Beyond Words

AutorRandall P. Harrison (1929-)
PealkiriBeyond Words: An Introduction to Nonverbal Communication
IlmunudEnglewood Cliffs, N.J. : Prentice-Hall, 1974
ViideHarrison, Randall P. 1974. Beyond Words: An Introduction to Nonverbal Communication. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall.

  • The sheer wealth of nonverbal cues. Even in a simple cartoon such as this we find hundreds of nonverbal cues.
  • The way even minor cues elicit distinct meanings. For example, just seeing the eyebrows tilt up or down elicits a strong impression of each man.
  • The complexity of our inference processes. We seem to say to ourselves: "That cue must mean ... and combined with that cue it must mean ... but this other cue countermands that, so it must really mean ... ," and so on.
  • Our low awareness level. We apparently perceive and process nonverbal cues, often with little awareness that we have taken them in, that we have responded to them, that they are influencing our behavior.
  • The differing interpretations made by individuals. For example, most people see the handshake as a sign of agreement, but that is not true in all cultures; meanwhile, some people see the crossed fingers as "hoping" while others interpret it as "deception."
  • The complex relationship between verbal and nonverbal symbols. We try to make them fit together; and when they don't we reexamine again and again.
(Harrison 1974: 10)
Let's take a typical American middle-class male as he moves through a day's activities. What are the nonverbal cues he might produce - and process?
He begins each day by preparing himself as a nonverbal message to the world. He shaves his face. Or at least part of it, having recently grown sideburns and a mustache to appear younger and more debonair. He uses toothpaste, soap, and deodorant to manage his messages of smell. He adds cologne, after-shave lotion, or perfume. He brushes his hair into a style that is current - or at least relatively acceptable to those he meets. Some of his friends, of course, don wigs, to look more youthful and more stylish. And both his male and female friends use an array of cosmetics, to enhance their best features, to cover blemishes, to accent the features currently in fad.
Our American male dresses not only to protect his tender hide from the elements; his clothes are a statement about himself. He matches his garb to the events of the day: play, work; informal, formal; important, unimportant. His dress reflects the way he feels about himself, the way he feels generally: happy, sad; youthful, mature; fashionable, conservative. Again, his clothing may accent his best features - or remold those that are not so great. He may wear padded shoulders, just as his wife may wear a padded bra. Both he and she may squeeze into "foundation garments" to smooth the bulging tummy, to slim the too-plump hips. (Harrison 1974: 11)
(Nonverbal) care of the self.
On the way to work, he literally bets his life on nonverbal communication. Every time he steps off the curb or into an automobile, he wagers that others will know the nonverbal codes he does. He counts on others to have the same meanings for yellow lines painted down the middle of the road. For red and green lights. For diamond-shaped or triangular-shaped signs. For the policeman's gestures. For the ambulance's flashing red light. For the driver's turn signal. (Harrison 1974: 12)
Nonverbal communication and driving, traffic, pedestian stuff, etc.
He receives information, pictorially, graphically, color-coded, sized for important. (Harrison 1974: 12)
A neat designation for the relationship of size and status/power. The Japanese industrial manufacture is a good case - different sizes of electric soccets for differently important households, for example.
  • two basic problems in nonverbal communication:
    • the problem of "missed cues" - not catching available nonverbal signs; and
    • the problem of "miscues" - catching but misinterpreting nonverbal events.
  • two fundamental miscues, or types of error:
    • assigning meaning to meaningless events; and
    • not assigning meanings to meaningful events.
  • two levels of meaning confusion:
    • knowing what the sign denotes or refers to; and
    • knowing what the sign connotes - what feelings and associations it elicits.
(Harrison 1974: 16)
Very... semiotic.
Sometimes we even miss the cues we send ourselves. A friend or spouse says, "What did you mean by that look?" And we say, "What look?" (Harrison 1974: 19)
Related to self-communication, but here rather self-communication-through-hetero-communication; or nonverbal-self-communication through verbal-hetero-communication. Perhaps: the limit of self-indication? We cannot indicate to ourselves how we behave sometimes because we do not see ourselves, but others do.
