There is a growing body of knowledge about movement behavior (as it is variously called--kinesics, nonverbal communciation, expressive movement, body language, etc.). Increasingly anthropologists, psychologists, researchers in child development, etc. are attending to body movement. One could argue that although this is still a relatively underdeveloped area of research and that studies we have now will probably be rendered quite obsolete in five years, there is enough of a picture of what can be done and may be discovered to talk about it as a field in its own right. Further, one could argue that the preliminary research techinques and findings of movement research may, even at this point, be useful and relevant to research in dance. As an introduction to the topic a survey of some of the most important behavioral studies of body movement will be presented, followed by a discussion of a dance film and then implications of a practical, methodological, empirical, and theoretical nature that may be of interest to dance researchers.
For purposes of discussion, this survey is divided into three parts according to those studies which deal with (1) movement and expression of emotions, (2) movement style (from individual to cultural), and (3) movement in interaction.
It seems that the most common assumption about body movement is that it reveals inner emotions or attitudes. Darwin first made this idea the subject of serious scientific study in 1872 when he published The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals.