Nonverbal Communication and the Effect

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Asian Social Science

November, 2009

Nonverbal Communication and the Effect on Interpersonal Communication Haiyan Wang School of Foreign Languages, Qingdao University of Science and Technology Qingdao 266061, China E-mail: Abstract It cannot be denied that the importance of interpersonal communication to the development of our society. Without interpersonal communication, people are unable to understand each other, cooperate with each other and promote the development of human society unceasingly. Therefore, the study of interpersonal communication has great significance. Interpersonal communication is fulfilled through two forms: one is verbal behaviors, the other one is nonverbal behaviors. Verbal communication is the most common and significant form of communication. But it does not mean that we can ignore the importance of nonverbal communication .In interpersonal communication, many messages and meanings are expressed through touch, eye contact and gaze, slight diversity of tone, gesture and facial expressions with or without the help of verbal behaviors .We often try to understand one’s heart thoroughly and make important judgment and decision to others according to nonverbal behaviors. So, the study of nonverbal communication and the effect on interpersonal communication has great practical significance. Keywords: Nonverbal communication, Interpersonal communication, Nonverbal behavior 1. Introduction The appearance and development of human society cannot be achieved without the communication of messages .As everyone knows, language is the main difference between animal and human beings. Without language, the appearance of human society is impossible. People communicate with each other through language, gestures, facial expressions and so on. Therefore people can understand each other better, improve interpersonal communication and finally promote the development of society. From this angle, we can see the importance of studying interpersonal communication. Interpersonal communication has two forms: one is verbal communication, the other one is nonverbal communication. Verbal communication refers to the communication form which people communicate with each other by language or written language — characters. The way people transmit messages by the other methods (except language and characters) were called nonverbal communication. It cannot be denied that verbal communication is important, but at the same time the importance of nonverbal communication cannot be ignored. Famous scholar Larry A. Samovar once said: “most experts think that in face –to –face interpersonal communication, only about 35% of the “social meanings” is expressed by verbal behaviors, the rest is expressed by nonverbal communication.” Therefore, studying nonverbal communication and the effect on interpersonal communication is very helpful to improve interpersonal communication. 2. What is Nonverbal Communication? 2.1 The Definition of Nonverbal Communication For nonverbal communication, western scholars have provided us several definitions. According to Larry A. Samovar, “nonverbal communication involves all those nonverbal stimuli in a communication setting that are generated by both the source and his or her use of the environment and that have potential message value for the source or receiver.” The definition is consistent with current thinking in the field and reflects the cultural orientation, it can not only mark the boundaries of nonverbal communication, but also reflects how the process actually works.


Vol. 5, No. 11 2.2 The Classifications of Nonverbal Communication

Asian Social Science

The earliest classification of nonverbal communication was issued by Ruesch and Kees according to the fundamental components of nonverbal communication. The classification is as follows: Sign language. Including the gestures, which indicate meanings of words, numeral and punctuation marks. It not only includes...
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