But with nonverbal events, we are often left wondering whether we are dealing with anything symbolic or not. If we see someone move, it may be that (a) it's a random movement; he was simply tired of what he was doing before; or (b) it reveals someimportant state within the individual or within the interaction; or (c) it's a very purpusefukl, meaningful motion intended to communicate specific information to someone else. An individual might scratch himself because he just happened to itch - or because he was just bitten by a mosquito. On the other hand, a therapist might note that every time a particular topic comes up his client scratches a certain part of the anatomy. The therapist might begin to suspect that the scratch was not random but that it revealed psychological distress or confusion, perhaps even a symbolic attack upon the self. Finally, a couple might set up a prearranged signal on their way to a dubious party: "When I scratch my lseft ear that means I want to leave." In quite a different area of nonverbal communication, many people have trouble when they look at abstract art. They can't tell it ift's the purposefully encoded message of a great artist ... or the random dribblings of a not-so-great-artists ... or the efforts of a talented primate. (Harrison 1974: 20)
A cue, as we have used the term, refers very broadly to any stimulus (a) that is above the sensory treshold of some human being and (b) for which tht human has some response. Nonverbal cues are all those stimuli we respond to - other than the spoken or written word. In this chapter we have begun to distinguish among different kinds of cues. And we will now want to distinguish between the broad category of nonverbal cues and the more specific process of nonverbal communication.
The term "nonverbal communication" has been applied to a bewildering array of events. Everything from territoriality of animals to the protocol of diplomats. From facial expressions to muscle twitches. From inner, but inexpressible, feelings to outdoor, public monuments. From the message of massage to the persuasion of a punch. From dance and drama to muisc and mime. From the flow of affect to the flow of traffic. From extrasensory perception to the economic policies of international power blocks. From fashion and fad to architecture and analog computer. From the smell of roses to the taste of steak. From Freudian symbol to astrological sign. From the rhetoric of violence to the rhetoric of topless dancers.
This is a fascinating spectrum. But it is also a rather confusing hodgepodge when we are first trying to get our bearings. As a jumping-off point, we will deal with nonverbal communication as follows:
Nonverbal communication is the exchange of information through nonlinguistic signs. This proposition, in turn, contains some key terms which need elaboration:
  • Sign: a sign is a stimulus which, for some communicator, "stands for" something else; it "means" something above and beyond itself.
  • Nonlinguistic: the primary linguistic sign is the word in spoken or written form; thus we are concerned with the full range of nonword signs.
  • Information: in a technical sense, information involves the manipulation of uncertainty; it suggests that, for some organism, uncertainty is decreased - or increased.
  • Exchange: by exchange we mean to imply more than one communicator linked in some way so that at least one of them can respond to the signs produced by the other. The easiest example is two individuals in face-to-face interaction. But we would include mass-media systems, where one communicator encodes messages, in one time and place, for other communicators at another time and place. We would even include such communicators as Rembrandt and da Vinci - long dead, but whose messages still find an audience.
(Harrison 1974: 24-25)
At first, it seems it should be simple to map communication. We all communicate from birth. It is as obvious - and yet as unnoticed - as breathing. But under scrutiny, communication begins to look more complex. It is familiar but subtle. It is unique and universal. It is slippery and inescapable. It may be one person making one gesture to someone. And even that simple act is multidimensional, multifaceted, multileveled. Or it may be an ongoing code system such as a language, or music, or an art form, which lasts thousands of years and encompasses millions of people. (Harrison 1974: 26-27)
Larry Barker and Nancy Collins identified 18 candidates for the nonverbal domains: (1) animal and insect; (2) culture; (3) environment; (4) getural, facial expression, bodily movement, and kinesics; (5) human behavior; (6) interaction patterns; (7) learning; (8) machine; (9) media; (10) mental processes, perception, imagination, and creativity; (11) music; (12) paralinguistics; (13) personal grooming and apparel; (14) psychological; (15) pictures; (16) space; (17) tactile and cutaneous and (18) time.
