Study Guide for the Midterm Exam
1. Introduction to nonverbal communication
Communication vs. Behavior
: 3 aspects to distinguish nonverbal communication vs. nonverbal
- whether you are surrounded by people or you are alone, different situations elicit
unique response, when observing another another’s nonverbal cues, it is very important to
keep in mind the context of the behaviors. Ex: biting your nails alone vs. during an exam
Potential for a Response
- whenever the potential for a response exists, behaviors are viewed
as a form of nonverbal communication. Little boy bought ice cream, ice cream fell, he cried.
His crying provided feedback to himself and to others about his emotional state. These
nonverbal behaviors also had the potential of causing others to response. His mom bought
him more ice cream, but in a cup this time.
Motivation of Behavior
- intent can be problematic- we don’t know exactly what the person is
trying to achieve. Messages can be sent intentionally or unintentionally.
- “liking/disliking,” “these/that,” not only physical, when we don’t like
someone, we distance ourselves from that person, both “reflecting” and “constructing
- reaction to your environment, react to that arousal in either a positive
or negative manner, ex: “funeral home” vs. “concert”
- dominance- submission dimension of communication, ex: courtroom- judge is
powerful, looking down on you, both “reflecting” and “constructing” power dynamics
How nonverbal communication relates
to verbal communication:
- “nod” and say yes at the same time. If you hug a child while saying you are
proud of her grade, the hug complements the verbal message.
- use nonverbal gestures instead of verbal message, “nod” instead of saying yes->
more effective, also used for emphasis. A noisy school cafeteria might prompt you to wave a
friend rather than screaming his name.
- add emphasis to what you’re doing, adding emotional intensity to your actions,
emphasize a particular point in a verbal message. Ex: a well skilled public speaker might pause
before or after an important point that the speaker is about to make
- nonverbal messages contradict our verbal messages, unhappy- you don’t like the