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Communications & Media
English (U.S.)
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Body Movement in Interpersonal Communication (Essay Sample)


Write a literature review of the theory or perspective. The theory is body movement in interpersonal communication

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Body Movement in Interpersonal Communication
Body movements play a cardinal role in interpersonal communication. It is imperative to recognize that communication frequently entails more than verbal message. Effective communication demands that we comprehend the role of body movement as one of the aspects of communication competence (Bavelas 168). Body movement has become a significant research field in the communications discipline. The use of body movement during communication often varies from one culture to the other. This paper reviews past studies so as to determine the impact of body language on interpersonal communication. Most of the studies reviewed investigate hand gestures and communication.
Body movements have symbolic meaning attached to them. Kinesics entails the study of body movement. Ekman and Friesen (1969) came up with a classification system which is still used in the current times. The classification system details five types of body movements in communication. The classification includes emblems, illustrators, affect displays, adaptors and regulators (Ekman and Friesen 50).
Emblems are body movements that have a direct verbal translation. Emblems are often culture specific (Ekmen and Friesen 51). Some of the popular hand gestures used may have a totally different meaning when displayed to other cultures. Recognizable emblems include "Victory," and "A-OK." Illustrators are nonverbal cues, which directly link to words. They reinforce the verbal component of communication and allow us to emphasize or accent words or ideas. Illustrators can also be used to describe something, such as "It was this big.;
Affect display comprise body movements that reveal our emotional or affective state. Facial cues are the primary methods that people use to reveal their feelings in nonverbal manner. Affect displays may be used to influence others (Ekman and Friesen 54). A speaker may choose to display enthusiasm and hope that this state exudes to the audience. Adaptors are movements which satisfy personal needs. They also help in the adaptation of the environment. Adaptors include behaviors such as moving/adjusting glasses and yawning. Regulators are nonverbal cues that regulate interaction. Individuals use inflection, head nodding and eye behavior so as to regulate conversation (Ekman and Friesen 57).
Krauss et al. (1995) conducted a study to determine the communicative value of conversational body movements. They carried out three experiments, which investigated the value of hand gestures in interpersonal communication (Krauss 534). The three experiments sought to determine the level in which spontaneous, gestural accompaniments to a verbal message enhanced the message's communicative effectiveness. All the three experiments utilized a modified referential interpersonal communication task. The subjects involved were speakers, and were videotaped as they explained a stimulus to a pa...
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