Dominance in nonverbal communication is probably one of the very first important ideas that we as the human race learned to express. When you think about cave men and the only way they had to let someone else know that they were boss or that they weren’t to be messed was through expressing dominance through non-verbal communication.
This idea is still very prominent in today’s society. Instead of fighting over the latest mastodon kill. We are trying to display our dominances in the business meeting so we can get that promotion so we can buy a boat. In at a more basic level in modern times is in gangs where dominance means everything.
Through my studying of these five journal articles I found that there are some very subtle signs to show your dominance instead of standing on a table and beating your chest or physically attacking someone. Your height, posture, location in the group, how much you gesture, your elevation compared to the other person or group, and whether or not you are considered good looking all plays a role into how people read your non-verbal cues at being dominate.
In the movies they have a lot of trick in order to express the dominant charters versus the submissive ones. A lot of that has to do with camera angles and where the characters are placed in the shot. For example a lower camera expressed dominance and if the character was higher up in the shot too. And the opposite is used to express some one is less dominate. These of course are artificial ways to express dominance to the audience. And sometimes we have to express artificially our dominance to get some things in life and these articles are very good at telling you subtle cues to help you appear more dominate.
Mazur, Allan & Mueller, Ulrich (1996). Facial Dominance. A. Somit and S. Peterson (Eds.), Research in Biopolitics, Vol 4 (London: JAI Press) pp 99-111
A great quote that sums up what the article is all about is early on in the journal. “Our focus here is on facial dominance, the degree to which a person is judged from his or her facial appearance to be dominant, assertive and a leader, as opposed to someone who is subordinate, submissive, a follower. The face is one among several status signs which each individual displays, suggesting this his status is, or ought to be, high or low.” It goes on the relate that a more dominate face is described as are more likely to be handsome, muscular, with striking features like a chiseled chin, heavy brow ridges and deep set eyes. So like pretty much any handsome Hollywood actor or successful politician. It then goes on to describe what some one who looks more submissive have face that are round or narrow and have ears that stick out. This of course is just people perceptions of what they think a more dominate and submissive person looks like. It has nothing to do with if they are actually dominate or submissive. It goes on to talk about a study that they took pictures from west point yearbooks and had them rated on who they think is more dominate and it was “sufficiently valid to predict promotions 20+ years later.” So it is interesting how your face can non-verbally indicate your dominance. So if you are beautiful person use that to your advantage and get that promotion.
Wells, Carrisa J. (2009). The Perception of Dominance in Nonverbal Behaviors. Department of Psychology, Missouri Western State University.
This is a very interesting study it takes photographs of people in different positions. Such as standing versus sitting, strong gesturing with hands versus subdued gestures, slouching versus straight posture and looking at the camera versus looking away and had people rate them on. In this interesting survey there was very predictable results and some results that surprised me. While the results from the study suggest that standing is seen as more dominant than sitting, it was not the strongest correlation here- it found it in the gesturing/no gesturing condition....
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