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Chapter 7

Psychology 2035A/B Chapter Notes - Chapter 7: Nonverbal Communication, Interpersonal Communication, Master Sergeant

Course Code
Doug Hazlewood

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Chapter 7: Interpersonal Communication
-Interpersonal communication: an interactional process where one person sends a message to another
The 6 Components of the Communication Process
1. The sender: the person who initiated the msg (both ppl are senders/receivers in a regular conversation
2. The receiver: the person to whom which the message is targeted
3. The message: the content of the communication. The 2 cognitive processes that underlie the transmission of
msgs: speakers encode their ideas and feelings into a message, and the receiver decodes the speaker’s
message into their own ideas. Only considered a conscious process when it’s a new language
4. The channel: the sensory channel through which the msg reaches the receiver. They hear what they are saying,
but also see their facial expressions, and observe their gestures
5. Noise: any stimulus that interferes with accurately expressing or understanding a msg can lead to
6. Context: the environment in which the communication takes place
Technology and Interpersonal Communication
-Electronically Mediated Communication is IC that takes place via technology (e.g. “netlingo”/ cyberspace is a type
of slang used in texting, emails, and chat rooms)
-Cell phones are good b/c they are a convenient way to keep in touch with people, provide a sense of security, but
are negative b/c they tie people to their job, disrupt classes/public places, and bring private conversations into
public places. People have developed some cell phone etiquette that includes turning off the phone, keeping calls
short, and keeping it out of earshot of other
-In computer-mediated technology e-mails are the most popular
-Face-to-face and internet communication differ in 5 important dimensions: physical appearance, anonymity,
richness of communication, visual cues, and time
Communication and Adjustment
-Many of life’s gratifications hinge on one’s ability to communicate effectively with others
-Studies have shown that good communication can enhance satisfaction in relationships
Nonverbal Communication
-It is the transmission of meaning b/n people without using words. General principles include:
1. NC conveys emotion”a look that kills”, sitting close/touching those you care for
2. NC is multichanneled could be transmitted through gestures, facial expressions, and eye contact all at the
same time vs. verbal that is limited to one channel that’s speech
3. NC is ambiguous a shrug/raised eyebrow can be different things to different people, and the receiver
doesn’t always know if the signals are sent intentionally
4. NC can contradict verbal messages e.g. when somebody says they aren’t angry but their body is screaming
otherwise. Studies show that when inconsistency happens we are likely to look at the nonverbal cues. Also,
when one is told to lie, deception is often detected though nonverbal signals

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5. NC is culture-bound VERY different in different cultures. E.g. in Tibet people greet their friends by sticking
out their tongues
Elements of NC
Personal Space
-Proxemics is the study of people’s use of interpersonal space; zone of space surrounding a person that “belongs”
to that person; size of your bubble depends on your culture, social status, personality, age, and gender
-Distance depends on the nature of the relationship, social norms, and culture e.g. people in Northern European
cultures engage in less physical contact and keep a bigger distance then people of Latin or Middle Eastern
descent. US is a medium-contact culture, with variability among ethnic groups
-The general rule is the more you like someone the more comfortable you feel being close to them
-Women seem to have smaller personal-space zones then men; they sit and stand closer to each other
-People generally stand father away if the person that they are talking to is of high status
-Edward Hall described 4 interpersonal distance-zones for middle-class encounters in American culture:
1. Intimate distance zone (0-18 in)- parents/children, lovers, spouses/partners
2. Personal distance zone (18in-4ft)- close friends
3. Social distance zone (4-12ft)- co-workers, social gatherings, friends, and work situations
4. Public distance zone (12ft+)- actors, total strangers, important officials
Facial Expressions
-They mostly convey emotions
-Ekman and Friesen identified 6 facial expressions that correspond to the 6 basic emotions: anger, disgust, fear,
happiness, sadness, and surprise
-Studies have supported both the ideas that the 6 emotions are universally recognized and that they are culture
specific. People DO recognize emotions of people of different cultures universally, but there is an “in-group
advantage” so people are better at recognizing the emotions of people in pictures from their own culture
-Display rules: norms that govern the appropriate display of emotion in a culture
-Gender differences also exist- men show less facial expressions then women, b/c they are socially conditioned to
inhibit their public display of emotion.
-Also higher self-monitors are better at managing their facial expressions then low self-monitors
-“poker face” an example of how people deceive others using their facial expressions
Eye Contact
-The most significant aspect is the duration of the eye contact/mutual gaze
-People engage in more eye contact when they are listening rather then talking
-Gaze also communicated the intensity of feelings; couples that are in love spend more time gazing
-People who engage in moderate eye contact typically generate positive feelings in them

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-Negatively speaking a stare can make people uncomfortable, and also as common to animals alike can display
aggressive intent
-Big cultural differences Arab countries maintain longer eye contact in a conversation then Americans. Also in
Mexico, Latin America, Japan, Africa, and some Native tribes direct eye contact is considered an insult
-In the US differences have been found women stare more then men, higher statues people look at other more
when speaking then listening while lower status individuals behave the opposite, and African American use more
continuous eye contact then European Americans
-Women usually show low visual dominance b/c they are accorded lower status than men but when placed in a
position of high visual dominance women showed a high visual dominance position than men. This study showed
that visual dominance is more a function of status then gender b/c that could be manipulated according to the
Body Language
-Kinesics is the study of movement through body movements
-Tells a person’s level of tension/relaxation by posture and emphasize words by hand gestures
-Conveyed by posture (an “open” posture conveys relaxation) which also shows somebody’s attitude towards you
(leaning towards you indicates interest, while leaning away with arms crosses indicated a negative attitude or
-Posture also conveys status differences. Higher status people (and men) tend to convey a more relaxed posture,
while lower status people (and women) tend to have a more rigid body posture, sitting up straight with feet
-People in the US typically “touch downwards” i.e. higher status people are more free to touch lower status people
than vice versa
-Touch can convey many meanings and there are strong social norms about where and when it is appropriate to
touch different people and under what circumstances
-STUDY: showed interactions between 4500 people Bostonians; showed that female/female pairs touched each
other significantly more than male/male pairs. In younger pairs men touched women more and in older pairs it is
-Includes all the vocal cues other than the content of the message itself; refers to how rather than what is said
-Cues include volume, speed, pitch, rhythm, and quality of their speech
-Variations in vocal emphasis can give the same set of words a different meanings depending on which word in the
sentence you put the emphasis on; e.g. “I really enjoyed myself”
-Can also communicate emotions people speaking loud often signals anger, fast speech can mean somebody is
happy, nervous, or frightened, high pitch can mean anxiety, and more…
-In cyberspace communication substitutes for paralanguage cues include capital letters and emoticons
Detecting Deception
-People overestimate them ability to detect liars; experts found to only have a 57% accuracy rates
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