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Boundary Settings are physical environmental visual changes that support appropriate behavior by eliminating visual clutter and clearly delineating visual spaces. Comic Strip Conversations help children who have challenges with interpreting social situations, understanding speech as quickly as produced in social situations or reading non-verbal cues.
Conversation Cue Cards or Conversational Starters list a series of phrases or questions that can be used during conversations to assist in reciprocal dialogue.
Daily Schedules take the abstract concepts of events occurring in the future and represent the chain of events in a concrete way. Graphic Organizers enhance learning by organizing material into ways that make it easier to understand and remember. Labels increase functional independence and participation by reducing the demands of the brain from having to visually scan an entire area while keeping the target item or location in mind, to just focusing on searching for a specific word or image.
Option Cards provide the child with choices of language or behaviors for specific situations. Reminder Cards give direction in order to increase understanding, independence and appropriate social behaviors.
Routine Schedules break larger tasks or activities into their components, much like creating a recipe.
Task Cards are recipes for improving social skills because they increase the accuracy of recalling concepts and rules in the presence of social distractions. Token Economies expand attention spans to tasks, increase the amount of work that is accomplished at a single time and improve one's ability to delay gratification thus enabling them to more readily participate in social, educational and work settings.
Thought Cues help people understand what others might be thinking during social situations. Travel Cards briefly lists academic, behavior, dietary, sensory and communication strategies that support the child's success so that unfamiliar individuals have a recipe for successful interactions. Within Activity Schedules effectively increase independent completion or work and daily life skills. Why Lists are useful to post in a classroom or at the dinner table to remind children why certain rules are important.
This is a€?Nonverbal Communicationa€?, chapter 4 from the book A Primer on Communication Studies (v. This content was accessible as of December 29, 2012, and it was downloaded then by Andy Schmitz in an effort to preserve the availability of this book.
PDF copies of this book were generated using Prince, a great tool for making PDFs out of HTML and CSS. For more information on the source of this book, or why it is available for free, please see the project's home page. DonorsChoose.org helps people like you help teachers fund their classroom projects, from art supplies to books to calculators. When we think about communication, we most often focus on how we exchange information using words. As youa€™ll recall from our introductory chapter, a channel is the sensory route on which a message travels. To further define nonverbal communication, we need to distinguish between vocal and verbal aspects of communication. Nonverbal communication has a distinct history and serves separate evolutionary functions from verbal communication. Youa€™ve probably heard that more meaning is generated from nonverbal communication than from verbal. About 65 percent of the meaning we derive during interactions comes from nonverbal communication.
The involuntary nature of much nonverbal communication makes it more difficult to control or a€?fake.a€? For example, although you can consciously smile a little and shake hands with someone when you first see them, ita€™s difficult to fake that youa€™re a€?happya€? to meet someone.
Have you ever tried to conceal your surprise, suppress your anger, or act joyful even when you werena€™t? In Chapter 3 "Verbal Communication", we learn that the symbolic and abstract nature of language can lead to misunderstandings, but nonverbal communication is even more ambiguous.
Just as we look at context clues in a sentence or paragraph to derive meaning from a particular word, we can look for context clues in various sources of information like the physical environment, other nonverbal signals, or verbal communication to make sense of a particular nonverbal cue.
Although we can rely on verbal communication to fill in the blanks sometimes left by nonverbal expressions, we often put more trust into what people do over what they say.
A primary function of nonverbal communication is to convey meaning by reinforcing, substituting for, or contradicting verbal communication. Nonverbal communication conveys meaning by reinforcing, substituting for, or contradicting verbal communication.
Nonverbal communication is also useful in a quiet situation where verbal communication would be disturbing; for example, you may use a gesture to signal to a friend that youa€™re ready to leave the library. Nonverbal communication can be used to influence people in a variety of ways, but the most common way is through deception. The fact that deception served an important evolutionary purpose helps explain its prevalence among humans today. Aside from deception, we can use nonverbal communication to a€?take the edge offa€? a critical or unpleasant message in an attempt to influence the reaction of the other person. Conversational interaction has been likened to a dance, where each person has to make moves and take turns without stepping on the othera€™s toes. To successfully relate to other people, we must possess some skill at encoding and decoding nonverbal communication. Tie signsNonverbal cues that communicate intimacy and signal the connection between two people. Immediacy behaviors play a central role in bringing people together and have been identified by some scholars as the most important function of nonverbal communication.Peter A.
While verbal communication is our primary tool for solving problems and providing detailed instructions, nonverbal communication is our primary tool for communicating emotions. A considerable amount of research has been done on teachersa€™ use of immediacy behaviors, which points to the importance of this communication concept in teaching professions.Virginia P. Teachers who are judged as less immediate are more likely to sit, touch their heads, shake instead of nod their heads, use sarcasm, avoid eye contact, and use less expressive nonverbal behaviors. How much should immediacy behaviors, relative to other characteristics such as professionalism, experience, training, and content knowledge, factor into the evaluation of teachers by their students, peers, and supervisors? Aside from our physical body, artifactsPossessions that communicate our identities., which are the objects and possessions that surround us, also communicate our identities. Nonverbal communication is a process of generating meaning using behavior other than words.
Although verbal communication and nonverbal communication work side by side as part of a larger language system, there are some important differences between the two.
Nonverbal communication operates on the following principles: nonverbal communication typically conveys more meaning than verbal communication, nonverbal communication is more involuntary than verbal communication, nonverbal communication is often more ambiguous than verbal communication, and nonverbal communication is often more credible than verbal communication. Nonverbal communication affects verbal communication in that it can complement, reinforce, substitute, or contradict verbal messages.
