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Functions of Nonverbal Communication

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  1. Functions of Nonverbal Communication

  2. Repeating • Nonverbal cues can reiterate verbal communication • Repeating is sequential, not simultaneous • Your significant other asks if you are having an affair. First, you shake your head no. Then you say, “No.” • You ask a stranger in a foreign country what time it is. The stranger doesn’t understand, so you tap the top of your wrist with your finger.

  3. Contradicting (Conflicting) • Nonverbal cues can signal the opposite of what words mean. • We may perceive others as sending “mixed signals.” • “Your mouth is saying no, but your body is saying yes.” • You stifle a yawn with your hand and say to your dinner date, “That’s really fascinating.”

  4. Complementing • Nonverbal cues may compliment or reinforce words. • While scolding a child a parent points a finger at him or her. • A teacher asks if you understand an assignment. You nod your head up and down while saying “Yes, I think so.”

  5. Substituting • Nonverbal cues may serve as substitutes or replacements for words. • Emblems are nonverbal gestures that are the equivalent of words. • A basketball player makes a choke sign after a player on the other team misses a crucial free throw. • A motorist flips you the bird on the freeway.

  6. Accenting/Moderating • Nonverbal cues can amplify or accentuate language. • A parent tells a child “It’s bedtime.” The child lays on the floor, kicking and screaming, while saying “No, no, no, no, no.” • A guy asks a gal, “Hey, How YOU doin?”

  7. Regulating • Making or breaking eye contact to signal turn taking • Using nonverbal cues to cut in or interrupt someone • Gus puts both elbows on the table and inhales, indicating he is about to speak. • An argument about politics starts to erupt at a party. A girlfriend puts her hand on her boyfriend’s forearm to signal that he needs to calm down.

  8. Name that function • Your mother mouths the words “call me” while making a phone sign on the way out the door. • Your credit card is declined on a dinner date. You say “That’s just great.” • A creepy guy in a raincoat beckons with his finger for a child at a playground to come over. • At a carniceria, you say “Dos tacos, por favor.” When the cook says “¿Cuanto?” you hold up two fingers. • When your fiancée asks “Will you marry me?” you nod your head up and down like a bobble head doll while saying “Yes.” • Your jaw is clenched when your significant other asks if you are okay, you say, “I’m fine.” (curtly) • You raise your hand in class to ask a question. Answers • Complimenting (If she didn’t mouth the words “call me” it would be substituting) • Contradicting • Substituting • Repeating • Accenting • Contradicting • Regulating