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Nonverbal Communication

Nonverbal communication consists of nonverbal behaviors that "acquire meaning as part of a communication process" (Druckman, Rozelle and Baxter 23). These behaviors, which are characterized as channels of communication, include nonverbal vocalizations (paralanguage), facial expression, body movements (including gesture, posture and others), proximity and placement, and miscellaneous aspects of behavior such as clothing, decoration of the body and interactive rituals such as greeting by shaking hands. Nonverbal communication involves two basic processes: the processing of information and the management of impressions. The first process is interpretive in nature as messages are decoded in order to draw inferences from nonverbal behaviors about another person's intentions. The management of impressions is concerned with impact as it is the process of encoding messages in order to exert influence on another person's "intentions, evaluations or perceptions" (Druckman et al. 31).

The dynamic of such communication is extremely complex since the processes are not, of course, confined to a single direction. As the receiver decodes the message the management of his response is already being formulated. Interactions are reciprocal and nonverbal feedback is an essential regulator of communication. nonverbal behavior is so important and its meanings can be interpreted quickly enough so that it can truly be described as an inevitable aspect of interaction. Sigmund Freud said that no one can keep a secret; "If his lips are silent, he chatters with his finger tips, betrayal oozes out of him at every pore" (quoted in Harper, Wiens and Matarazzo 133).

Even if it were possible to remain utterly still and void of affect the absence of communication would be interpreted as communicative. An example would be the old scene acted out in farcical comedies where the actor takes part in a 'conversation' with a corpse. Such interactions can tak...

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Nonverbal Communication. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 11:13, April 21, 2019, from