Nonverbal communication influences others, as it is a key component of deception and can be used to assert dominance or to engage in compliance gaining. Nonverbal communication regulates conversational flow, as it provides important cues that signal the beginning and end of conversational turns and facilitates the beginning and end of an interaction. Nonverbal communication affects relationships, as it is a primary means through which we communicate emotions, establish social bonds, and engage in relational maintenance. Nonverbal communication expresses our identities, as who we are is conveyed through the way we set up our living and working spaces, the clothes we wear, our personal presentation, and the tones in our voices.
Getting integrated: To better understand nonverbal communication, try to think of an example to illustrate each of the four principles discussed in the chapter. When someone sends you a mixed message in which the verbal and nonverbal messages contradict each other, which one do you place more meaning on? Our personal presentation, style of dress, and surroundings such as a dorm room, apartment, car, or office send nonverbal messages about our identities.
Just as verbal language is broken up into various categories, there are also different types of nonverbal communication. Just as we can trace the history of a word, or its etymology, we can also trace some nonverbal signals, especially emblems, to their origins. IllustratorsThe most common type of gesture, used to illustrate the verbal message they accompany.
I group head movements and posture together because they are often both used to acknowledge others and communicate interest or attentiveness. Eye contact serves several communicative functions ranging from regulating interaction to monitoring interaction, to conveying information, to establishing interpersonal connections. Aside from regulating conversations, eye contact is also used to monitor interaction by taking in feedback and other nonverbal cues and to send information. Pupil dilation is a subtle component of oculesics that doesna€™t get as much scholarly attention in communication as eye contact does. Smiles are powerful communicative signals and, as youa€™ll recall, are a key immediacy behavior.
Our faces are the most expressive part of our body and can communicate an array of different emotions. Think of how touch has the power to comfort someone in moment of sorrow when words alone cannot. On a first date, it is less likely that you will see couples sitting a€?school-bus stylea€? (sharing the same side of a table or booth) or touching for an extended time. During a first date or less formal initial interactions, quick fleeting touches give an indication of interest. I find hugging behavior particularly interesting, perhaps because of my experiences growing up in a very hug-friendly environment in the Southern United States and then living elsewhere where there are different norms.
Some other types of hugs are the a€?shake-first-then-tap huga€? and the a€?back-slap hug.a€? I observe that these hugs are most often between men.
Everyone who has flown over the past ten years has experienced the steady increase in security screenings. What limits, if any, do you think there should be on the use of touch in airport screening procedures?
In June of 2012 a passenger was charged with battery after a€?gropinga€? a TSA supervisor to, as she claims, demonstrate the treatment that she had received while being screened.
Do you think that more targeted screening, as opposed to random screenings in which each person has an equal chance of being selected for enhanced pat-downs, is a good idea? We learned earlier that paralanguage refers to the vocalized but nonverbal parts of a message.
Pitch helps convey meaning, regulate conversational flow, and communicate the intensity of a message. Speaking rate refers to how fast or slow a person speaks and can lead others to form impressions about our emotional state, credibility, and intelligence. Our tone of voice can be controlled somewhat with pitch, volume, and emphasis, but each voice has a distinct quality known as a vocal signature.
See the license for more details, but that basically means you can share this book as long as you credit the author (but see below), don't make money from it, and do make it available to everyone else under the same terms. However, the publisher has asked for the customary Creative Commons attribution to the original publisher, authors, title, and book URI to be removed. While verbal communication is important, humans relied on nonverbal communication for thousands of years before we developed the capability to communicate with words.
Oral communication only relies on one channel, because spoken language is transmitted through sound and picked up by our ears. Verbal and nonverbal communication include both vocal and nonvocal elements, and Table 4.1 "Vocal and Nonvocal Elements of Communication" shows the relationship among vocal, nonvocal, verbal, and nonverbal aspects of communication.
For example, nonverbal communication is primarily biologically based while verbal communication is primarily culturally based. Some studies have claimed that 90 percent of our meaning is derived from nonverbal signals, but more recent and reliable findings claim that it is closer to 65 percent.Laura K. Most people whose careers dona€™t involve conscious manipulation of nonverbal signals find it difficult to control or suppress them. As with verbal communication, most of our nonverbal signals can be linked to multiple meanings, but unlike words, many nonverbal signals do not have any one specific meaning. Unlike verbal communication, however, nonverbal communication doesna€™t have explicit rules of grammar that bring structure, order, and agreed-on patterns of usage.
This is especially true in times of stress or danger when our behaviors become more instinctual and we rely on older systems of thinking and acting that evolved before our ability to speak and write.Peter A. As wea€™ve already learned, verbal and nonverbal communication are two parts of the same system that often work side by side, helping us generate meaning.
Nonverbal communication can convey much meaning when verbal communication isna€™t effective because of language barriers.
Crowded or loud places can also impede verbal communication and lead people to rely more on nonverbal messages. As we learned earlier, we often perceive nonverbal communication to be more credible than verbal communication. Deception is typically thought of as the intentional act of altering information to influence another person, which means that it extends beyond lying to include concealing, omitting, or exaggerating information. Nonverbal communication helps us regulate our conversations so we dona€™t end up constantly interrupting each other or waiting in awkward silences between speaker turns.
The nonverbal messages we send and receive influence our relationships in positive and negative ways and can work to bring people together or push them apart.
This makes sense when we remember that nonverbal communication emerged before verbal communication and was the channel through which we expressed anger, fear, and love for thousands of years of human history.Peter A. What, if anything, should schools do to enhance teachersa€™ knowledge of immediacy behaviors?
