chapter 5 outline - DeVito

Concepts of this chapter
functions of nonverbal communication
channels of nonverbal communication
culture, gender, and nonverbal communication
Knowledge Objectives
After completing this chapter, students should be able to
understand what nonverbal communication is
identify the many forms of nonverbal communication
understand gender and cultural differences in nonverbal communication
After completing this chapter, students should
use nonverbal messages to communicate a variety of meanings
use appropriate types of nonverbal communication to express their meanings
communicate appropriately on the basis of gender and cultural factors
Instructional Outline
I. Introductory Material
Nonverbal communication is communication without words including gestures, touch,
raising your voice, the clothes you wear
The ability to use nonverbal communication effectively yields two benefits:
- the greater your ability to send and receive nonverbal signals, the higher your attraction,
popularity, and psychological well-being are likely to be
- the greater your nonverbal skills, the more successful you’re likely to be at influencing
- suggestions to consider as you study nonverbal communication include:
-- analyze your own nonverbal communication patterns
-- observe mindfully the actions of yourself and others
-- resist the temptation to draw conclusions from nonverbal behavior
-- connect and relate the text information to life experience
II. The Functions of Nonverbal Messages
Integrating Nonverbal and Verbal Messages
Nonverbal messages may be used with verbal messages in the following ways:
- to accent or emphasize the verbal message (e.g., raising your voice to underscore a
- to complement or add nuances of meaning to a verbal message (e.g., smiling while
telling a story to indicate you think it is humorous)
- to contradict the verbal message (e.g., yelling and shaking one’s fist while proclaiming,
“No! I’m not angry!”)
- to regulate or to try to control verbal messages (e.g., refusing to make eye contact when
you don’t want to be called on in class)
- to repeat the verbal message (e.g., telling the barista you want two lattes while holding
up two fingers)
- to substitute for verbal messages (e.g., giving a “thumbs up” to let someone know all is

Researching Nonverbal Communication Functions
Researchers have identified certain functions of nonverbal communication as especially
- impression formation and management: we judge others and manage our own self
images through nonverbal cues such as body size, skin color, facial expressions, posture,
- relationship definition and form: largely through nonverbal cues we communicate our
relationships to other people; we also use nonverbal cues to indicate dominance or
status in a relationship
- conversation structure and social interaction: we use nonverbal communication to
signal listening and turn-taking in social interaction
- influence and deception: we use nonverbal cues to persuade others, such as adopting
nonverbal cues with which others may identify; we can also use nonverbal cues to
deceive others or detect deception
- emotional expression: largely through facial expressions we reveal levels of happiness
or sadness and other emotions
III. The Channels of Nonverbal Communication
Body Messages
- Body Movement – researchers identify five major types of body movements
-- emblems: body gestures that directly translate into words or phrases, such as the
thumbs up for “good job”
-- illustrators: nonverbal behaviors that accompany and enhance (literally
"illustrate") verbal messages, such as holding up two fingers while saying you will
be back in two hours
-- affect displays: nonverbal movements that communicate emotional
meaning, such as smiling, crying, wringing one’s hands
-- regulators: behaviors that monitor, control, coordinate or maintain the
speaking of others, such as glancing at your watch to indicate you need to leave or
the speaker has talked too long
-- adaptors: nonverbal behaviors that are emitted without conscious awareness and
that usually serve some kind of need
> self-adaptors – self-touching movements (i.e. rubbing your nose)
> alter adaptors – movements directed at the person with whom you are
speaking (i.e. brushing lint off her jacket or straightening his tie)
> object adaptors – gestures focused on objects (i.e. doodling or shredding a
Styrofoam coffee cup)
- Body Appearance: general body appearance influences how you communicate
and how others communicate with you; it also reveals your race and gives clues as to
your nationality; your attractiveness is largely determined by body appearance

Facial and Eye Movements
- Facial Communication – indicates the degree of pleasantness, agreement, and
sympathy felt; facial movements communicate at least these eight emotions: happiness,
surprise, fear, anger, sadness, disgust, contempt, and interest
-- the facial feedback hypothesis: your facial expression influences your
level of physiological arousal; people who exaggerate their facial expressions show
higher physiological arousal than those who suppress these expressions
-- facial management: we all learn certain facial management techniques that enable
us to communicate feelings to achieve the effect we want and act in socially
acceptable ways, such as:
> intensifying (exaggerating surprise when friends throw you a party)
> deintensifying (covering up your joy over some good news when a friend has
bad news to relate)
> neutralizing (covering up sadness as not to depress others)
> masking (expressing happiness when you are actually disappointed)
> simulating (expressing emotions you don’t really feel)
- Eye Communication – the eyes are regarded as the seat of the most important
nonverbal message system; messages communicated by the eye vary depending on
duration, direction, and quality
-- the functions of eye movements include
> to seek feedback
> to signal openness in the communication channel
> to signal the nature of a relationship
> to change the psychological distance between you and another
> to help others maintain privacy through “civil inattention” (eye
> to signal lack of interest through eye avoidance
Spatial Messages
- Proxemic Distances – Edward Hall distinguishes four distances that define the type of
relationships between people. The specific distances you maintain between yourself and
others depends on a variety of factors including cultural and gender socialization, age,
and personality
-- intimate: touching to 18 inches; used for wrestling and lovemaking, for comforting
and protecting
-- personal: 18 inches to 4 feet; the protective bubble most people keep around them;
keeps you protected and untouched by others
-- social: 4 feet to 12 feet; the space in which we conduct business or participate in
social interaction
-- public: 12 feet to 25 feet; the space we usually keep between and strangers or others
we view as potentially harmful
- Territoriality – the possessive reaction to an area or to particular objects. We interact
in three types of territories:
-- primary territories: areas you call your own; your desk, your room, your office;
places where we take a leadership role or where we have an interpersonal advantage
(the home field advantage)
-- secondary territories: areas that don’t belong to you but which you have occupied
and with which you may be associated; your regular seat in a classroom, your regular
table in the cafeteria
-- public territories: areas open to all people; movie houses, restaurants, shopping
-- we designate our primary and secondary territories with three types of markers.
Markers give us feelings of belonging and may also serve as status cues to others:
> central markers: items placed to reserve a territory, e.g., leaving your books on
your desk, placing your coat on the back of a chair in the library
> boundary markers: set boundaries between your territory and that of
others, such as the bar you place between your purchases and those of the
person in back of you at the grocery store or the fence around a gated
> ear markers: identifying marks that indicate your possession of a territory or
object, such as name plates, bookplates, trademarks

