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IPC Chapter 6 Notes

by: RachelB

IPC Chapter 6 Notes COMM 1076

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IPC Chapter 6 notes- Nonverbal Communication (NVC)
Intro to Interpersonal communication (COMM-1076-002)
Dr. Shaorong Huang
Class Notes
interpersonal communication, sociology
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This 7 page Class Notes was uploaded by RachelB on Thursday February 25, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to COMM 1076 at University of Cincinnati taught by Dr. Shaorong Huang in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 34 views. For similar materials see Intro to Interpersonal communication (COMM-1076-002) in Psychlogy at University of Cincinnati.


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Date Created: 02/25/16
IPC Buckel Professor Huang Chapter 6- Nonverbal Communication Nonverbal Communication (NVC) Defined  “communication without words” (non-“not/no” verbal-“words/speaking”)  There is a difference between verbal and vocal communication however o Verbal- communication with words o Vocal- communication by mouth/intonations (tone of voice)  Ex) saying “I love you” can have different meanings depending on how it is spoken  Therefore: Nonverbal Communication- messages expressed by nonlinguistic means Characteristics of NVC All Behavior has Communicative Value  It is argued that it’s impossible not to communicate- nonverbal communication holds many messages  Facial expressions and body language can give off signals and communication- whether it’s intentional or unintentional  Although nonverbal behavior reveals information, review of research show we aren’t always conscious of what we and others communicate non-verbally NVC is Primarily Relational  Some nonverbal messages have a practical function o Ex) police officer directing traffic, or a team of street surveyors using hand motions to coordinate their work  NVC allows us to demonstrate the kind of relationships we have/want to have with others o Depending on the person, you can wave, shake hands, nod, smile, pat them on the back, give a hug, or avoid all contact o All behaviors send a message about the nature of your relationship with the other person  NVC convey emotions that we may be unwilling or unable to express or ones we may not even be aware of. It’s better at conveying feelings than ideas NVC is Ambiguous  Some statements such as “I’m almost done” convey an ambiguous, or vague, time frame. You could be done in seconds or hours. The same goes for NVC- simply being silent can convey anger, preoccupation, boredom, nervousness, or thoughtfulness  “caution is wise when you are responding to nonverbal cues” such as sighs, smiles, slammed doors, or yawns o To respond, avoid jumping to conclusions and use a more thought-out response: “When you yawned, I thought I was boring you. But maybe you’re just tired. What’s going on?”  “The ability to consider more than one possible interpretation for nonverbal behavior illustrates the kind of cognitive complexity needed for communication competence” NVC Occurs in Mediated Messages  The most obvious way to represent nonverbal expressions in type is with emoticons  Emoticons can clarify the meaning that isn’t evident from words alone: o You are driving me crazy o You are driving me crazy o You are driving me crazy  Similar to their in-person counterparts, emoticons are ambiguous and can communicate a variety of nonverbal messages o A smiley face can mean “I’m happy” or “I’m just kidding” or even “I’m nervous” NVC is Influenced by Culture and Gender  No matter what language you are speaking, there are distinct nonverbal cues that belong to that language  Emblems- deliberate nonverbal behaviors with precise meanings, known to virtually all members of a cultural group o Ex) nodding your head up and down is an excepted way of saying “yes” in most cultures, and shaking your head from side to side generally means “no”  Culture also affects how nonverbal cues are monitored o In Japan, people tend to look to the eyes for emotional cues o Americans and Europeans focus on the mouth for emotional cues  Some nonverbals are universal, such as smiles, laughing, and sour expressions o Darwin theorized that evolution was the cause of expressions like these ,functioning as survival mechanisms that enabled early humans to convey emotions before the development of language  Even children born deaf pick up on nonverbal cues and display a broad range of expressions such as smiling, laughing, and crying in ways virtually identical to seeing and hearing infants  Although some nonverbals are universal, some cultures discourage demonstrations of feelings such as happiness or anger. In other cultures, the same feelings are perfectly appropriate Functions of NVC Creating and Maintaining Relationships  The importance on NVC when forming relationships is high because first impressions affect how a relationship develops  NVC is just as important in established relationships because it gives an update to the other person as to how you feel about them Regulating Interaction  Regulators- nonverbal cues that help control verbal interaction o 1. Changes in vocal intonation- a rising or falling in pitch at the end of a sentence o 2. A drawl on the last syllable or the stressed syllable in a clause o 3. A drop in vocal pitch or loudness when speaking a common expression (“you know”) o Eye contact is another way of regulating verbal communication  In conversations, the person listening typically looks more at the speaker than the reverse. When the speaker seeks a response, he or she signals by looking at the listener, creating a brief period of mutual gaze called a gaze window which is ended when the listener responds to whatever the speaker conveyed Influencing Others  Nonverbal behavior comes in many forms. It can capture