Our identities (the groups to which we belong, our cultures, our hobbies and interests, etc.) are conveyed nonverbally through the way we set up our living and working spaces, the clothes we wear, the way we carry ourselves, and the accents and tones of our voices. Nonverbal communication includes vocal elements, which is referred to as paralanguage and includes pitch, volume, and rate, and nonvocal elements, which are usually referred to as body language and includes gestures, facial expressions, and eye contact, among other things.
They are processed by different hemispheres of the brain, nonverbal communication conveys more emotional and affective meaning than does verbal communication, nonverbal communication isna€™t governed by an explicit system of rules in the same way that grammar guides verbal communication, and while verbal communication is a uniquely human ability, many creatures including plants, birds, and mammals communicate nonverbally.
Be integrative in your approach by including at least one example from an academic, professional, civic, and personal context.
As we learn about each type of nonverbal signal, keep in mind that nonverbals often work in concert with each other, combining to repeat, modify, or contradict the verbal message being sent.
Holding up the index and middle fingers in a a€?Va€? shape with the palm facing in is an insult gesture in Britain that basically means a€?up yours.a€? This gesture dates back centuries to the period in which the primary weapon of war was the bow and arrow.
In terms of head movements, a head nod is a universal sign of acknowledgement in cultures where the formal bow is no longer used as a greeting. In terms of regulating communication, we use eye contact to signal to others that we are ready to speak or we use it to cue others to speak.
Our eyes bring in the visual information we need to interpret peoplea€™s movements, gestures, and eye contact.
We have social norms about how much eye contact we make with people, and those norms vary depending on the setting and the person.
Pupil dilation refers to the expansion and contraction of the black part of the center of our eyes and is considered a biometric form of measurement; it is involuntary and therefore seen as a valid and reliable form of data collection as opposed to self-reports on surveys or interviews that can be biased or misleading.
Think of how photos are often intended to capture a particular expression a€?in a flasha€? to preserve for later viewing. Although facial expressions are typically viewed as innate and several are universally recognizable, they are not always connected to an emotional or internal biological stimulus; they can actually serve a more social purpose. This positive power of touch is countered by the potential for touch to be threatening because of its connection to sex and violence. At the friendship-warmth level, touch is more important and more ambiguous than at the social-polite level.
A hug can be obligatory, meaning that you do it because you feel like you have to, not because you want to. The shake-first-then-tap hug involves a modified hand-shake where the hands are joined more with the thumb and fingers than the palm and the elbows are bent so that the shake occurs between the two huggersa€™ chests. Since the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, airports around the world have had increased security. VocalicsThe study of paralanguage, which includes the vocal qualities that go along with verbal messages, such as pitch, volume, rate, vocal quality, and verbal fillers. As with volume, variations in speaking rate can interfere with the ability of others to receive and understand verbal messages. Voices vary in terms of resonance, pitch, and tone, and some voices are more pleasing than others.
They are considered a part of nonverbal communication because they are not like typical words that stand in for a specific meaning or meanings.

You may also download a PDF copy of this book (291 MB) or just this chapter (14 MB), suitable for printing or most e-readers, or a .zip file containing this book's HTML files (for use in a web browser offline). This is evidenced by the fact that some nonverbal communication has the same meaning across cultures while no verbal communication systems share that same universal recognizability.Peter A. For example, we say a€?owww!a€? when we stub our toe or scream a€?stop!a€? when we see someone heading toward danger. Spokespeople, lawyers, or other public representatives who are the a€?facea€? of a politician, celebrity, corporation, or organization must learn to control their facial expressions and other nonverbal communication so they can effectively convey the message of their employer or client without having their personal thoughts and feelings leak through.
While we can consciously decide to stop sending verbal messages, our nonverbal communication always has the potential of generating meaning for another person. If youa€™ve ever had someone wink at you and didna€™t know why, youa€™ve probably experienced this uncertainty.
Instead, we implicitly learn norms of nonverbal communication, which leads to greater variance.
Perhaps even more important are the ways in which nonverbal communication functions as a central part of relational communication and identity expression. In terms of reinforcing verbal communication, gestures can help describe a space or shape that another person is unfamiliar with in ways that words alone cannot.
Language barriers are present when a person hasna€™t yet learned to speak or loses the ability to speak.
Getting a server or bartendera€™s attention with a hand gesture is definitely more polite than yelling, a€?Hey you!a€? Finally, there are just times when we know ita€™s better not to say something aloud.
This is especially true when we receive mixed messagesMessages in which verbal and nonverbal signals contradict each other., or messages in which verbal and nonverbal signals contradict each other. While verbal communication is to blame for the content of the deception, nonverbal communication partners with the language through deceptive acts to be more convincing.
Other animals engage in nonverbal deception that helps them attract mates, hide from predators, and trap prey.Peter A. For example, hungry diners waiting to snag a first-come-first-serve table in a crowded restaurant send messages to the people who have already eaten and paid that ita€™s time to go. Pitch, which is a part of vocalics, helps us cue others into our conversational intentions. Nonverbal communication in the form of tie signs, immediacy behaviors, and expressions of emotion are just three of many examples that illustrate how nonverbal communication affects our relationships. These relational indicators can be objects such as wedding rings or tattoos that are symbolic of another person or the relationship, actions such as sharing the same drinking glass, or touch behaviors such as hand-holding.Walid A. Andersen, a€?Measures of Perceived Nonverbal Immediacy,a€? in The Sourcebook of Nonverbal Measures: Going beyond Words, ed. Immediacy behaviors help establish rapport, which is a personal connection that increases studentsa€™ investment in the class and material, increases motivation, increases communication between teacher and student, increases liking, creates a sense of mutual respect, reduces challenging behavior by students, and reduces anxiety.
