Applications of Nonverbal Communication

Applications of Nonverbal Communication

Applications of Nonverbal Communication

Applications of Nonverbal Communication

Synopsis

The goal of this edited volume is to provide a much needed bridge between the research on nonverbal communication and the application of those findings. The book features contributions from some of the leading researchers in the field. These distinguished scholars apply their understanding of nonverbal communication processes to a variety of settings including hospitals and clinics, courtrooms and police stations, the workplace and government, the classroom, and everyday life. It explores nonverbal communication in public settings, in intimate relationships, and across cultures and general lessons such as the importance of context, individual differences, and how expectations affect interpretation. Applications of Nonverbal Communication appeals to a diverse group of practitioners, researchers, and students from a variety of disciplines including psychology, health care, law enforcement, political science, sociology, communication, business and management. It may also serve as a supplement in upper level courses on nonverbal communication.

Excerpt

Few topics encompass such a rich and broad area of investigation as nonverbal communication. Researchers in fields as diverse as psychology, ethology, communication studies, sociology, anthropology, and neuroscience have all made important contributions to our understanding of the way that humans communicate nonverbally.

Yet frequently the applied implications of such research have gone ignored, unstated, or unelaborated. In part, this lack of attention to applications is a function of the kind of work carried out by nonverbal communication researchers. Such work is often very precise and exacting, employing a "microscopic" approach to studying human social behavior that is driven by theoretical questions. For example, to a nonverbal researcher, a smile is not necessarily a smile, as work on the distinction between felt, or Duchenne, smiles and feigned smiles has illustrated so compellingly (Woodzicka & LaFrance, chap. 7, this volume). Likewise, the nonverbal communication scholars who have made use of Paul Ekman's FACS, facial coding system (Ekman 1978), are able to determine that a particular photograph does or does not contain a genuine, felt expression of anger or sadness.

Although this concern with precision has produced an extensive body of significant findings, it has a downside. Specifically, scholars of nonverbal behavior are often reluctant to generalize their typically laboratory-based research findings to real-world, everyday behavior. However, it is the precision of their work that also makes nonverbal communication research so valuable—both to researchers in related areas, and to practitioners.

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