Abne Eisenberg and Ralph Smith use three major categories of nonverbal communication: paralanguage; kinesics, and the study of body movements; and proxemics, the study of space. Meanwhile, Mark Knapp organizes the nonverbal domain into (1) body motion or kinesic behavior, (2) physical characteristics, (3) touching behavior, (4) paralanguage, (5) proxemics, (6) artifacts, and (7) environmental factors. Michael Argyle includes (1) bodily contact, (2) posture, (3) physical appearance, (4) facial and gestural movement, (5) direction of gaze, and (6) nonverbal aspects of speech - timing, emotional tone, and accent. Finally, Starkey Duncan outlines nonverbal communication in terms of (1) body movement or kinesic behavior (e.g., gestures and other body movements, including facial expressions, eye movements, and posture); (2) paralanguage (e.g., voice qualities, speech nonfluencies, and such vocalizations as laughing, yawning, and grunting); (3) proxemics (i.e., the use of social and personal space); (4) olfaction; (5) skin sensitivity to temperature and touch; and (6) use of artifacts (e.g., dress and cosmetics). (Harrison 1974: 28)
THIS BRIEF ENCOUNTER BETWEEN TWO ROOMMATES introduces us to an ongoing communication system. What do we mean by "system"? A system is a set of interrelated elements. There must be (a) elements, and (b) relationships. Al and Bill are elements in this communication system; they are related by the messags they exchange.
In this chapter we will introduce you to the problems of being a good system analyst, the problems of diagnosing effective (and ineffective) communication situations. This is the first step in becoming an effective systems administrator, an individual who can create and maintain effective communication systems. (Harrison 1974: 38)
Figure 3-1 suggests that systems can be separated from their environment by a boundary. With physical systems, this boundary is often obvious. The skin is the physical boundary of the human body. The boundaries of communication systems are sometimes harder to identify. The nonverbal literature, for example, suggests that we walk around with a "bubble of personal space," a region of psychological territory which is within the boundary of our "self" system. If people come too close, they violate this invisible system boundary. In the example of Al and Bill, they are elements in a common communication system. Al's new acquaintaince is outside the system - in the "environment" - at least for the moment. Bill and his book define another communication system. Al is outside the boundary of that system. (Harrison 1974: 39)
Interaction system; semiosphere; self; Umwelt.
Figure 3-2 indicates that systems can be analyzed at levels. The level we are primarily interested in is called the system. But the system may, in turn, be made up of several subsystems. These subsystems may be made up of subsubsystems, and so on. The elements in our lowest level of analysis are called components.
Moving in the other direction, our system may be part of a subsystem in some larger suprasystem. In the example of Al and Bill, their living space represents a system that is within a larger suprasystem: an apartment building, a dormitory, a fraternity house, a coop, a rooming house. This suprasystem may, in turn, be a system within a larger suprasystem: an apartment complex, the dormitory system, the fraternity system, the off-campus living system. The living area may, in turn, be divided up into subsystems, such as kitchen, bathroom, bedroom. Or we might consider other subsystems: the electrical system, the plumbing system, the heating system. Avid television viewers are, of course, familiar with the important subsystems of the human body, such as the gastrointestinal system and the sinus system. (Harrison 1974: 40-41)
Evolution refers to the long-range history of a system: its growth and development, its expansion and perhaps eventual decline. Within evolution, or even within the shortest cycles of activation, we can often see distinct stages: (a) the formation stage; (b) the operation stage, with its activities devoted to maintenance and productivity; and (c) the termination stage, when the system is deactivated or closed down. (Harrison 1974: 48)
As we examine human code systems, we can note two major strategies of coding: the digital and the analogic. In an analogic system, the code elements are (a) continuous and (b) natural. The code bears a similarity to the referents. At least some of the code elements or relationships are similar to elements and relationships in the objects and events being denoted. It is a "natural" relationship. For example, a portrait looks like the person portrayed. In the digital code, the code elements are (a) discrete and (b) arbitrary. In other words, each code eleement is sharply different from others; the letter "a" is different from the letter "b," and the number "1" is distinct from the number "2." Second, the codes do not resemble the objects and events being denoted; their assignment is arbitrary. The letter "a" does not resemble an object in the real world. Or, the word "ape" does not resemble the active, furry creature we apply that label to. (Harrison 1974: 62)
In the analogic codes, a variety of elements or relationships may be preserved or made iconic. Sometimes, three-dimensionality is preserved, as in a model. Sometimes color is preserved, as in film or a painting. But sometimes the underlying relationships are captures, as in a blueprint, map, or X-ray. Finally, the analogic code may present a very abstract symbol of the referent, a symbol which attempts to capture the feeling or movement or spirit; modern abstract art is in this category.