Our physical bodies give others impressions about who we are, and some of these features are more under our control than others. In all the previous examples, implicit norms or explicit rules can affect how we nonverbally present ourselves. Specifically, this section will outline the use of gestures, head movements and posture, eye contact, and facial expressions as nonverbal communication.
AdaptorsTouching behaviors and movements that indicate internal states typically related to arousal or anxiety and may be directed at the self, others, or objects.
These are still different from the signs used by hearing-impaired people or others who communicate using American Sign Language (ASL). When archers were captured, their enemies would often cut off these two fingers, which was seen as the ultimate insult and worse than being executed since the archer could no longer shoot his bow and arrow.
Within each of these postures there are many variations, and when combined with particular gestures or other nonverbal cues they can express many different meanings. The saying a€?The eyes are the window to the soula€? is actually accurate in terms of where people typically think others are a€?located,a€? which is right behind the eyes.Peter A. Ia€™m sure wea€™ve all been in that awkward situation where a teacher asks a question, no one else offers a response, and he or she looks directly at us as if to say, a€?What do you think?a€? In that case, the teachera€™s eye contact is used to cue us to respond. A speaker can use his or her eye contact to determine if an audience is engaged, confused, or bored and then adapt his or her message accordingly. Staring at another person in some contexts could communicate intimidation, while in other contexts it could communicate flirtation. Our pupils dilate when there is a lack of lighting and contract when light is plentiful.Laura K. Even though a photo is a snapshot in time, we can still interpret much meaning from a human face caught in a moment of expression, and basic facial expressions are recognizable by humans all over the world.
For example, most of the smiles we produce are primarily made for others and are not just an involuntary reflection of an internal emotional state.Peter A. In order to set a positive tone before you start speaking, briefly look at the audience and smile to communicate friendliness, openness, and confidence. To learn about the power of touch, we turn to hapticsThe study of communication by touch., which refers to the study of communication by touch. At this level, touch interactions are important because they serve a relational maintenance purpose and communicate closeness, liking, care, and concern.
Even though you may think that this type of hug doesna€™t communicate emotions, it definitely does. The hug comes after the shake has been initiated with one arm going around the other person for usually just one tap, then a step back and release of the handshake. While passengers have long been subject to pat-downs if they set off the metal detector or arouse suspicion, recently foiled terrorist plots have made passenger screening more personal. Do you think such targeted screening could be seen as a case of unethical racial profiling? A louder voice is usually thought of as more intense, although a soft voice combined with a certain tone and facial expression can be just as intense. People typically find pleasing voices that employ vocal variety and are not monotone, are lower pitched (particularly for males), and do not exhibit particular regional accents. Verbal fillers such as a€?um,a€? a€?uh,a€? a€?like,a€? and a€?aha€? are common in regular conversation and are not typically disruptive.
Since most of our communication relies on visual and auditory channels, those will be the focus of this chapter.
Nonvocal elements of verbal communication include the use of unspoken symbols to convey meaning.
Involuntary nonverbal signals are much more common, and although most nonverbal communication isna€™t completely involuntary, it is more below our consciousness than verbal communication and therefore more difficult to control. Poker players, therapists, police officers, doctors, teachers, and actors are also in professions that often require them to have more awareness of and control over their nonverbal communication. The teenager who decides to shut out his dad and not communicate with him still sends a message with his a€?blanka€? stare (still a facial expression) and lack of movement (still a gesture). Did they wink to express their affection for you, their pleasure with something you just did, or because you share some inside knowledge or joke?
In general, we exhibit more idiosyncrasies in our usage of nonverbal communication than we do with verbal communication, which also increases the ambiguity of nonverbal communication.
This innateness creates intuitive feelings about the genuineness of nonverbal communication, and this genuineness relates back to our earlier discussion about the sometimes involuntary and often subconscious nature of nonverbal communication. Gestures also reinforce basic meaninga€”for example, pointing to the door when you tell someone to leave.
If you want to point out a persona€™s unusual outfit or signal to a friend that you think his or her date is a loser, youa€™re probably more likely to do that nonverbally. For example, a person may say, a€?You cana€™t do anything right!a€? in a mean tone but follow that up with a wink, which could indicate the person is teasing or joking. Since most of us intuitively believe that nonverbal communication is more credible than verbal communication, we often intentionally try to control our nonverbal communication when we are engaging in deception. People on competition reality television shows like Survivor and Big Brother play what theya€™ve come to term a a€?social game.a€? The social aspects of the game involve the manipulation of verbal and nonverbal cues to send strategic messages about oneself in an attempt to influence others. A rising pitch typically indicates a question and a falling pitch indicates the end of a thought or the end of a conversational turn. McCroskey, a€?Teacher Immediacy and the Teacher-Student Relationship,a€? in Handbook of Instructional Communication: Rhetorical and Relational Perspectives, eds. Height, for example, has been shown to influence how people are treated and perceived in various contexts.
For example, in a particular workplace it may be a norm (implicit) for people in management positions to dress casually, or it may be a rule (explicit) that different levels of employees wear different uniforms or follow particular dress codes. Even though they have a generally agreed-on meaning, they are not part of a formal sign system like ASL that is explicitly taught to a group of people.
Unlike emblems, illustrators do not typically have meaning on their own and are used more subconsciously than emblems. An innate and universal head movement is the headshake back and forth to signal a€?no.a€? This nonverbal signal begins at birth, even before a baby has the ability to know that it has a corresponding meaning. As we learned, eye contact is a key immediacy behavior, and it signals to others that we are available for communication. Much research has supported the universality of a core group of facial expressions: happiness, sadness, fear, anger, and disgust. Beyond your opening and welcoming facial expressions, facial expressions communicate a range of emotions and can be used to infer personality traits and make judgments about a speakera€™s credibility and competence.
