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(2011) The social psychology of communication, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan.

Nonverbal communication in everyday multicultural life

Ama de-Graft Aikins

pp. 67-86

Nonverbal communication has been described as "the silent but eloquent language" (Baron and Byrne, 1994, p. 42). This is an apt description, because nonverbal communication constitutes "bodily communication" (Argyle, 1975) that expresses our inner feelings, reactions, and personality and facilitates our understanding of the inner feelings, reactions, and personalities of others in a variety of potent ways that do not only support spoken language but also often transcend spoken language. Nonverbal communication is crucial to everyday communication in many human societies. It constitutes a "body language" that is expressed through a number of basic embodied (biological) channels that encompass facial expression, use of the eyes, of the voice, of the whole body and of (bodily) space (see Table 3.1). Nonverbal communication serves a number of important functions including emotional expression, self-presentation, conveying attitudes and behavioural intentions, regulating interpersonal interactions (including intimate relations), and — as the first opening quotation suggests — facilitating or undermining verbal communication (Argyle, 1975; Patterson, 2001; Richmond et al., 2008). Aronson, Wilson and Akert (1999) argue that Judge Ito was forced to outlaw nonverbal communication in his American courtroom because of its powerful and potentially disruptive nature, especially for a case as controversial, and "racially" charged, as the African American O.J Simpson's alleged double murder of his White American ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1057/9780230297616_4

Full citation:

de-Graft Aikins, A. (2011)., Nonverbal communication in everyday multicultural life, in D. Hook, B. Franks & M. W. Bauer (eds.), The social psychology of communication, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 67-86.

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