attention, show or increase liking, generate power, and boost credibility  Nonverbal behaviors can be intentional or unintentional, but either way we use it to get others to be more willing to satisfy our wants and needs o Ex) “people are more willing to do our bidding when we look them in the eye, wear high- status clothing, use open body postures, and behave in a friendly, upbeat way” Concealing/Deceiving  We value and honor truth, but not all messages we exchange are completely truthful, and sometimes we just completely lie  Not all deception is self-serving or malicious (white lies are meant to save hurt feelings of others)  Nonverbal cues can be used to detect deception in communication, and three findings have been supported in this case o 1. “we are accurate in detecting deception only slightly more than half the time o 2. “we overestimate our abilities to detect others’ lies- in other words, we’re not as good at catching deception as we think we are o 3. “we have a strong tendency to judge others’ messages as truthful (we want to believe people wouldn’t lie to us)  It has been shown that liars either avert their eyes more and fidget, or maintain their gaze and fidget less (in attempt to look less deceitful)  More nonverbal clues to dishonesty: speech errors, stammers, stutters, hesitations, false starts, vocal pitch risen, pupil dilation (get bigger) and longer pauses before offering answers  Microexpressions- small expressions such as brief furrows of the brow, pursing of the lips, or crinkling around the eyes that liars may not be aware they are making o It is hard for experts to see these small details and often use slow-motion recordings as well as extensive observational knowledge to detect them Managing Impressions  Impression management is a major goal of communicating and in many cases, nonverbal cues can be more important than verbal messages o Positive impressions are often associated with consistency between our verbal and nonverbal behavior  Manner- the way we act/how we deliberately stand and move, the way we control facial expressions, and the adjustments we make in our voice  Appearance- the way we dress, the artifacts we wear, hair, makeup, scents, and so on  Setting- the physical items we surround ourselves with- personal belongings, vehicles, and even the place we live  An experiment done with males asking for women’s’ phone numbers was carried out as the males carried either a guitar case, a sports bag, or nothing at all (the guitar case was most popular)  Another experiment, with women either having a tattoo or not, was done, and those with tattoos were more likely to be approached, proving small details play major roles in nonverbal impression management Types of NVC Body movement Face and Eyes  There are at least 8 distinguishable positions of the eyebrows and forehead, 8 more of the eyes and lids, and 10 for the lower face. If you do the math, that’s a lot of combinations of expressions that can be made  The face may well be the primary source of communicative information next to human speech o We always use phrases such as “facing our fears”, “face time”, and “saving face”  Oculesics- the study of how the eyes can communicate o Gazes and glances are usually signals of the looker’s interest, or can be indications of a change in speaker (“I’m finished talking. Now it’s our turn” kind of looks  Eye contact can indicate interest, empathy, and attraction. Some cultures, however, discourage eye contact as averting the eyes is a sign of respect and excessive eye contact is unpleasant and even aggressive Posture  The English language indicates the deep links between posture and communication. It is full of expressions that tie emotional states with body postures: o “I won’t take this lying down!” “Stand on your own two feet” “Take a load off your back” “don’t be so uptight!”  Posture messages are usually subtle- small changes show shadows of how people feel  Some postures are quite dramatic, on the other hand o Hands on hips, feet propped on a desk, hawk-like stances (show of power) Gestures  Even people who have been blind from birth use gestures  Many are intentional o Ex) cheery waves or thumbs up  Sometimes they are unconscious o Ex) shrugging to express “I don’t know”  Fidgeting- movements in which one part of the body grooms, massages, rubs, holds, pinches, picks, or otherwise manipulates another part  Social scientists call these behaviors Manipulators  It has been observed that the more manipulators used, the more uncomfortable someone might be. On the other hand, some manipulators indicate someone in a relaxed state. They let their guard down: fiddle with an earlobe, twirl a strand of hair, or clean their fingernails  Gestures, such as bowing, can represent positions of control and power (the one who does the bowing is in a lower status than the person being bowed to)  The right kinds of gestures can increase persuasiveness o Ex) increasing hand and arm movements, leaning forward, fidgeting less, and keeping limbs open all make a speaker more effective at influencing others (so does mirroring another’s movements to express similarity and affiliation) Touch  Haptics- the study of touch in human communication  Touch increases bonds between humans (ex. Mothers holding their babies) and plays a large part in how we respond to others  Persuasiveness or willingness is encouraged and more accepted when touch is used o Ex) a waitress at a restaurant is more likely to get a bigger tip if they touch a shoulder or hand  In the US, it is deemed more appropriate for women to use touch than men, and women tend to be more comfortable doing it Voice  Paralanguage- nonlinguistic means of vocal expression o Ex) rate, pitch, volume, emphasis, and tone of voice  Many meanings can come from a single sentence by shifting the emphasis from one word to another (pg 191): o This is a fantastic