Applications of Nonverbal Behavioral Theories and Research

Applications of Nonverbal Behavioral Theories and Research

Applications of Nonverbal Behavioral Theories and Research

Applications of Nonverbal Behavioral Theories and Research

Synopsis

This book is intended to accomplish several goals. First, it is designed to provide a broad overview of the major areas of application of theory and research relating to nonverbal behavior. Second, individual chapters emphasize how the applications have been drawn from underlying theories and empirical bases, thereby making the link between theory, research, and applications apparent. Finally, the volume links individual chapter contributions, demonstrating how theoretical progress over the last few decades has led to important applied advances. The contributors to this book consider a wide variety of settings and topics. Their common thread, however, is a shared conviction that an understanding of nonverbal behavior can bring about an improvement in the human condition. Each of the authors has made suggestions regarding future directions for both research and practice -- and their ideas offer real promise.

Excerpt

The past three decades have seen tremendous advancement in our knowledge of nonverbal communication. However, much of this work has focused on the structure of nonverbal communication, or on the nonverbal communication process. By comparison, there has been relatively little attention given to skill in nonverbal communication. the concept of nonverbal communication skill focuses on peoples' abilities to communicate through nonverbal channels. As such, it is an "individual differences" approach to studying nonverbal communication.

In their more basic form, nonverbal skills include such things as abilities to encode and decode cues of emotion, ability to control and regulate emotional displays, and skill in the nonverbal management of conversations. in their more complex form, nonverbal skills can involve abilities to initiate and maintain intimate relationships, abilities to deceive and detect deception, empathic skill, and the establishment of interpersonal rapport. These nonverbal skills represent some of the critical elements for success in everyday social interaction. Moreover, possession of key nonverbal skills is likely a prerequisite for adequate psychosocial adjustment (see, e.g., Argyle, 1981; Phillips, 1978; Trower,Bryant, &Argyle, 1978).

The skill approach to the study of nonverbal communication has received its greatest impetus from the work of Rosenthal and his colleagues (e.g., Rosenthal, 1979; Rosenthal,Hall,DiMatteo,Rogers, &Archer, 1979). However, there is a small but growing number of social scientists who are becoming interested in this nonverbal skill approach. Researchers in the field of communication are beginning to study nonverbal communication from an individual differences perspective (see, e.g., McCroskey &Daly . . .

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