Artifactual Communication - messages that are human-made
- Color Communication – evidence suggests that colors may influence our psychology
and surely influences our perceptions and behaviors
- Clothing and Body Adornment – people make inferences about who you are by the
way you dress, the kind of jewelry you wear, the way you style your hair, your body
piercings, and your tattoos
- Space Decoration – people make inferences about you based on how you decorate
your private spaces (e.g., your home, your office) how you decorate your private spaces
(i.e. office or home) communicates who you are
- Smell Communication (Olfactics) – communication through odor; odors contribute
to our perceptions of health, alertness, awareness, relaxation, etc.
-- attraction messages: odors (perfumes, lotions, after shaves, powders) used to
enhance attractiveness
-- identification messages: odors used to create an image or an identity, such as the
distinctive smell of certain cleaning products
Touch Communication (Haptics) - the communicative through touch and touching
behavior is perhaps the most primitive form of nonverbal communication; it develops
before our other senses; it begins in the womb
- The Meanings of Touch – touch conveys
-- positive emotions (support, appreciation, inclusions, affection)
-- playfulness (affectionately or aggressively)
-- control (directing others to pay attention to something or someone)
-- ritual (shaking hands, hugging)
-- task-relatedness (helping someone out of a car)
- Touch Avoidance - our desire to avoid touching and being touched by certain people
or in certain circumstances; touch avoidance is positively related to communication
apprehension and is also affected by age and gender
Paralanguage and Silence
- Paralanguage - the vocal, nonverbal dimension of speech; volume, rate, pitch, accent,
vocalizations such as moaning, belching, yawning
-- judgments about people: we make judgments about others’
personalities on the basis of paralinguistic cues; we can judge with reasonable
accuracy the status and emotional states of people based on voice samples
-- judgments about communication effectiveness: we generally perceive people as
more effective and persuasive communicators if they speak at a rapid speech rate
- Silence – silence communicates just as intensely as anything you verbalize
-- functions of silence
> to allow for time to think before responding
> can be used as a weapon to hurt others
> as a respond to threats, a way to deal with personal anxiety or shyness
> as a way to preclude rejection
> to prevent communication of certain messages
> as a means to convey an emotional response, such as defiance or annoyance
> to convey you have nothing to say or do not want to say anything
 Time Communication (Chronemics) – the use of time; how you treat, organize, and react
to time. An especially important aspect of time is the importance placed on past, present, or
- People with a past orientation have a particular reverence for tradition, old methods, old
- People with a present orientation live in the here and now without planning for
- People with a future orientation look forward, make plans, set goals
- Time orientation depends on a variety of factors including culture and socio-economic
IV. Culture, Gender, and Nonverbal Communication - few universals exists across
cultures in regard to how nonverbal messages should be interpreted; generally because of
gender socialization women are better senders and receivers of nonverbal messages.
• Gestures – meanings of gestures varied widely among cultures; for example, the “OK”
gestures common in US culture is generally considered an obscene gesture in Brazil and
many Mediterranean countries
• Facial Expression and Eye Movement – cultural variations in facial communication are
more indicative of what is publicly permissible than a difference in the way emotions are
facially expressed; direct eye contact is generally interpreted as a sign of respect in US culture
but a sign of disrespect in Japanese culture; women generally make more eye contact than
men because of gender socialization
• Colors – colors vary greatly in their meanings from one culture to another; for example, red
signifies prosperity and rebirth in China; masculinity in France and the UK; blasphemy and
death in many African countries; and anger and danger in Japan.
• Touch – some cultures, such as Southern European and Middle Eastern, are contact
cultures; others, such as Northern European and Japanese are low or non-contact cultures.
Being unaware of these differences can lead to cultural misunderstandings.
• Paralanguage and Silence – perceived credibility based on rate of speech varies among
cultures, generally rapid rate of speech is viewed favorably in cultures with individualistic
orientations (e.g., US) and negatively in cultures with collectivistic orientations (e.g., (Korea);
some cultures, such as the Japanese and the traditional Apache cultures, value silence more
than other cultures. In the U.S. silence is often interpreted negatively.
• Time – culture influences perception of time in a variety of ways
- formal time: each culture establishes convenient, arbitrary formal time units; in the
U.S., seconds, minutes, hours, days, etc. are used; in some cultures time is divided by
phases of the moon or seasons
- informal time: the use of general time terms (“forever,” “immediately,” “soon”) differs
from culture to culture
- monochronism and polychronism: people in monochronistic cultures view time as a
linear progression, compartmentalize time, make schedules to complete on task at a
time; people in polychronistc cultures view time as more fluid and schedule multiple
tasks or events at the same time; no culture is entirely monochronistic or polychronistic.
- the social clock: the right time, according to your culture and society, to do a variety of
important things (e.g., start dating, graduate from college, start a career, have children)