We probably get more explicit advice and instruction on how to use touch than any other form of nonverbal communication. At the functional-professional level, touch is related to a goal or part of a routine professional interaction, which makes it less threatening and more expected. The types of touching at this level also vary greatly from more formal and ritualized to more intimate, which means friends must sometimes negotiate their own comfort level with various types of touch and may encounter some ambiguity if their preferences dona€™t match up with their relational partnera€™s. In this hugging behavior, the handshake that is maintained between the chests minimizes physical closeness and the intimacy that may be interpreted from the crisscross or engulfing hug where the majority of the huggersa€™ torsos are touching. The a€?shoe bombera€? led to mandatory shoe removal and screening, and the more recent use of nonmetallic explosives hidden in clothing or in body cavities led to the use of body scanners that can see through clothing to check for concealed objects.Andrew R. Of course, no one ever tells us these things explicitly; we learn them through observation and practice. We typically adjust our volume based on our setting, the distance between people, and the relationship. A fast speaker may be difficult to follow, and the fast delivery can actually distract from the message.
Many people perceive nasal voices negatively and assign negative personality characteristics to them.Peter A.
As we learned earlier, the use of verbal fillers can help a person a€?keep the floora€? during a conversation if they need to pause for a moment to think before continuing on with verbal communication. Rather than thinking of nonverbal communication as the opposite of or as separate from verbal communication, ita€™s more accurate to view them as operating side by sidea€”as part of the same system. Writing and American Sign Language (ASL) are nonvocal examples of verbal communication and are not considered nonverbal communication.
Nonverbal communication also evolved earlier than verbal communication and served an early and important survival function that helped humans later develop verbal communication. An example of the innateness of nonverbal signals can be found in children who have been blind since birth but still exhibit the same facial expressions as other children. Mixed messages lead to uncertainty and confusion on the part of receivers, which leads us to look for more information to try to determine which message is more credible. Likewise, we try to evaluate other peoplea€™s nonverbal communication to determine the veracity of their messages. To put it bluntly, the better at deception a creature is, the more likely it is to survive. Nonverbal cues such as length of conversational turn, volume, posture, touch, eye contact, and choices of clothing and accessories can become part of a playera€™s social game strategy.
Johnson, a€?The Nature and Function of Tie-Signs,a€? in The Sourcebook of Nonverbal Measures: Going beyond Words, ed. Immediacy behaviorsVerbal and nonverbal behaviors that lessen real or perceived physical and psychological distance between communicators. Love is a primary emotion that we express nonverbally and that forms the basis of our close relationships. We can also use nonverbal communication to express identity characteristics that do not match up with who we actually think we are.
A hitchhikera€™s raised thumb, the a€?OKa€? sign with thumb and index finger connected in a circle with the other three fingers sticking up, and the raised middle finger are all examples of emblems that have an agreed-on meaning or meanings with a culture. These largely involuntary and seemingly natural gestures flow from us as we speak but vary in terms of intensity and frequency based on context.
One interesting standing posture involves putting our hands on our hips and is a nonverbal cue that we use subconsciously to make us look bigger and show assertiveness. Certain eye behaviors have become tied to personality traits or emotional states, as illustrated in phrases like a€?hungry eyes,a€? a€?evil eyes,a€? and a€?bedroom eyes.a€? To better understand oculesics, we will discuss the characteristics and functions of eye contact and pupil dilation.
US Americans typically shift eye contact while speakinga€”looking away from the listener and then looking back at his or her face every few seconds. People know not to interrupt when we are in deep thought because we naturally look away from others when we are processing information. These social smiles, however, are slightly but perceptibly different from more genuine smiles. Facial expressions can communicate that a speaker is tired, excited, angry, confused, frustrated, sad, confident, smug, shy, or bored. A lack of nonverbal communication competence related to touch could have negative interpersonal consequences; for example, if we dona€™t follow the advice wea€™ve been given about the importance of a firm handshake, a person might make negative judgments about our confidence or credibility. For example, we let barbers, hairstylists, doctors, nurses, tattoo artists, and security screeners touch us in ways that would otherwise be seen as intimate or inappropriate if not in a professional context.
In a friendship, for example, too much touch can signal sexual or romantic interest, and too little touch can signal distance or unfriendliness. So as the daters sit across from each other, one person may lightly tap the othera€™s arm after he or she said something funny.
This move away from physical closeness likely stems from a US norm that restricts mena€™s physical expression of affection due to homophobia or the worry of being perceived as gay. In our age of computer-mediated communication, TYPING IN ALL CAPS is usually seen as offensive, as it is equated with yelling. Speaking a little faster than the normal 120a€“150 words a minute, however, can be beneficial, as people tend to find speakers whose rate is above average more credible and intelligent.David B. Verbal fillers in more formal settings, like a public speech, can hurt a speakera€™s credibility.
Yet, as part of the same system, they still have important differences, including how the brain processes them. Touch is an especially powerful form of nonverbal communication that we will discuss in this chapter, but we will not get into taste and smell, which have not received as much scholarly attention in relation to nonverbal communication as the other senses.
Nonvocal elements of nonverbal communication include body language such as gestures, facial expressions, and eye contact. While some of our nonverbal communication abilities, like our sense of smell, lost strength as our verbal capacities increased, other abilities like paralanguage and movement have grown alongside verbal complexity. For example, when someone asks a question and wea€™re not sure about the a€?anglea€? they are taking, we may hone in on nonverbal cues to fill in the meaning.
In short, the involuntary or subconscious nature of nonverbal communication makes it less easy to fake, which makes it seem more honest and credible.