interpersonal communication book  Not just any book, but this one in particular o This is a fantastic interpersonal communication book  Without any doubt, this book is fantastic o This is a fantastic interpersonal communication book  This book is superior, exciting o This is a fantastic interpersonal communication book  The book is good as far as IPC goes; it may not be so great as literature or as drama o This is a fantastic interpersonal communication book  It’s not a movie or music album; it’s a book  Pauses are other ways we communicate paralinguistically o Unintentional pause- times when people stop to collect their thoughts before deciding how best to continue their verbal message o Vocalized pause- reduce a person’s perceived credibility and should thus be avoided  Disfluencies- words such as “um”, “er”, “uh”, “like”, “ok” that are used as filler words often come into play during vocalized pauses  Paralanguage cues are strong and most listeners pay more attention to them than actual context o Children are drawn more to playmates who, regardless of race, have similar speech styles than they are to students of the same race who speak differently o Listeners pay more attention to paralanguage that to the content of the words when asked to determine a speaker’s attitudes and emotions  Sarcasm is often confusing to some listeners, and useful to others in conveying meaning  Children are more likely to pay attention to content of verbal communication than the tone it is said in- this shows a drect relationship between age and sensitivity to nonverbal cues Distance  Proxemics- the study of how communication is affected by the use, organization, and perception of space and distance  Personal Space- a bubble we carry around ourselves that we “own”, almost an extension of our bodies o Intimate Distance- about 18 inches- we share this with people who are emotionally close to us, and in private conversation o Personal Distance- “second special zone” about 18 inches-4ft: between 18 in and 2.5ft is still an intimate or flirtatious distance…2.5ft-4ft or “arms’ length” less personal contact o Social Distance- 4-12 feet- distance between communicators can have a powerful effect on how we regard and respond to others- medical patients are more satisfied with physicians who use close physical proximity as opposed to anxious people, who tend to keep social distance at farther reaches to reduce discomfort o Public Distance- 12-25+feet- teachers in the classroom, public speakers  Barrier behaviors- strategies designed to create a barrier between ourselves and other people Territoriality  Territory- the invisible bubble we carry around, the area that serves as an extension of our physical being o Ex) in an empty library, people are more likely to sit at opposite corners of tables and keep to themselves. Other people are less likely to try to sit near them in response and respect to their “territory” o Ex) in a crowded library, people are more accepting of closer proximity due to the lack of territory each person can occupy Time  Chronemics- the study of how humans use and structure time  Different cultures perceive time and punctuality in different ways o Ex) in the US, punctuality and second-by-second accuracy is valued and respected, whereas in Chile, time is a more casual concept and in some college classes, students would show up very late and stay after the scheduled ending of the class as if time didn’t matter. In the US, a student would be penalized for such behavior  Time is important to not only status and culture, but also relationships o The amount of time spent with a relational partner sends important messages about valuing that person Physical Attractiveness  Beauty affects interaction between people- men and women whom others view as attractive are rated as being more sensitive, kind, strong, sociable, and interesting than those who aren’t as attractive  More attractive people are more likely to acquire jobs as they are perceived to have more expertise and motivation  On the other hand, beauty can be seen as a threat and can affect someone’s candidacy for a job if they are seen as so  It is shown that the more you get to know someone, the better-looking they may become. Posture, gestures, facial expressions, and other behaviors can increase the attractiveness of an otherwise unremarkable person (pg 197) Clothing  Clothing can convey 10 different types of messages to others: o Economic level, education level, Trustworthiness, Social Position, Level of Sophistication, Economic Background, Social Background, Educational Background, Level of Success, and Moral Character  We judge peoples’ credibility by their clothing- an experiment was done where a couple was situated in the way of a walking path, once in dressier clothes, and once in casual clothes. People were more positive toward the dressier clothes, and more bitter towards having to move past the casual dress  Men may be judged more on dress when it comes to perceiving status. Men have been rated more on their attire, and women more on nonverbal behavior Physical Environment  A study done in Oregon examined sidewalks, presence of front porches, traffic-calming devices, bars on windows, and the presence of litter or graffiti. Levels of neighborliness among the residence increased as the number of positive physical environment characteristics increased. o This proves that physical settings (architecture, interior design, etc.) affect communication  Homes reflect on their occupants. The way rooms are furnished, and whether or not furniture matches, affect the ability for visitors to relax and self-disclose more to a listener  In offices and hospitals, well-decorated interiors that provide for comfortable personal space and relaxation have been found to increase satisfaction for the people who visit those places


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