When people hear the word “communication,” they immediately think of words. However, communication is more than just words; according to The American Heritage Stedman’s Medical Dictionary, communication is “the exchange of thoughts, messages, or information, as by speech, signals, writing, or behavior.” This means that communication can include the way that a person acts. This is called nonverbal communications. Nonverbal communication is the communication form when messages are expressed by nonlinguistic means (Adler 175). It’s not just simply attitudes or body reactions though; there are many types of nonverbal communication and ways of expressing it. Some examples of the types of nonverbal communication are facial expressions, touch, and voice, which are all affected by culture, which makes nonverbal communication so valuable.
There are multifarious types of nonverbal communications. One type is in regards to the face and the eyes. They may be the most noticeable features on a person, but they also may be the hardest to decipher in regards to nonverbal communication. According to Adler, researchers have found that there are at least 640 possible face expressions to make since there are a minimum of 8 eye brows and forehead positions, 8 eye and lid positions, and 10 lower face positions (188). With people’s face expressions, others can usually tell their emotion. However, the expression can also be deceiving. For example, flight attendants are obligated to smile throughout their flights, whether or not a passenger is annoying them. Another component of facial expressions is eye contact. Eye contact occurs because of interest, but the interest either may be either attraction and approval or suspicion and glaringly (Adler 188). For example, a teacher might glare at her student for being disrespectful or a teacher can have eye contact with a student while congratulating him for his effort.
Culture affects what type of face expressions people make. For example, many Asian cultures tend to suppress facial expression as much as possible while many Mediterranean cultures tend to exaggerate grief or sadness (“NVC” 3). Eye contact too is seen differently amongst different cultures. People from the Latin America, Arab, southern Europe, and North America usually finds it appropriate to give eye contact (Adler 54). Looking away actually indicates avoidance or deviousness (Blatner). In contrast, Asians, Indians, Pakistanis, and northern Europeans find it disrespectful to make direct eye contact with a superior so they merely gaze at a lister.
Touch is another type of nonverbal communication. Touch is one of the most valuable forms of nonverbal communication because touch was the earliest form of communication amongst primates and is a valued ever since birth. Actually, touch is tremendously necessary in order to infants to grow up healthy. According to Kendra Cherry, Harry Harlow’s experiments with infant monkeys proved that lack of touch and contact leads to inhibit development and even baby monkeys that were raised by wire mothers experienced lasting discrepancies in behavior and social interaction. (1). Also, in Erin Schultheis’ article on Harlow, he stated that Not only does the child look to his/her mother for basic needs such as food, safety, and warmth, but he also needs to feel love, acceptance, and affection from the caregiver. His findings show some long-term psychological physical effects of delinquent or inadequate attentiveness to child needs. (2) This is also supported by the University of Miami’s School of Medicine. They had contemporary research, which has proved that premature babies develop faster and gain more weight when they’re massaged. It can also help them sleep better and boost the immune function of cancer and HIV patients (Adler 190). Touch is even considered to bring out better results between therapists and their clients. It has the potential to expel “more self-disclosure, client...
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