People who have developed language skills but cana€™t use them because they have temporarily or permanently lost them or because they are using incompatible language codes, like in some cross-cultural encounters, can still communicate nonverbally. Students initially seem surprised when we discuss the prevalence of deception, but their surprise diminishes once they realize that deception isna€™t always malevolent, mean, or hurtful. So, over time, the humans that were better liars were the ones that got their genes passed on. Although reality television isna€™t a reflection of real life, people still engage in competition and strategically change their communication to influence others, making it important to be aware of how we nonverbally influence others and how they may try to influence us. Although no single facial expression for love has been identified, it is expressed through prolonged eye contact, close interpersonal distances, increased touch, and increased time spent together, among other things. Although we can temporarily alter our height or looksa€”for example, with different shoes or different color contact lensesa€”we can only permanently alter these features using more invasive and costly measures such as cosmetic surgery.
Through changes to nonverbal signals, a capable person can try to appear helpless, a guilty person can try to appear innocent, or an uninformed person can try to appear credible.
In regular social situations, adaptors result from uneasiness, anxiety, or a general sense that we are not in control of our surroundings.
Although we are never explicitly taught how to use illustrative gestures, we do it automatically. This biologically based movement then sticks with us to be a recognizable signal for a€?no.a€? We also move our head to indicate interest.

When the elbows are pointed out, this prevents others from getting past us as easily and is a sign of attempted dominance or a gesture that says wea€™re ready for action.
Toward the end of our speaking turn, we make more direct eye contact with our listener to indicate that we are finishing up. Making eye contact with others also communicates that we are paying attention and are interested in what another person is saying. We can also use our eye contact to signal that we do not want to make a connection with others. People generally perceive smiles as more genuine when the other person smiles a€?with their eyes.a€? This particular type of smile is difficult if not impossible to fake because the muscles around the eye that are activated when we spontaneously or genuinely smile are not under our voluntary control. Even if you arena€™t bored, for example, a slack face with little animation may lead an audience to think that you are bored with your own speech, which isna€™t likely to motivate them to be interested. A lack of competence could have more dire negative consequences, including legal punishment, if we touch someone inappropriately (intentionally or unintentionally). At the social-polite level, socially sanctioned touching behaviors help initiate interactions and show that others are included and respected.
At the love-intimacy level, touch is more personal and is typically only exchanged between significant others, such as best friends, close family members, and romantic partners.
If the daters are sitting side by side, one person may cross his or her legs and lean toward the other person so that each persona€™s knees or feet occasionally touch. The slap hug is also a less physically intimate hug and involves a hug with one or both people slapping the other persona€™s back repeatedly, often while talking to each other.
Protests against and anxiety about the body scanners, more colloquially known as a€?naked x-ray machines,a€? led to the new a€?enhanced pat-downa€? techniques for passengers who refuse to go through the scanners or passengers who are randomly selected or arouse suspicion in other ways. Children, for example, have a difficult time perceiving sarcasm, which is usually conveyed through paralinguistic characteristics like pitch and tone rather than the actual words being spoken. A voice at a low volume or a whisper can be very appropriate when sending a covert message or flirting with a romantic partner, but it wouldna€™t enhance a persona€™s credibility if used during a professional presentation. For instance, nonverbal communication is typically governed by the right side of the brain and verbal, the left.Peter A. Gestures are nonvocal and nonverbal since most of them do not refer to a specific word like a written or signed symbol does.
The fact that nonverbal communication is processed by an older part of our brain makes it more instinctual and involuntary than verbal communication. For example, the question a€?What are you doing tonight?a€? could mean any number of things, but we could rely on posture, tone of voice, and eye contact to see if the person is just curious, suspicious, or hinting that they would like company for the evening. We will learn more about the role that nonverbal communication plays in deception later in this chapter. Although ita€™s always a good idea to learn some of the local language when you travel, gestures such as pointing or demonstrating the size or shape of something may suffice in basic interactions.
Deception obviously has negative connotations, but people engage in deception for many reasons, including to excuse our own mistakes, to be polite to others, or to influence othersa€™ behaviors or perceptions.
But the fact that lying played a part in our survival as a species doesna€™t give us a license to lie. Conversely, we can a€?hold the floora€? with nonverbal signals even when wea€™re not exactly sure what wea€™re going to say next. Touch behaviors are the most frequently studied tie signs and can communicate much about a relationship based on the area being touched, the length of time, and the intensity of the touch. Given many peoplea€™s limited emotional vocabulary, nonverbal expressions of emotion are central to our relationships.
We have more control over some other aspects of nonverbal communication in terms of how we communicate our identities. Many of us subconsciously click pens, shake our legs, or engage in other adaptors during classes, meetings, or while waiting as a way to do something with our excess energy. Think about how you still gesture when having an animated conversation on the phone even though the other person cana€™t see you. While listening, we tend to make more sustained eye contact, not glancing away as regularly as we do while speaking.Judith N.
For example, in a public setting like an airport or a gym where people often make small talk, we can avoid making eye contact with others to indicate that we do not want to engage in small talk with strangers.
For example, advertisers use pupil dilation as an indicator of consumer preferences, assuming that more dilation indicates arousal and attraction to a product. However, the triggers for these expressions and the cultural and social norms that influence their displays are still culturally diverse. So make sure your facial expressions are communicating an emotion, mood, or personality trait that you think your audience will view favorably, and that will help you achieve your speech goals. Touch is necessary for human social development, and it can be welcoming, threatening, or persuasive. A handshake, a pat on the arm, and a pat on the shoulder are examples of social-polite touching. Touching faces, holding hands, and full frontal embraces are examples of touch at this level. The crisscross hug is a rather typical hug where each persona€™s arm is below or above the other persona€™s arm.
