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Why does nodding the head (or shaking the head) universally mean "yes" (or "no")?

With so many cultures, languages, etc around the world, why is it that a simple nod of the head will universally mean yes?

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    Lejan .

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    Jul 6 2012: May be useful:

    As far as I know, partially in Greece, Yugoslavia , Bulgaria and Turkey a nodding is inversed in its meaning.
    So who is from this country may correct me, yet without using head-gestures, please... :o)
  • Jul 6 2012: Wow, thanks Jan-Bernd!

    Very interesting indeed - I like the theory about babies and breast-feeding
  • Jul 6 2012: Oh wow, that's very interesting, wonder where that would be? I'm assuming somewhere very remote? Just thinking about how "language" passes down from generation to generation, and how it evolves along the way...
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    Jul 6 2012: Mikey, in one of my courses I learned that there are actually cultures where the patterns are reversed so no is a nod and swivelling the head side to side means yes. I cannot remember just now where they are.