Practical Applications for Nonverbal Intelligence and Emotional Indicators of the Neck

By David M. Schneer, Ph.D./CEO

3-Minute Read

Necking. It’s not what you think (and shame on you for going there)!

You can learn a lot about a giraffe by observing its neck. For example, the spots on a giraffe are as unique as our fingerprints—even on the neck. Further, giraffes with longer and thicker necks have a distinct advantage when “necking”. That is, typically bulls will repeatedly whip their necks into a rival’s body and underbelly with their hard heads delivering the blow. This instinctual fight helps establish dominance for mating. Rarely does a rival die, but sometimes one can be knocked to the ground unconscious.[1]

Just like giraffes, you can learn a lot from the human neck. Sure, humans don’t have six-foot necks, although human and giraffe necks have the same number of vertebrae. In fact, indications of the neck are some of the most reliable signs of stress. And it is easy to spot in person and on Zoom.

A Telltale Sign of Stress.

Known as the suprasternal notch, the visible dip in between the neck and clavicles (T2 and T3 vertebrae) is often covered—especially by women—when one is stressed or fearful.

In addition, watch for a hard swallow—for that is also a reliabile sign that something is amiss. You can see a hard swallow when the Adam’s apple jumps up and down and is often accompanied by a throat clearing. Do not ignore this sign; it is a reliable indicator of psychological discomfort.[2]

At Merrill Research, we see indications of the neck in our qualitative studies when someone is expressing doubt about a product or concept to which they have been exposed. It is a clue that something is just not right. And when we see this behavior, it is always an opportunity to probe and learn more.

Observing the neck can tell you a lot about a person, and a giraffe too.

Contact us today to see how we can help you or your organization become proficient at finding out what people are really thinking when they communicate with you. 

Most Communication is Nonverbal. Are You Fluent?



2. Navarro, Joe; Karlins, Marvin. What Every BODY is Saying (p. 217). William Morrow Paperbacks. Kindle Edition.