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Psychology 2035A/B Chapter Notes -Nonverbal Communication, Interpersonal Communication, Electrodermal Activity

Course Code
Doug Hazlewood

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Chapter 8- Interpersonal Communication
The Process of Interpersonal Communication
Communication can be defined as the process of sending and receiving messages that
have meaning
Intrapersonal Communication- when you “talk to yourself”
Interpersonal communication is an interactional process in which one person sends a
message to another
o At least two people must be involved
o It is a process (involves a series of actions)
o This process is interactional
The sender is the person who initiates the message
The receiver is the person to whom the message is targeted
The message refers to the information or meaning that is transmitted from the sender
to the receiver
o Speakers encode or transform their ideas and feelings into symbols and organize
them into a message; receivers decode or translate a speaker`s message into
their own ideas and feelings
The channel refers to the sensory means through which the message reaches the
o The messages in the various channels may be consistent or inconsistent with
each other, making their interpretation more or less difficult
o Facial expressions, gestures, eye contact, etc.
Noise refers to any stimulus that interferes with accurately expressing or
understanding a message
Context is the environment in which communication takes place
o Includes the physical environment, nature of the relationship, history, current
mood, and their cultural background
People are selective in initiating or responding to communications
They have a systemic quality because of time, situation, social class, education, culture,
personal histories, and other influences that are beyond individual`s control but that
nonetheless affect how they interact with each other
Communications within a given relationship are unique
Communications are processual (part of a continuous and evolving process that
becomes more and more personal as people interact with greater frequency

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Electronically mediated communication is interpersonal communication that takes
place via technology
Face-to-face communication relies on the spoken word, while Internet communication
depends on the written word
Maintaining Privacy in the Digital Age
Based on their analyses of a social networking site dataset composed of user profiles,
researchers claim that students are likely to act to maintain their online privacy based
on two factors: social influence and personal incentives
Where social influence is concerned, students follow the lead of those close to them
Women are more likely to maintain private profiles than men
People with private profiles are online with greater regularity than those with public
Nonverbal Communication
Nonverbal communication is the transmission of meaning from one person to another
through means or symbols other than words
General principles
1. Nonverbal communication conveys emotions
2. Nonverbal communication is multi-channeled
o It is ambiguous
Actions can mean different things to different people
3. It may contradict verbal messages
When someone is instructed to tell a lie, deception is most readily
detected through nonverbal signals
4. Nonverbal communication is culture-bound
Proxemics is the study of people’s use of interpersonal space
Personal space is a zone of space surrounding a person that is felt to “belong” to that
The amount of interpersonal distance people prefer depends on the nature of the
relationship and the situation
Also regulated by social norms and varies by culture
Women seem to have small personal-space zones than men do
People generally stand farther away from high-status communication partners versus
partners of lower power

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It is the prerogative of the most powerful person in an interaction to set the “proper”
Six distinctive facial expressions that correspond with six basic emotions: anger, disgust,
fear, happiness, sadness, and surprise
Observers are better at recognizing emotions in photographs from their own cultural
groups than from other cultural groups
A few basic facial expressions are universally recognizable, but other expressions vary
from culture to culture
Display rules are norms that govern the appropriate display of emotions in a culture
Men typically show less facial expression than women do
People high in self-monitoring are better than low-self monitors at managing their facial
Older individuals are less able to identify angry expressions on either younger or older
faces. Once the older participants categorized the faces they viewed, they remembered
angry faces less well than happy ones
People are better at sending deceptive messages with their faces than with other areas
of their bodies
People who engage in high levels of eye contact are usually judged to have effective
social skills and credibility
Speakers, interviewers, and experimenters receiver higher ratings of competence when
they maintain high rather than low eye contact with their audience
People engage in more eye contact when they’re listening than when they’re talking
People are more likely to make eye contact with others when making sincere
Speakers making sarcastic or derisive comments become gaze aversive (avoid eye
contact with listeners)
Gaze also communicates the intensity (but not positivity or negativity) of feelings
Unpleasant interactions, embarrassing situations, or invasions of personal space usually
trigger reduced eye contact
Culture strongly affects patterns of eye contact
Women tend to gaze at others more than men do
Higher-status individuals look at the other person more when speaking than when
listening, while lower-status people behave just the opposite
Women usually show the lower-status visual pattern because they are typically
accorded lower status than men
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