One Hump or Two?

Practical Applications for Nonverbal Intelligence and Emotional Indicators of the Shrug

By David M. Schneer, Ph.D./CEO

3-Minute Read

We’re not talking about camels or their double-humped Bactrian brethren. Rather, we’re talking about human shoulders. You can tell a lot by a shoulder shrug.

For example, let’s say you stop and ask someone for directions, and they give you a symmetrical raising of both shoulders. That’s a good indicator that they truly don’t know. A symmetrical double shrug could also mean a person is indifferent or irritated.

But let’s say you’re on a Zoom call and you ask a client if their colleagues have reviewed the documents that you rushed to send them—only this time you get only one shoulder raised. The half shrug. One hump.

What does that mean?

That is an asymmetrical raising of one shoulder and that typically means something is amiss. If you dig a little deeper you may likely find out that the client’s team has not read the documents.

The shoulders are a beacon of information in-person and on Zoom and can be spotted quite easily.

Shoulders are a great indicator of what a person is really thinking, however, don’t let shoulders be your only guide to the inner workings of someone’s mind. 

The entire body can provide information if you understand the signals it is sending out.  At The Merrill Institute, we have years of experience studying nonverbal intelligence and we’d love to share our wealth of knowledge with you. 

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?