The Flaring and Crinkling Nose of Body Language

BullIf you see someone flaring their nose like a bull getting ready to charge the matador, you might want to find an excuse to leave the room. This behavior is never a good sign.

What else does the nose tell us in body language? There has been a great deal suggested about the Pinocchio effect on the nose. The theory being that as someone is deceitful, the blood pressure is elevated causing swelling in the nasal cavity, which results in people rubbing their nose. a Very famous person was accused of being deceptive about an adulterous affair because of his increased rubbing of his the nose. I will not dispute that this occurred, but remind you that all nonverbal behavior should be taken into context. If someone suffers from allergies, this could induce itching of the nose. Dr. Aldert Vrij, Professor at Portsmouth University, who has focused his study on the detection of deception, failed to substantiate the so-called “Pinocchio Nose Effect.”

The bewitched effect is when someone crinkles his or her nose. The crinkling could be in response to their desire to make themselves or you disappear. I am guilty of this fleeting gesture if something does not meet with my approval. This fleeting gesture should be viewed in context. Remember what your nose does when you smell something putrid? The 3 day old fish in the trashcan, the gym locker-room, or some unsavory gossip. The nose crinkles with displeasure. If your boss asks you to work late, or a client asks if you could lower your commission, you too may crinkle the nose. If you have allergies, be mindful not to crinkle the nose, or you jeopardize sending the wrong message.

While the nose is sniffing out some good scents, it might also be exposing some of our inner thoughts in body language.

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4 Responses to The Flaring and Crinkling Nose of Body Language


    Indeed for good cause, I´m very grateful to my mother. We don´t need more “The Great I am” 🙂


    Mike I was transported back to my childwood, the first body language sign I noticed was nose flaring. Still today my mother and I laugh about the pre-verbal repreension that always started with this body language sign when I misbehaved. Great article!

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