Ia€™ve seen this type of hug go on for many seconds and with varying degrees of force involved in the slap.
The strong reactions are expected given what wea€™ve learned about the power of touch as a form of nonverbal communication.
Adults with lower than average intelligence and children have difficulty reading sarcasm in another persona€™s voice and instead may interpret literally what they say.Peter A.
Burgoon, a€?The Effects of Vocalics and Nonverbal Sensitivity on Compliance,a€? Human Communication Research 13, no. Whether they are a public figure like President Bill Clinton, a celebrity like Snooki from the Jersey Shore, or a fictional character like Peter Griffin from Family Guy, some peoplea€™s voices stick with us and make a favorable or unfavorable impression. We also put more weight on nonverbal communication when determining a persona€™s credibility.
Vocal variation can help us emphasize a particular part of a message, which helps reinforce a word or sentencea€™s meaning. Persistent mixed messages can lead to relational distress and hurt a persona€™s credibility in professional settings. Repeating a hand gesture or using one or more verbal fillers can extend our turn even though we are not verbally communicating at the moment. Kisses and hugs, for example, are considered tie signs, but a kiss on the cheek is different from a kiss on the mouth and a full embrace is different from a half embrace. For example, the way we carry and present ourselves through posture, eye contact, and tone of voice can be altered to present ourselves as warm or distant depending on the context. Public speaking students who watch video recordings of their speeches notice nonverbal adaptors that they didna€™t know they used. We dona€™t consciously read othersa€™ pupil dilation in our everyday interactions, but experimental research has shown that we subconsciously perceive pupil dilation, which affects our impressions and communication. If youa€™ve spent much time with babies you know that theya€™re capable of expressing all these emotions. People are able to distinguish the difference between these smiles, which is why photographers often engage in cheesy joking with adults or use props with children to induce a genuine smile before they snap a picture. Research projects have found that students evaluated a library and its staff more favorably if the librarian briefly touched the patron while returning his or her library card, that female restaurant servers received larger tips when they touched patrons, and that people were more likely to sign a petition when the petitioner touched them during their interaction.Peter A. A handshake is actually an abbreviated hand-holding gesture, but we know that prolonged hand-holding would be considered too intimate and therefore inappropriate at the functional-professional or social-polite level. Although this level of touch is not sexual, it does enhance feelings of closeness and intimacy and can lead to sexual-arousal touch, which is the most intimate form of touch, as it is intended to physically stimulate another person.
One of my interpersonal communication professors admitted that she enjoyed going to restaurants to observe a€?first-date behaviora€? and boasted that she could predict whether or not there was going to be a second date based on the couplea€™s nonverbal communication. A light touch from one dater will be followed by a light touch from the other to indicate that the first touch was OK. This hug is common among friends, romantic partners, and family members, and perhaps even coworkers. When the slap is more of a tap, it is actually an indication that one person wants to let go. This hemispheric distinction has been clearly evidenced, as people who suffer trauma to the right side of their brain lose the ability to recognize facial expressions but can still process verbal communication. For example, if a classmate delivers a speech in class and her verbal content seems well-researched and unbiased, but her nonverbal communication is poor (her voice is monotone, she avoids eye contact, she fidgets), she will likely not be viewed as credible. If you consider yourself a a€?people watcher,a€? take note of the various tie signs you see people use and what they might say about the relationship.
Simonds, a€?The Effects of Teacher Clarity, Nonverbal Immediacy, and Caring on Student Motivation, Affective and Cognitive Learning,a€? Communication Research Reports 24, no. Immediacy behaviors are verbal and nonverbal behaviors that lessen real or perceived physical and psychological distance between communicators.Mark E. For example, when one person continues to stare at another person who is not reciprocating eye contact, the person avoiding eye contact might eventually give in, become curious, or become irritated and say, a€?Can I help you with something?a€? As you can see, eye contact sends and receives important communicative messages that help us interpret othersa€™ behaviors, convey information about our thoughts and feelings, and facilitate or impede rapport or connection.
Getting to see the pure and innate expressions of joy and surprise on a babya€™s face is what makes playing peek-a-boo so entertaining for adults. When delivering something light-hearted or humorous, a smile, bright eyes, and slightly raised eyebrows will nonverbally enhance your verbal message.
At the functional-professional and social-polite levels, touch still has interpersonal implications.
While verbal communication could also be used to indicate romantic interest, many people feel too vulnerable at this early stage in a relationship to put something out there in words. The neck-waist hug usually occurs in more intimate relationships as it involves one persona€™s arms around the othera€™s neck and the other persona€™s arms around the othera€™s waist. The video footage of then-president Bill Clinton hugging Monica Lewinsky that emerged as allegations that they had an affair were being investigated shows her holding on, while he was tapping from the beginning of the hug. When speaking at a faster-than-normal rate, it is important that a speaker also clearly articulate and pronounce his or her words. Conversely, people whose left hemisphere of the brain is damaged lose the ability to speak, read, and understand language. Conversely, in some situations, verbal communication might carry more meaning than nonverbal. Common self-touching behaviors like scratching, twirling hair, or fidgeting with fingers or hands are considered self-adaptors. Even though we may not be aware of this subtle nonverbal signal, we have social norms and practices that may be subconsciously based on pupil dilation. As we get older, we learn and begin to follow display rules for facial expressions and other signals of emotion and also learn to better control our emotional expression based on the norms of our culture.
When delivering something serious or somber, a furrowed brow, a tighter mouth, and even a slight head nod can enhance that message. The touch, although professional and not intimate, between hair stylist and client, or between nurse and patient, has the potential to be therapeutic and comforting.
