We all know what we mean when we use the word, but what is an attitude? The word itself is in everyday use, and it got there because it used to be a pretty ordinary description of non-verbal behaviour. In the 18th century an “attitude” was a physical pose or positioning of the body. But it was more than that: it was a way of standing or sitting which conveyed some kind of social message — friendliness, disdain, attentiveness, dislike or some other social emotion or reaction. When we talk of someone “striking an attitude” that is exactly what we mean — it’s a way of standing or sitting which is acting out a pose which carries a social message of some kind (see Figure 5.1). The word is still used this way in the theatre — actors understand how body language indicates states of mind very well!