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Intercultural Communication Chapter 8 Nonverbal Intercultural Communication Definition of Nonverbal Codes • Nonverbal communication is a multichanneled process that is usually performed spontaneously • Nonverbal and verbal codes inseparably linked together Defining Nonverbal Codes • Some characteristics of nonverbal codes – Function as a “silent language” – Continuous and natural – No dictionaries or formal set of rules – Less precise • The relationship takes a variety of forms. – Used to accent the verbal message – Can compliment the verbal message – Sometimes contradictory – Help to regulate interactions – Serve as a substitute for verbal messages Cultural Universals in Nonverbal Communication • Some authors have identified what they refer to as “cultural universals” of nonverbal communication. • Some examples of these nonverbal universals include the shoulder shrug, facial expressions, and the need to be territorial. Cultural Variations in Nonverbal Communication • Nonverbal communication must be interpreted in the context or framework of the culture in which it occurs. – Cultures differ in the specific repertoire of behaviors that are enacted – Cultures have unique sets of display rules • Norms • Intensity • Differences cause discomfort and misinterpretation Cultural Variations in Nonverbal Communication • Cultures vary in interpretation – Behavior is random – Idiosyncratic interpretations – Shared interpretations – Cultures differ in these aspects • None of this is taught verbally-learned through observation and experience Nonverbal Messages in ICC are Multichanneled • Body movements (kinesics) – Emblems – Illustrators • Emphasize, explain, and support • Less arbitrary than emblems – Affect displays • Many universally recognized • May be unconscious and unintentional – Regulators – Adapters Nonverbal Messages in ICC are Multichanneled • Space (proxemics) – Personal space • Awareness of cultural use of space • Intimate, personal, social, public space – Territoriality • Protect and defend • Rage, invasions, and contaminations Nonverbal Messages in ICC are Multichanneled • Touch (haptic) – Express positive or negative feelings – Cultures differences can lead to difficulties – Differ in amount, where, whom, setting, etc. Nonverbal Messages in ICC are Multichanneled • Time (chronemics) – The value placed on the passage of time • Past-oriented cultures • Present-oriented cultures • Future-oriented cultures – They are implicit rules • Technical time systems • Formal time systems • Informal time systems Nonverbal Messages in ICC are Multichanneled • Time (chronemics) – Informal time systems can be • monochronic or • Polychronic – Because cultures differ in their time orientations and in time systems they use to give order to experiences, misinterpretations often occur. Nonverbal Messages in ICC are Multichanneled • Voice (vocalics) – Can include: • • • • • • Non-speech sounds Filler sounds Pitch Rate Rhythm Volume – Convey meaning beyond words Nonverbal Messages in ICC are Multichanneled • Other – Chemical – Dermal – Physical – Artifactual Synchrony of Nonverbal Communication Codes • • • • Synchronized behaviors form patterns They typify an expected response Subtlety is clearly noticed Behavior of all parties must match Nonverbal Communication and Intercultural Competence • The rules and norms that govern most nonverbal communication behaviors are both culture-specific and learned unconsciously. • Monitoring one’s emotional reactions to differences in nonverbal behaviors alerts a person to the interpretations he or she is making and therefore to the possibility of alternative meanings. Nonverbal Communication and Intercultural Competence • A person should observe general tendencies in the nonverbal behavior of culturally different people. • Looking for exceptions to general tendencies observed allows one to recognize that no one individual will fit exactly the cultural generalization formed. • One can practice the ability to observe, evaluate, and behave in effective ways during intercultural encounters.