If your date advances a touch and you are not interested, it is also unlikely that you will come right out and say, a€?Sorry, but Ia€™m not really interested.a€? Instead, due to common politeness rituals, you would be more likely to respond with other forms of nonverbal communication like scooting back, crossing your arms, or simply not acknowledging the touch. I think of this type of hug as the a€?slow-dance hug.a€? The engulfing hug is similar to a bear hug in that one person completely wraps the arms around the other as that person basically stands there. Interestingly, police have long been able to use more invasive pat-downs, but only with probable cause. Boomhauer, a character on the show King of the Hill, is an example of a speaker whose fast rate of speech combines with a lack of articulation and pronunciation to create a stream of words that only he can understand.
Interestingly, a person with damage to the left hemisphere of the brain who loses the ability to speak can often still sing since the creation, but not the reading, of music is governed by the right brain. In interactions where information exchange is the focus, at a briefing at work, for example, verbal communication likely accounts for much more of the meaning generated. Immediacy behaviors are a good way of creating rapport, or a friendly and positive connection between people.
Take for example the notion of mood lighting and the common practice of creating a a€?romantica€? ambiance with candlelight or the light from a fireplace. If your facial expressions and speech content are not consistent, your audience could become confused by the mixed messages, which could lead them to question your honesty and credibility. In addition, a social-polite touch exchange plays into initial impression formation, which can have important implications for how an interaction and a relationship unfold.
This hugging behavior usually occurs when someone is very excited and hugs the other person without warning. In the case of random selection at the airport, no probable cause provision has to be met, giving TSA agents more leeway with touch than police officers. A higher rate of speech combined with a pleasant tone of voice can also be beneficial for compliance gaining and can aid in persuasion. Skilled nonverbal communicators are more likely to be able to create rapport with others due to attention-getting expressiveness, warm initial greetings, and an ability to get a€?in tunea€? with others, which conveys empathy.Ronald E. Softer and more indirect light leads to pupil dilation, and although we intentionally manipulate lighting to create a romantic ambiance, not to dilate our pupils, the dilated pupils are still subconsciously perceived, which increases perceptions of attraction.Peter A. Experts in aviation security differ in their assessment of the value of the pat-downs and other security procedures.
In terms of content, nonverbal communication tends to do the work of communicating emotions more than verbal. Riggio, a€?Social Interaction Skills and Nonverbal Behavior,a€? in Applications of Nonverbal Behavior Theories and Research, ed.
Specifically, I subconsciously gravitate toward metallic objects like paper clips or staples holding my notes together and catch myself bending them or fidgeting with them while Ia€™m speaking. Several experts have called for a revision of the random selection process in favor of more targeted screenings. In terms of composition, although there are rules of grammar that structure our verbal communication, no such official guides govern our use of nonverbal signals. Specific nonverbal behaviors have been found to increase or decrease perceived levels of immediacy, and such behaviors impact student learning, teachera€™s evaluations, and the teacher-student relationship.Virginia P. Other people play with dry-erase markers, their note cards, the change in their pockets, or the lectern while speaking. What civil rights organizations critique as racial profiling, consumer rights activists and some security experts say allows more efficient use of resources and less inconvenience for the majority of passengers.Andrew R.
Likewise, there arena€™t dictionaries and thesauruses of nonverbal communication like there are with verbal symbols. Use of object adaptors can also signal boredom as people play with the straw in their drink or peel the label off a bottle of beer. Smartphones have become common object adaptors, as people can fiddle with their phones to help ease anxiety. Although the TSA has made some changes to security screening procedures and have announced more to come, some passengers have started a backlash of their own.
Finally, as noted, other adaptors are more common in social situations than in public speaking situations given the speakera€™s distance from audience members. There have been multiple cases of passengers stripping down to their underwear or getting completely naked to protest the pat-downs, while several other passengers have been charged with assault for a€?gropinga€? TSA agents in retaliation. These are just some of the characteristics that differentiate verbal communication from nonverbal, and in the remainder of this chapter we will discuss in more detail the principles, functions, and types of nonverbal communication and conclude with some guidance on how to improve our nonverbal communication competence.
Other adaptors involve adjusting or grooming others, similar to how primates like chimpanzees pick things off each other. Footage of pat-downs of toddlers and grandmothers in wheelchairs and self-uploaded videos of people recounting their pat-down experiences have gone viral on YouTube.
It would definitely be strange for a speaker to approach an audience member and pick lint off his or her sweater, fix a crooked tie, tuck a tag in, or pat down a flyaway hair in the middle of a speech. Even those who do not plan on going into teaching as a career can benefit from learning about immediacy behaviors, as they can also be used productively in other interpersonal contexts such as between a manager and employee, a salesperson and a client, or a politician and constituent. Much of this research in teaching contexts has focused on the relationship between immediacy behaviors and student learning, and research consistently shows that effective use of immediacy behaviors increases learning in various contexts and at various levels. Aside from enhancing student learning, the effective use of immediacy behaviors also leads to better evaluations by students, which can have a direct impact on a teachera€™s career. While student evaluations of teachers take various factors into consideration, judgments of personality may be formed, as we learned in Chapter 2 "Communication and Perception", after only brief initial impressions. Research shows that students make character assumptions about teachers after only brief exposure to their nonverbal behaviors.
Based on nonverbal cues such as frowning, head nodding, pointing, sitting, smiling, standing, strong gestures, weak gestures, and walking, students may or may not evaluate a teacher as open, attentive, confident, dominant, honest, likable, anxious, professional, supportive, or enthusiastic.

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