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In nonverbal communication, a conscious or unconscious gesture involving an individual contacting their own body: for instance, touching their hair, temple, nose, chin, or ear with a hand or finger. Some are conscious acts of self-grooming; others are deliberate gestures, such as putting a finger to the lips. Many are less deliberate gestures not consciously intended to communicate but which can be emotionally expressive. Sometimes self-touch seems to play a part in assisting concentration. Other forms include nervous mannerisms (such as wringing one's hands or biting one's lip). Some of those performed publicly allude to what they signify, such as partially covering the eyes or ears (as if closing communicative channels) or touching the forehead (as if reacting to a headache): self-touching is more uninhibited in private. Some public self-touching seeks to conceal feelings (as in covering the face). An increased rate of self-touching can variously suggest anxiety, stress, deception, guilt, suspicion, or hostility. Picking and scratching can reflect displaced aggression (see displacement activities). As relics of earlier behavioural adaptations they are called adaptors or self-adaptors. Some signify self-comfort through emulating contact by others: as in hugging one's own shoulders. Some self-touching is mediated by objects (such as chewing a pencil). Children and women tend to engage in more self-touching than men do.

Subjects: Media Studies.

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