Designing a gesture. “The Expressive Body” by David Alberts describes movements and gestures at length. In it he writes:
In terms of human interaction, physical behavior has five primary functions: (1) to express emotion; (2) to regulate interpersonal interactions; (3) to present one’s personality to others; (4) to convey interpersonal attitudes and relationships; (5) to replace or accompany speech.
I was interested in drawing from a fairly common position I’ve found myself in lately: being deep in concentration reading or brainstorming. Analyzing the common body positions I’ve observed myself and others in when in a similar state, here is my proposed gesture for “I’m busy/tired/frustrated/overwhelmed – go away / leave me alone right now.”
Three fingers touch the face. Index finger above the outside corner of the eyebrow. Middle finger on the forehead above the inside corner of the eyebrow. Thumb just below the cheekbone. Head can be, but not necessarily be downturned as if reading a book or screen.
I started with a gesture for having a headache – squeezing the temples or rubbing the forehead with the tips of the fingers of both hands. Then rubbing the forehead with fingers and thumb on opposite sides of the face. This gesture is modified from those.
Folks seemed to be unsure of the gesture at first, but were receptive to try it out. The finger positions varied slightly, but still are recognizable. The expression of the eyes also seems to play into the gesture greatly.