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2.1 How do we communicate? Communication- passing information from one person to another
Verbal Communication- conveying messages using words or
Paralinguistics- vocal features that accompany speech
Tone of voice- the way in which words are spoken in order to
Emphasis- when some words are given prominence over others
Intonation- inflection in the voice when speaking
Non-verbal communication- conveying a message without the
use of words of vocal sounds
Communication that requires words or vocal sounds is called verbal communication, and this includes talking to someone or just grunting. Also
includes Paralinguistics (vocal features that accompany speech),
such as tone of voice, emphasis and intonation.
Argyle, Alkema and Gilmour (1971) Davitz and Davitz (1961)
Aim: to see if tone of voice has any effect when Aim: to see the effect of Paralinguistics on the
interpreting a verbal message. assessment of emotion.
Method: groups of participants listened to either a Method: participants listened to tape recording and
friendly message in a hostile tone of voice, or a hostile assessed peoples emotions from the paralinguistic
message in a friendly tone of voice. cues: intonation, tone of voice and emphasis.
Results: When participants were asked to interpret the Results: there was a very high level of accuracy when
verbal message, it was found that tone of voice had identifying the emotions: affection, amusement,
five times the effect of the verbal message itself. disgust and fear.
Conclusion: Tone of voice is very important in how Conclusion: Paralinguistics had great importance when
people interpret messages. judging emotion.
- These studies help to understand why people find it hard to convey a verbal message if it contradicts their tone of voice. It
might also suggest that they aren't being completely truthful.
- The studies were carries out in rather artificial conditions where participants were asked to focus on different aspects of
communication. They might not do this in a real life situation, and might just focus on the words used.…read more
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2.2 How do we use eye contact and facial expressions Communication- passing information from one person to
Non-verbal Communication Verbal Communication- conveying messages using words
or vocal sounds
Communication that doesn't requires words or vocal sounds to convey a message is Paralinguistics- vocal features that accompany speech
called non-verbal communication, and this includes texting or typing. Also includes Tone of voice- the way in which words are spoken in
order to convey emotion
eye contact, body language and facial expressions.
Emphasis- when some words are given prominence over
Functions of eye contact Intonation- inflection in the voice when speaking
Non-verbal communication- conveying a message
without the use of words of vocal sounds
Aim: To see how interrupting eye contact affects
Method: Pairs of participants were observed having Facial Expressions
conversation, one of the participants wore dark
glasses so the other could not receive eye contact. Sackeim (1978)
Results: When the one participant wore dark Aim: To look at the relationship between facial expressions and the different
glasses, there were more pauses and interruptions hemispheres of the brain.
that when dark glasses weren't worn. Method: Pictures of peoples faces showing different emotions were cut down
Conclusion: Eye contact is important for the smooth the middle. New images were formed from a mirror image of each half. The new
flow of conversation. pairs of images were shown to participants. They were asked which picture they
Results: The majority of participants preferred the image made from the left half
Evaluation: of the face. When asked why, they said it looked `warmer'.
- Asking people to get acquainted and then observing them creates a very Conclusion: The left side of the face seems to express much more emotion than
artificial situation, and the people may have behaved differently. Therefore
the right side.
the study could lack Ecological Validity.
+ However, studies of eye contact have helped us to understand how to
make a conversation flow smoother.
+ Studies into pupil dilation have helped us understand why the use of eye Evaluation:
make up is so popular: makes the eyes look darker and larger, unconscious - Studies that involve still pictures are artificial. We don't usually star at still pictures to judge
signal for attraction. peoples emotions. Facial expressions in the real world change constantly.
- We don't just look at facial expressions when in conversation with people, other aspects of
non-verbal behavior such as posture of dress code can give more accurate cues.
- Helps us to understand why we might feel uncomfortable talking to
someone who either constantly looks at us or never looks at us. Your
never quite sure when its your turn to speak. - If facial expressions are inherited, this means that it happens instinctively and so is
- We have no control over pupil dilation, it's a biological aspect that's more likely to be truthful. Its easy to lie with words than facial expressions.
uncontrollable. A drawback of this could be that we cannot hide our true - Sackeim's study helps us to understand why we prefer certain profile pictures of
emotions if we are attracted to someone (unless we wear dark glasses). ourselves rather than other. We prefer to show our `warm' side.…read more
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2.3 How do we use body language?
Body Language- a general term used to describe aspects of non-verbal communication.
Posture- the positioning of the body, often regarded as a non-verbal communication signal.
Postural Echo- mirroring another persons body position.
Confederate- someone who pretends to be a genuine participant but is actually working with the researcher.
Closed Posture- when your arms are folded across the body and or the legs crossed over.
Open Posture- when your arms aren't folded across your body and your legs are crossed over.
