Perception of Gestures in Different Cultures

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PERCEPTION OF GESTURES IN DIFFERENT CULTURES

RESEARCH REPORT

CLASS: Research techniques
YEAR: 2011/2012
STUDENT: Ida Sotlar Hvalec, 506428

RESEARCH REPORT

CLASS: Research techniques
YEAR: 2011/2012
STUDENT: Ida Sotlar Hvalec, 506428

TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. INTRODUCTION……………………………………………………………………….………..2 2. HUMAN COMMUNICATION…………………………………………………….…………2 3. DEFINITION OF GESTURES…………………………………………………………………..4 4.1 MEANINGS OF THE SAME GESTURE AMONG DIFFERENT CULTURES……..5 4.2 THUMB UP……………………………………………………..5 4.3 STOP SIGN………………………………………………………5 4.4 THE O.K. SIGN…………………………………………………6 4.5 THE FIG…………………………………………………………..6 4.6 THE V SIGN……………………………………………………..6 4.7 THE MIDDLE FINGER……………………………………….7 4.8 THE WANKER………………………………………………….7 4. CONCLUSION……………………………………………………………………………………….8 5. BIBLIOGRAPHY…………………………………………………………………………………….9 6. APPENDIX……………………………………………………………………………………………10

INTRODUCTION
In everyday life we come in touch with many people. And even if we do not establish a conversation we still receive or only decipher some nonverbal signals from them. And during a direct personal contact with others more nonverbal symbols are exchanged. And most of the time we are not even aware of this process. We use gestures to indicate or support our thoughts. And sometimes nonverbal language that we are utilizing reveal more about us than we would thought. When we come across a person with a different cultural background it is the nonverbal part of communication that we notice first. What the person is wearing, how does he walks, his face expression, etc. This signs form a first impression about the other human being. But when you actually come in touch with this person the nonverbal and verbal signs are exchanged during a conversation. And if you do not want to offend the interlocutor you should be aware and familiar with his culture in order to avoid unintentionally doing so. And often the hand gestures are the ones that cause miscommunication. Because a thumb up sign can indicate approval in your culture but can have a completely different meaning in the culture of your correspondent. The first thing I wanted to research was how the meanings of the same gesture differ among cultures. And the question appeared: ‘’is there any gesture that holds the universal meaning?’’ And this report is the presentation of my findings about the topic. But before that, some basic explanations about human communication and gestures are needed. HUMAN COMMUNICATION

Human is a social being and interaction with other beings has a crucial meaning in one’s life. People need to communicate in daily life in order to gain information or physical objects that they need for their existence. Human communication exists since the beginning of mankind and has developed from simple sign language and gestures into a complex, integrated unit of verbal and nonverbal signals, which we use on daily basis. (Kendon, 1980) Human interaction consists of two parts: verbal and nonverbal. Both are equally complex and important. However verbal communication, the main factor of it is language-written and spoken, is often considered to be learned and can be perfected during life process. Babies start the process of language learning with a few simple words and later they combine these words into simple sentences. And with education they learn the principles of grammar, gain vocabulary, etc. So every individual without speech or hearing disabilities is able to learn and improve his verbal skills, to that matter that he can fully control the thoughts he is expressing while talking or writing.(McNeill, 2005) The nonverbal communication is usually understood as a process of sending and receiving information through wordless signals. It is also a learned skill but it is more complex to perfect it and control it while interacting with other people. Nonverbal messages can be communicated through...
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