Non-verbal communication research studies

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  • Created on: 20-04-15 14:31

Argyle, Alkema and Gilmour

Aim: To see if tone of voice has any effect when interpreting a verbal message.

Method: Different groups of participants listened to either friendly or hostile messages spoken in either friendly or hostile tones of voice. Therefore, some participants heard a hostile message spoken in a friendly tone of voice and others heard a friendly message spoken in a hostile tone of voice.

Results: When participants were asked to interpret the messages, it was found that tone of voice had about five times the effect of the verbal message itself.

Conclusion: Tone of voice is extremely important in how people interpret verbal messages.

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Davitz and Davitz (1961)

Aim: To see the effect of paralinguistics on the assessment of emotion.

Method: Participants were asked to listen to tape recordings and to assess the speakers' emotions from the paralinguistic cues: tone of voice, emphasis and intonation.

Results: There was a very high level of accuracy in recognizing these emotions: affection, amusement, disgest and fear.

Conclusion: Paralinguistics has great importance when judging emotion.

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Kendon (1967)

Aim: To see how eye movements affect the flow of conversation.

Method: Pairs of participants were asked to get acquainted. Their conversations were secretly watched by observers through a one-way mirror system.

Results: As one person was about to speak, they looked away from the other person, briefly avoiding eye contact. Then they would give the other person's face a prolonged look when they were about to finish what they were saying. When the speaker gave the prolonged look, it seemed to indicate to the other person that they could begin to speak. If the prolonged look didn't happen, there was a pause in the conversation.

Conclusion: Eye movements signal turn taking in conversation.

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Argyle (1968)

Aim: To see how interrupting eye contact affects conversation.

Method: Pairs of participants were observed having conversations. In half the conversations, one of the participants wore dark glasses so that the other could not receive eye contact.

Results: When one of the participants wore dark glasses, there were more pauses and interruptions than when dark glasses were not worn.

Conclusion: Eye contact is important in ensuring the natual flow of conversation.

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Sackheim (1978)

Aim: To look at the relationship between facial expressions and the hemispheres of the brain.

Method: Pictures of people's faces showing different emotions were cut down the middle. New pictures were created with each half face and its mirror image. Then each pair of new faces were shown to the participants. They were asked which picture they liked better.

Results: The majority of participants said they preferred the picture of the left half face and its reflection. When asked why, they said the person in the picture looked 'warmer'.

Conclusion: The left side of the face seems to express emotion more than the right side.

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McGinely (1975)

Aim: To see the effect of postural echo when having a conversation.

Method: A confederate of the experimenter approached individuals in a social setting and had conversations with them. In half of the meetings, the confederate echoed the posture of the person they were talking to. In the rest of the meetings, the confederate did not echo the posture of the other person. Afterwards, the experimenter approached individuals and asked them what they thought of the confederate.

Results: When postural echo was used, the people questioned liked the confederate and thought they got on well together. When postural echo was not used, the confederate was not liked as much and the conversation felt awkward.

Conclusion: Postural echo gives an unconscious message of friendliness.

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McGinely, Lefevre and McGinely (1975)

Aim: To see the effect of open and closed posture when having a conversation.

Method: A confederate of the experimenter approached individuals in a social setting and had conversations with them. In half of the conversations the confederate adopted an open posture. In the other half, the confederate adopted a closed posture. Afterwards, the experimented approached the individuals and asked them what they thought of the confederate.

Results: When showing an open posture, the confederate was seen as friendly and attractive. When showing a closed posture, the confederate was seen as unfriendly and less attractive.

Conclusion: The posture that someone adopts can make a difference to how much they are liked.

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