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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Nonverbal Dictionary Of Gestures, Signs & Body Language Cues












Body movement. 1. A conspicuous up-and-down motion of the Adam's apple. 2. A movement of the
throat visible while gulping or swallowing, as in nervousness.
Usage: The Adam's-apple-jump is an unconscious sign of emotional anxiety, embarrassment, or stress.
At a business meeting, e.g., a listener's Adam's apple may inadvertently jump should he or she dislike or
strongly disagree with a speaker's suggestion, perspective, or point of view.
U.S. politics. The Adam's apple gained it's 15 minutes of fame when former Vice President James
Danforth Quayle's thyroid cartilage "jumped" in the 1988 vice-presidential debates, as he listened to his
opponent, Lloyd Bentsen's pointed claim: "Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy!"
RESEARCH REPORTS: 1. Swallowing "associates well with flight and submission" (Grant 1969:528).
2. Stimulating the emotionally sensitive amygdala can cause involuntary body movements "associated
with olfaction and eating, such as licking, chewing, and swallowing" (Guyton 1996:758-59).
Anatomy. Anxiety, social discomfort (e.g., embarrassment), and fear are often visible in unwitting,
vertical movements of a projection at the front of the throat called the laryngeal prominence, where the
largest (or thyroid) cartilage of the Adam's apple shows, prominently in men, but less noticeably in
women.
Neuro-notes. Acting through the vagus nerve (cranial X), emotional tension from the brain's limbic
system causes unconscious muscular contractions of the sternothyroid, thyrohyoid, and associated
inferior pharyngeal constrictor muscles of the Adam's apple. Movement is evident as the muscles
contract to swallow, to throat-clear, or to vocalize an objection which may be left unsaid. The Adam's
apple is emotionally responsive (i.e., reflects visceral or "gut" feelings) because its muscles are mediated
by the vagus, which is one of five special visceral nerves.


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