Posture Touch Gestures
McGinley (1975) Fisher, Rytting and Heslin (1976) Argyle (1968)
Aim: to see the effect of postural echo when Aim: to see the effect of touch on peoples Aim: to see the effect of gestures used by waiters
having a conversation. attitudes on the tipping behavior of customers in a
Method: a confederate of the researcher Method: Female students in a library were handed restaurant.
approached people in a social setting and started a books by the librarian (confederate). Half of the Method: While taking orders from seated
conversation with them. Half of the conversations student were lightly touched in the arm while customers, waiters were instructed to either stand
used open posture and other half closed posture. handing the book and others weren't. up straight or squat down near the customer
The researcher then asked the individuals what Results: when questioned later, the students who (squatting makes more eye contact possible).
they thought about the confederate. were touched had a more positive outlook on the Results: Waiters who squatted down near
Results: Open posture = liked + got on well library and the librarian than those who weren't customers received a bigger tip than those who
together. Closed posture = Not liked + Awkward. touched. The participants didn't't know they'd didn't't.
Conclusion: postural echo = unconscious message been touched. Conclusion: The gesture of squatting down near a
of friendliness. Conclusion: touch has an unconscious and positive seated customer will have a positive effect on the
effect o attitudes. tipping behavior of the customer.
- The individuals who were approached did not Evaluation: Evaluation:
know they were part of an experiment = - All the participants were female, so we don't - Might have been other factors that affected
unethical = deception. know if males would have behaved differently. the size of the tip: for example size of the meal'
- Apart from open and closed posture there Results cannot be generalised. s bill.
could have been other factors that could have - The ethics into this study can be questioned as - Also whether the customer was served by
affected the peoples opinions of the the females did not know they were taking part someone of the same or opposite sex.
confederate: Personality differences. in an experiment till the end: Deception. - The study does show how knowledge of the
effect of gestures can be used to people's
Practical Implications: advantage.
- Uses this to their advantage: counsellors + - Studies into touch show how attitudes in the real
postural echo = closer bond with clients Practical Implications:
world might be manipulated by people who want
- Salespersons + open posture = easier to make - A famous restaurant chain trains their waiters to
to win a favour.
a sale. However, client manipulated. squat near the customer when taking orders,
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2.4 How important is personal space? Personal Space- the distance we keep between ourselves and others in our everyday
Sex Differences- differences due to being either male or female, this could affect
personal space between individuals.
Individual Differences- factors that make one person different to another person such
as personality or age.
Sex Differences Individual Differences
Argyle and Dean (1965) Willis (1966)
Aim: To see if sex differences affect personal space. Aim: to see if age has an effect on personal space
Method: One at a time, participants were asked to have Method: Willis observed almost 800 individuals in a social setting
conversations with another person (confederate). Sometimes Results: Those he observed tended to stand closer to people their
the confederate was the same sex as the participant or vice own age and further away either with people far younger or older
versa. The confederate sat at different distances from the than themselves.
participant and continually looked into the participants eyes. Conclusion: Age difference affects how close people will stand next
Results: the participants tended to break eye contact with the to each other.
confederate of the opposite sex at a greater distance apart than
with the confederate of the same sex. The researchers thought Practical Implications:
that this was the point at which personal space was invaded. - People might think that if someone who is younger or older than
Conclusion: We prefer to have a greater amount of personal themselves stand further away, they are being unfriendly. However,
space with members of the opposite sex during everyday research shows that this is normal human behavior.
conversation. - If we attempt to stand closer to someone older or younger than
ourselves, it might cause them to feel uncomfortable.
- If we are not sensitive to personality differences between ourselves
and the people we talk to, we might not realise that we are causing
- When a male is in conversation with a female, he might not be them discomfort I we stand too close to them.
aware that he is standing too close for her comfort. An
indication of this could be the female using closed posture.…read more
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2.4 How important is personal space?
Cultural Norms Status
Summer (1969) Zahn (1991)
Aim: to see if there are cultural differences in the use of Aim: To see if status has an effect on personal space.
personal space. Method: Zahn observed people of equal status approaching each
Method: Summer observed groups of white English people other for conversation and he observed people of unequal status
and Arab people in conversation. approach each other for conversation.
Results: The comfortable conversation distance for the Results: Zahn found that people of lower status did not approach
white English people was between 1-1.5 m, whereas for people of higher status with the same degree of closeness as those
the Arabs it was much less than that. with equal status.
Conclusion: The use of personal space varies with differences in
Conclusion: The use of personal space in normal
status when approaching other people.
conversation varies between different cultures.
Practical Implications: - This study might imply that it feels more threatening to
-This study could help us understand why Arabs find Europeans approach people of higher status and we show our anxiety
and Americans as unfriendly: they tend to stand back in by keeping our distance.
conversation. - It also implies that we feel more comfortable approaching
- It can also help to understand why British girls find people of equal status.
Mediterranean men more romantic: they tend to stand closer
than most British males.
- Although the above factors are useful in giving a general view of how personal space is used, they can also be misleading. This is
because these factors don't operate in isolation from other aspects of non verbal communication. For example: we would use less
personal space with someone of higher authority, if they were angry.
- When we are with other people we probably use a number of different distances based on what's happening and how much
physical space there is available.
- Other factors, such as how much we like the other person or whether we have an outgoing or reserved personality come into play.…read more