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Non-verbal Communication in Human Interaction - Essay Example

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Interpersonal communication researchers have determined that the attitudinal meaning of every message comes from confounding 93 percent non-verbal cues and merely 7 percent words. In this research, two dyadic interactions were observed and given interpretations based on Albert Mehrabian's three dimensions: immediacy, status or potency, and responsiveness…
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Non-verbal Communication in Human Interaction
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Non-verbal Communication in Human Interaction

The first example of dyadic interaction involves an American man and an American woman having late lunch in a posh Italian restaurant. It was around 1:30 in a hot and sunny afternoon. The woman, who is in her late twenties, was in semi-business attire with the blazer taken off, her hair freely hanging past her shoulders, and with an obviously well-cared for skin probably by a dermatologist. She appeared to be a regular working-class woman, with perhaps extra funds for regular visits to a dermatologist. She was not wearing any jewelry aside from the dress watch on her left wrist. The man, also in a business suit, was in his late sixties. His hair was exquisitely slicked back and his jewelry spoke of wealth. He was driving a latest edition, bottle-green Jaguar before he came inside the restaurant. The woman arrived a few minutes before him in a cab. The man, unlike the woman, kept the blazer of his suit on. It seems that he seldom walks out in the streets and probably just stays in his well air-conditioned office since the hot weather did not appear to affect him. They immediately ordered food.
While the two were talking, they smile constantly at each other, and their gazes are intent on one another. While talking, they both lean toward each other every now and then. The man appeared relaxed, hands openly gesturing every once in a while talking. He constantly touched and held the woman's hand all throughout the interaction. However, he appeared to swallow more than usual and his Adam's apple had a conspicuous up-and-down motion. The woman, on the other hand, though smiling constantly, apparently appeared tense, and blinked more than normal and her eyes darted around her every now and then. The posture is rigid and she crosses and uncrosses her legs frequently. What can be deduced here is that the two persons obviously like each other, and the conversation they are having is pleasant. The signs of constant smiling, mutual eye contact, touching, and leaning toward each other denote "like". However, there are obvious signs of stress and anxiety like the frequent movement of the man's Adam's apple and the woman's rigid posture and eye movements (Mehrabian, 1971).
Status or Potency
The woman's rigid posture and the constant lowering of her head denote a submissive attitude. Her slight hand movements whenever she talked also signify the same. On the other hand, the man's open arm gestures, upward head movements, and erect posture signify dominance (Mehrabian & Hines, 1978). It can also be observed that the man controlled a bigger part of the conversation since it was observed that he did most of the talking while the woman listened, and gave animated reactions to whatever the man said. The intent gaze the man gave the woman every now and then was given a more submissive reaction by the woman --- a slight smile with a lowering of the head (Mehrabian, 1971).
Non-verbal Communication 4
The quick hand gestures and head movements of both the man ... Read More
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