Multichannel Integrations of Nonverbal Behavior

Multichannel Integrations of Nonverbal Behavior

Multichannel Integrations of Nonverbal Behavior

Multichannel Integrations of Nonverbal Behavior

Excerpt

Aron W. Siegman

Stanley Feldstein

Considering the many books on nonverbal behavior that have been published during the recent past, one could justifiably ask: Why another book on the same topic? This challenge is particularly salient in light of the fact that the editors of this book have only recently finished revising their earlier book: Nonverbal Behavior and Communication (2nd ed., in press). Unlike many earlier texts-- including our own initial effort in this area--in which the material is organized around specific channels of communication, this book takes a multichannel perspective. The first three chapters are written from a distinctly functional perspective: the function of nonverbal behavior on interpersonal attraction, in the expression of emotions and in the control of conversations. They are followed by two topically organized chapters, namely, the role of nonverbal behavior in interpersonal expectancies and deceptive communications. They, in turn, are followed by a process-oriented discussion of the nature of nonverbal behavior. The book concludes with two contributions concerned with the demography of nonverbal behavior: the role of gender, class, and ethnicity (with the latter viewed from a cultural perspective). In each case, however, the chapter is organized, to the extent possible, from a multichannel perspective. During the early years of research on nonverbal behavior, the single-channel approach represented the most reasonable way of organizing the available data. With the proliferation of sophisticated research in this area, and with the field having come into its own, it is now possible to organize the data around specific functions and psychologically meaningful topics. Some investigators have even started developing theories or mini-theories of nonverbal behavior and communication. This is not to imply that a multichannel perspective is superior to the single-channel perspective. Each provides a different perspective on the available data, and both are necessary.

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