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Chapter 3

Chapter 3.doc

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Communication Studies
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Darryl Burgwin

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Chapter 3
Social competence is not easy to define, but it has long interested researchers,
and social intelligence is considered a basic intellectual capacity distinct from
other cognitive abilities
Some people are comparatively more alert to nonverbal cues and better able to
identify what these cues mean; some people are also more proficient at expressing
their feelings and attitudes nonverbally.
social competence that comprises such skill is essential in our daily lift, both personal
and professional.
Although nonverbal communication skills are often talked about with reference to
judging and expressing emotions, people actually judge and express many other kinds
of nonverbal messages, states, and traits as well.
For example, we might notice and remember that our friend likes dangly earrings,
that she often wears blue, or that she might be a bit too plump for the sweater you are
thinking of buying her.
Sometimes we notice something and make an interpretation right away
People also, need to grasp verbal meanings--literal, metaphoric, and shades of
inundated to integrate verbal and nonverbal cues; sarcasm and joking, for ex- ample,
are expressed through combinations of verbal and nonverbal cues.
Empathy, rapport, intuition, and charisma, as well as processes such as social
comparison and impression formation, can all be construed in terms of accurate
sending or receiving of nonverbal cues among people
People generally know how to play these roles very well, and they do so without
having to think about it consciously; furthermore, people are sensitive to whether
roles are being enacted appropriately by others.
Clearly, the ability, to read and send the subtle cues required for role negotiation, and
to know when roles are being fulfilled appropriately, is an important social skill.
Most of our ability to send and receive nonverbal signals is derived from "on-the-job
training," the job being the process of daily living. In short, we learn our nonverbal
skills, not always consciously, by imitating and modeling others and by adapting our
responses to the coaching, feedback, and advice of others.
That nonverbal and other social skills are strongly rooted in learning seems apparent
enough and provides insight into why individuals differ so much in these skills.
Monkeys reared in isolation were incapable of producing the necessary expressions
and, when put in the role of receiver monkey, proved deficient at reading the fearful
facial expressions of the other monkey
Feedback from others as we grow up does not have to mention our behavior
explicitly; it can be a response to our behavior.
You can practice nonverbal sending and receiving frequently, but without regular,
accurate feedback, you may not improve your ability.
Individuals from culture have alto been successfully trained to understand and enact
characteristic nonverbal behaviors of people from a different culture or subculture
training study, participants profited the most when learning to judge emotional
expressions from a culture dissimilar their own, perhaps due to the relative novelty of
the expressions.
Parents, especially mothers, of toddler-age children were shown to be more accurate
in judging nonverbal cues cm a standard test than were similar married people
without children
According m this model, socially skilled behavior is analogous to skilled motor
behavior, such as driving a car.
Social-skills training based on this model has been used to train people of low social
competence in the effective use of nonverbal cues to make friends; it is also aimed at
helping distressed married
couples, psychiatric patients, children with learning disabilities, and professionals
who need social skills for their occupations
circumstances, there is, thus far, little overall evidence of these negative
consequences. In general, we believe that increasing everyone's knowledge of
nonverbal cues is a good thing, and that both individuals and society benefit when
communication skills are better.
Greater knowledge of cues and more developed skills may also make people less
vulnerable to manipulation.
As long as people believe all nonverbal cues are spontaneous expressions of feeling,
they will be less on guard against nonverbal manipulation and, therefore, more
vulnerable to it.
Most research on nonverbal communication skill has focused on the sending and
receiving of nonverbal cues reflective of emotions.
The following list shows some of the variety and richness of the information that is
sent and received in daily life.
oInterpersonal orientation:
oIntentions or needs:
oPhysical states:
oPersonal characteristics:
oDeception and insincerity':
oAppearance and behavior:
rapport (Bernieri, Gillis, Davis, & Grahe, 1996), which is defined as how much
positivity, attentiveness, and coordination are experienced by people toward
each other when they interact
Another kind of interpersonal accuracy is the ability to recognize what social or
identity groups people belong to. Ambady, Hallahan, and Conner (1999) measured
the accuracy with which people could identify the sexual orientation
Accuracy of predicting prejudice was especially high when the rater was black and
the video clip showed a white speaking with a black experimenter. In other words, the
black student raters seemed to be especially able to discern how the more prejudiced
whites spoke to blacks.
A novel kind of accuracy was studied by Carter and Hall (2008), who measured how
well people could notice co variations between characteristics of people and how they
behaved in a group discussion.
Women's accuracy on this test was higher than men's, and accuracy was higher for
observers who had more extraverted and less neurotic personalities.
For facial encoding, the people who serve as the stimuli are often asked to ex- press a
series of emotions or attitudes with their faces, or to tell about an emotional
experience, while being videotaped.
For vocal encoding, senders may be asked to recite a standard sentence with
emotionally neutral content or to recite the alphabet while expressing different
emotional attitude states; or to describe a past emotional experience, and thereby re-
experience the emotion felt at the time.
The accuracy with which the expressors (also called encoders) have nonverbally
conveyed various emotions or messages is often defined in terms of whether people
who do not know what the original emotions or messages were can accurately
identify them.
The methods described so far involve presenting a set of nonverbal stimuli to
perceivers. Such stimuli are often called thin slices because they are short
excerpts from the ongoing stream of behavior
There are many advantages to having the stimuli standardized in a set that can
be reused with many different perceivers. This is the usual definition of a "test."
Live- interaction studies like these are not standardized in the way that a test
would be. Snodgrass
Communication accuracy was defined as the correlation between these two sets of
ratings, with accurate communication occurring when one person's pattern of guesses
matched the pattern of the other person's ratings.
A constant problem in this area of research centers on the question of criteria.
If the sender was asked to look happy, a judge would get a correct answer for saying
the person looked happy.
This method assumes that encoders' faces show an appropriate response; sometimes
they do not. Sometimes experts decide on what emotion is being expressed in a
stimulus. Sometimes consensus is used, so a correct answer is based on what the
majority of judges say.
Profile of Nonverbal Sensitivity,The PONS test is a 45-minute video that
contains 220 auditory and visual segments to which viewers are asked to
The test has been administered widely to people of different ages, occupations,

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