deceit. Most of us would be classified as leakers, but there is a minority of devious people that can be called professional non-leakers. Non-leakers are those whose working lives involve repeated and prolonged deceptions and, what is more, deceptions that are open to challenge. Unless they are capable of lying successfully and sustaining their lies, they are doomed to failure in their chosen professions. As a result they have to become adept at contextual manipulation (choosing the right moment to lie) and at whole-body lying. This may require years of training.
When lying, the nurses decreased the frequency of simple gesticulations they made with their hands. The hand actions they would normally use to emphasize verbal statements to drive home a point were significantly reduced. The hand actions, which act as illustrators of spoken words, are not identified gestures. We know that we wave our hands about when we are talking excitedly, but we have no idea just exactly what it is that our hands are doing. Our awareness that our hands do something, but our unawareness of precisely what it is, makes us suspicious of the possible transparency of these actions. Unconsciously we sense that perhaps our hands will give us away so we suppress them. This is not easy to do. When lying, the nurses increased the frequency of hand-to-face self-contacts. We all touch our faces from time to time during conversations, but the number of times these simple actions are performed rises dramatically during moments of deception. Deception favorites include: the Chin Stroke, the Lips Press, the Mouth Cover, the Nose Touch, the Cheek Rub, the Eyebrow Scratch, the Earlobe Pull, and the Hair Groom. During deception any of these may show a marked increase, but two in particular should be watched for: the Nose Touch and the Mouth Cover.
When lying, the nurses showed an increase in the number of body shifts as they spoke. Watched closely, the liar can be seen to make tiny body-shifts and to make them much more frequently than when telling the truth. They are slight changes in the resting posture of the trunk as the speaker moves from one sitting posture to another. When lying, the nurses made greater use of one particular hand action, namely the Hand Shrug. While other gesticulations decreased in frequency, this became more common. It is almost as if the hands were disclaiming any responsibility for the verbal statements being made. When lying, the nurses displayed facial expressions that were almost indistinguishable from those given during truthful statements. Almost, but not quite, for there were tiny micro-expressions that leaked the truth. These micro-expressions are so small and so quick -- a mere fraction of a second -- that untrained observers are unable to detect them. These micro-expressions are caused by the face's all-too-rapid efficiency in registering inner feelings. When a mood change seeks expression, it can expect to be registered by the alteration in the set of facial muscles in much less than a second. The counter-message from the brain, telling the face to shut up, often fails to catch up with the primary mood change message. The result is that a facial expression begins and then, a split second later, is canceled by the counter-message. What happens on the face during the split second delay is a tiny, fleeting hint of an expression. It is suppressed so quickly that most people never see it, but if watched for carefully during lying sessions, it can be detected and is then one of the best deception clues.
Great post, tagging it.