Nonverbal Communication

Verbal communication occupies so much of daily social interaction that nonverbal communication often is ignored. However, much that is said is unspoken. Communications specialists have demonstrated convincingly that nonverbal messages play a major role in validating or contradicting verbal messages, with great influence as communication symbols in their own right.

Communication between two people is usually one-third nonverbal. What is said verbally often is emphasized nonver-bally, and personal attitudes and emotions usually are communicated at the nonverbal level. Nonverbal communicative signals are under less censorship from conscious control than are verbal messages, so they are likely to be more genuine.

Charles Darwin held that there is a unique pattern of nonverbal actions for each emotion. In Expressions of the Emotions in Man and Animals (1872), Darwin suggested that emotional expressions are evolutionary remnants of previous adaptive behavior that persist even though currently useless. Snarling as a sign of aggression is one example. Although recent knowledge indicates that emotional expression is learned and genetically mediated, Darwin's idea of a unique pattern of actions has been shown for depression and anxiety and is likely in the future to be demonstrated for other emotional states.

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