These three types of symbols have names: (a) icons are those which bear a strong outward appearance; (b) schematics are those which capture underlying relationships (e.g., a map is a "schematic"); and (c) abstractions are those which, like modern art, capture the feeling or function of an object or event. In each type of symbol, however, we may find a range of "iconicity." For example, some maps are more iconic than others. And some abstract art is more representational, more iconic, than other art. (Harrison 1974: 62-63)
Man is an active agent in the world. He produces his own energy. He directs it at his environment. He channels it toward goals of his own choosing. Moment by moment, he processes stimuli. He sorts. He sifts. He interprets. He infers. He manipulates his uncertainty and the uncertainty of others. And at the center of this activity is his use of signs. Signs and patterns of signs are produced, transmitted, interpreted, stored. Signs fuel interaction. Signs fire the imagination. Signs ignite man's potential for shared understanding.

Man, the Uncertaintiy Manipulator
In thinking about man as a communication receiver, it is easy to imagine him as a passive receptacle. For example, we might be tempted to think: a message stimulus comes in; and he reacts. If no message, no reaction. A more accurate picture of man sees him as active, aggressively seeking information, constantly exploring. While awake, he is in a continual state of tension. He maintains a plateau of uncertainty. He constructs expectations. He tests. He checks. He develops new predictions. (Harrison 1974: 64-65)
This means, of course, that the same marker may be a sign for one man and not for another. One man may look at the red spots on your face and say, "Look at the funny red spots." A doctor may look at the same markers and say, "Measles!" A wife may see her husband make movements, conscious or unconscious, which indicate he's ready to leave the party. Others may see the same movements, but for them the markers are not a "sign" of anything. Similarly, the psychiatrist may make inferences on the basis of his patient's behavior. For the untrained observer, the same behaviors, the same markers, would be meaningless. (Harrison 1974: 66)
Symbols are those signs which are not signals; they are the pictures and words and marks and sounds which stand for other objects and evenets. They elicit meanigs from the receiver, denotative meanings and connotative meanings. But they do not demand action; they only ask to be interpreted. They do not herald the arrival of other events. They can talk about the not-here and the not-now, events which may be far removed in time and space. (Harrison 1974: 67)
The analogic-digital distinction may, however, become most important with the symbol. It is in presenting - or re-presenting - the not-here and the now-now that the analogic symbol may be most powerful. Similarly, it is in the digital symbol that we see the amazing efficiency of the human sign process. Man can store, transmit, receive, and retrieve vast stores of knowledge by manipulating 26 letters and 10 numbers.

Sign Patterns
As we use the term "sign" in this book it may apply to a single stimulus or a whole pattern of stimulation. Like our use of the term "system," we will apply "sign" to the symbolic level we are examining. But at times the "sign" will have many subsystems, other signs which go to make up the larger symbol. For example, we might take the picture of a face as a sign. But within this symbol, the line representing the mouth is also a sign.
Occasionally, we will want to draw attention to the fact that we are talking about a configuration of signs, and in those instances we will use the term sign pattern. In short, a sign pattern is a system made up of other signs. And in this pattern, as in any system, the relationships are likely to be important. The total facial expression may be a sign pattern. So would be a picture layout, or a movie sequence.
This may help us over a point of frequent confusion in nonverbal communication. Often, we think of signs as specific stimuli which elicit responses (e.g., denotative and connotative meaning). But when we begin to examine communication systems in operation we quickly note the importance of pattern. Man, as an active communicator, frames expectations. And he acts on them. He doesn't merely wait for meaningful stimuli to arrive.
As a result, when an expected sign does not occur, that is meaningful, too. When you smilingly say, "Good morning," to a friend and he doesn not respond, you wonder what is wrong. If you think of signs as only the presentation of specific stimuli, you will have trouble analyzing that situation. It appears that you are reacting to a nonsign, or the lack of a sign. If, however, you recognize the larger system of signs, the sign pattern, your friend's nonresponse is part of an important event which may well signal that something is amiss. (Harrison 1974: 68-69)
Figure 4-3 Possible Human Code Systems.
