• Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint
Share this Page URL
Help

Information Theory and Listening > Nonverbal Communication

Nonverbal Communication

Since ancient times, people have sought proof of sincerity in the nonverbal communication of others. This kind of communication is so telling because it is based on involuntary responses: the pupils of our eyes dilate at the sight of something we like, for instance. We call this body language. It has culture-based aspects, too. We learn when it's appropriate to raise a hand to indicate a wish to speak and when to use a facial expression—and what expression to use. It often consists of a series of subtle, simultaneous cues such as change in breathing rate or eyebrow position. Nonverbal communication usually appears in “clusters”: beware of a person with a smiling mouth and unsmiling eyes—or as Ralph Waldo Emerson remarked, “What you are shouts so loudly in my ears I cannot hear what you say.”

The significance of this body language will vary depending on a person's national origin, ethnic group, social status, gender, and age. Translation, like spoken language, also depends on the context in which it occurs. A pat on the back can be congratulatory, consoling, patronizing, intimidating, or even a form of sexual harassment. So avoid jumping to conclusions. As researchers have recorded, nose rubbing can signal that someone is nervous, disapproving, lying, or simply itchy.


PREVIEW

                                                                          

Not a subscriber?

Start A Free Trial


  
  • Creative Edge
  • Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint