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Nonverbal Codes & Cultural Space

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Jessica Singleton

on 15 October 2014

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Transcript of Nonverbal Codes & Cultural Space

Nonverbal Codes & Cultural Space
Chapter 7: Nonverbal Codes and Cultural Space
Gabe Ramirez
Jessica Singleton
Jon Fisher
Lizzie Armon
and Mariana Rabie

Intro To Nonverbal Communication
Class Engagement:

Two Types of Nonverbal Communication
Comparing Verbal with the Nonverbal
1. A form of nonverbal communication that includes facial expression, personal space, gestures, eye contact, paralanguage use of time and conversational silence

2. Cultural Spaces: the social and cultural contexts in which our identity forms--where we grow up and live

Idiosyncratic vs. cultural behaviors
Both are symbolic, communicate meaning and are patterned
Nonverbal communication entails more than gestures--even our appearance can communicate loudly
Dress codes
Nonverbal behavior operates at a subconscious level; only when someone comments on them are they brought them to the conscious
Likely to blame verbal over nonverbal communication
Coordinating Verbal With the Nonverbal
We often reinforce our verbal messages with a nonverbal gesture

When two are incongruent of one another usually the nonverbal message, which happens mostly at a nonconscious level, is the real message
We have expectations about how others should behave non-verbally in particular situations

• if an act is unexpected and interpreted negatively, we tend to regard the person and the relationship negatively
• if the act is unexpected and interpreted positively we will probably regard the relationship rather favorably; more so even than if it was expected

Cultural Space
Defined as: The particular configuration of the communication that constructs meanings of various places
The social and cultural contexts in which our identity forms- where we grow up and where we live (not necessarily the physical homes and neighborhoods, but the cultural meanings of those places)
Cultural Identity and Cultural Space
Cultural identity is created in cultural spaces, such as:
Cultural Identity and the Home
Cultural spaces influence how we think about ourselves and others
We often model our lives on the patterns from our childhood home

Cultural Identity and Neighborhoods
Became a prominent cultural space in U.S. cities in the later 19th and early 20th centuries in the form of ethnic or racial neighborhoods
Neighborhoods can have different communications and histories leading to a different cultural identity within the cultural space

Cultural Identity and
Defined as: Loyalty to a particular region that holds significant cultural meaning for that person
E.g. In the United States people may identify themselves as New Englanders, Southerners, Midwesterners, etc.

Changing Cultural Space
Adapting to a different cultural space and immersing yourself in it
E.g. “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”
People may have trouble adapting to new cultural spaces when they move

The Universality of Cultural Behavior
When generalizing and grouping individuals, we are at risk of some major misunderstandings
However, it is necessary to do this to reduce complexities and understand universalities
Ex. Collectivist Japan
Recent Research Findings
There are four areas of focus when researching the universality of nonverbal communication
1st Area of Research
The relationship of human behavior to that of primates (particularly chimpanzees)
Nonverbal behavior for nonhuman primates are shown to be less complex than those of humans
Nonverbal Behaviors in Chimpanzees
Nonverbal Behaviors In Chimpanzees
Chimpanzees and human share many nonverbal behaviors such as eyebrow flash (raising of the eyebrow that communication recognition)
The "gimme"
They also communicate status through nonverbal communication
Pant-grunt & bobbing motion
2nd Area of Research
Nonverbal communication of sensory-deprived children who are blind or deal

Recent studies have shown that event though the children who were blind could not see and mimic nonverbal behavior, they still projected the same facial expressions.
Nonverbal Codes
3rd Area of Research

Stereotypes, Prejudice, and Discrimination
Physical Appearance
Universality in Facial Expressions
6 basic emotions: happiness, sadness, disgust, fear, anger, and surprise are expressed by different facial expressions in most societies
Eyebrow flash
Nose wrinkle (indicating slight social distancing)
Disgust Face (a strong sign of repulsion)
4th Area of Research
Universal Function of Nonverbal Social Behaviors
Fulfills universal human social need for promoting social affiliation/bonding
Ex. Laughing as a positive reaction and reinforcement
Social Mimicry
Variations within Nonverbal Communication
Evoking Stimuli
What prompts someone to project an expression varies from culture to culture
Ex. Smiling
Variations in Rules for Nonverbal Communication
The Kiss Greeting

The Kiss Greeting
Video Clip
What is nonverbal communication
and why is it important?
1. Introduction to other forms of nonverbal communication and learned about Expectancy Violations Theory.
2. Identify cultural universals in nonverbal communication and explain the limitations of some cross-cultural findings.
3. Explain cross-cultural differences in nonverbal codes and show how power is communicated through stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination.
4. Give explanation of what cultural space is and how it affects our cultural identity
Semiotics: The analysis of the nature of and relationship between signs

Signs: The combination of a signifier and a signified

Semiosis: The process of producing meaning through signs
Postmodern Cultural Space
Places defined by cultural practices-languages spoken, identities enacted, rituals performed- and that often change as new people move in and out of the space.
Postmodern Cultural Space
Physical Space
same groups different meanings
Blackfeet Tribe
Cultural Space: The Internet
Chat rooms
Message boards
Instant messengers
Social Media
Internet and Communication
Teske, 2002
studied effects of disembodied communication
makes us more individualistic
isolates us
Carter, 2004
different space for interacting
relationships are created, maintained and dissolved in the same way
Effects of the Internet
18/19th century
connection with other cultures?
"The dynamic nature of postmodern cultural spaces underscores its response to changing cultural needs"(M&N)
Exist because there is a need for it.
A nonverbal that includes physical characteristics like height, weight, body shape, personal grooming, and personal artifacts
Physical attractiveness varies between cultures
Clothing and artifacts can communicate our affiliation with social groups
Reflect religious affiliation
A movement or position of the hand, arm, body, head, or face that is expressive of an idea, opinion, or emotion

No universal gestures

Gestural humility

Facial Expressions
Facial gestures that convey emotions and attitudes

Six basic universal human emotions: happiness, sadness, disgust, surprise, anger, and fear

Smiling among North Americans vs. showing emotions in France, Germany, and eastern Europe
The study of how people use various types of space in their everyday lives

Contact cultures - Cultural groups in which people tend to stand close together and touch frequently when they interact

Noncontact cultures - Cultural groups in which people tend to maintain more space and touch less often
A nonverbal code that communicates meanings about respect and status and often regulates turn-taking during interactions

Lack of eye contact in U.S. = insecurity, weakness, deceit

American speakers tend to look at their listeners every 10 to 15 seconds while listeners maintain eye contact with the speakers
Eye Contact
The study of vocal behaviors including voice qualities and vocalizations

Voice qualities – Tone of voice including speed, pitch, rhythm, vocal range, and articulation

Vocalizations – The sounds we utter that do not have the structure of language

Confusing for intercultural communication
The concept of time and the rules that govern its use

Monochronic - An orientation to time that assumes it is linear and is a commodity that can be lost or gained

Polychronic - An orientation to time that sees it as circular and more holistic, meaning that multiple events can happen at once

In the United States, silence has a negative connotation especially in initial interactions and often leads to feelings of awkwardness and uneasiness

Valued in cultures like Finland and China as it reflects attentiveness, respect, and intelligence
Created within existing places
don't follow any particular guide.
No marking off of territory
No sense of permanence or official recognition.
Exists only while it is used.
Postmodern Cultural Spaces
Allow for people to negotiate their identities in new places.
What Nonverbal Behavior Communicates

Communication conveys relational messages that is information on how the talker wants to be understood and viewed by the listener
Nonverbal behavior also communicates status and power
ex: boss can touch superior but not the other way around
Nonverbal behavior also communicates deception
avoiding eye contact or touching or rubbing the face are often signs of lying
More research has shown though that deception is more linked with inconsistency of nonverbal behaviors
Because most nonverbal communication about affect, status and deception happen at an unconscious level it plays an especially important role in intercultural communication

Expectancy Violations Theory
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