Fundamental motor actBasic unit producedCombined intoStudied byTypical act or skill
produce smellozonearomaaromaticsperfumery
produce tasteedonedomorphedeticscooking
space arrangementproxemeproxemorphproxemicscity planning
time arrangementchronchronomorphchronemicstiming
(Harrison 1974: 72)
But with the kinesic informant, difficulties arise. For example, the speaker gets feedback both from the movements of his mouth and from the sound he hears. He knows when he's made a "slip of the tongue," not because he feels it in his tongue, but because he hears the sound he has produced. But the kinesic informant only gets internal feedback. He knows how the move feels. But he doesn't see how the facial expression or movement looks to another. He may not detect his "slips of the face." As a result, the kinesic informant may have difficulty producing the "same" movement twice. He knows there's "something there" but he is unreliable as a producing informant. (Harrison 1974: 73-74)
Within the social sphere, perceptual selectivity also screens the cues man uses. Where at the psychological level, this selectivity is related to individual differences, on the social level this selectivity stems from roles and group norms. Two managers, although very different in personality, might be attuned to the same nonverbal clues - because of their executive role. Similarly, members of a group may be acutely aware of cues that others would miss. Initiates of a teenage gang might see sharp differences between themselves and others, in dress, hair style, ornaments, manners. Meanwhile, to the adult "all the kids look the same." (Harrison 1974: 87)
Sensory gating, roles, subcultures.
In general, it will be helpful to note that nonverbal signs may be (a) enduring, (b) temporary, or (c) momentary. The enduring markers are those that, like monuments or architecture, may continue for long perods, beyond the life of one communication system, perhaps beyond the life of the participants. Or, at a more individual level, the enduring markers may include the general appearance of the person: how big he is, how his face and body are structured, what he looks like day in and day out. These markers move with the individual from communication system to communication system. They may have an impact on interaction, but they are not specific to any one situation.
The temporary markers are those that do change over time, but that may be stable during one communication situation, or during a phase of interaction. The seating arrangement at a meeting, for example, could be set up in a number of different ways. But once organized, it is likely to remain the same during the whole meeting, or at least during much of the meeting. Similarly, the clothing people wear may change from day to day, but it is likely to remain the same during one interaction. Finally, individuals may have moods or other states that change from one day to another but don't change moment to moment. On a particular day, I may be feeling very good - or bad - and that happiness or sadness may influence all of my interactions.
The momentary markers are those that, like the spoken word, change from instant to instant. Facial expressions and hand movements are prime examples. They may shift many times during a single interaction. (Harrison 1974: 102)
Vocal Emblems
The most obvious vocal counterpart of an "emblem" is: the word. There are a few examples, however, of vocal sounds that are not words (or at least do not appear in the dictionary) but approach emblem status. Included would be sounds of disapproval such as the "tsk, tsk" clicking of the tongue or the "harumph" grunt. In more bucolic and chauvinistic days, young men (then called "wolves") would stand around on street corners whistling at girls with a characteristic sound of appraisal and appreciation. Another vocal emblem might be Charlie Brown's cry of frustration: "Augh!" (Harrison 1974: 110)
THE HEAD AND FACE ARE PERHAPS MAN'S RICHEST SIGN SYSTEM. In Western culture, the head is frequently used in art to represent the whole man; it is seen as the locus of his personality, his intelligence, his soul. The face is central in most communication situations. In fact, we speak of "face-to-face" communication. Or, the face is used symbolically, as in "face the music," or tragically, "losing face." The head is the locus of most of the primary sense receptors: eyes, ears, nose, mouth - seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting. By looking at a person's head we know whether he is awake or asleep, listening, smelling, tasting, hearing. Vocalizations come out of the mouth. Facial expressions play across the features. And we tend to read a man's physiognomy for his history - his genetic heritage, his time on this earth, and the way that time has marked his character. This chapter examines areas of performance code in the head and face: (a) apperance cues, (b) facial expressions, (c) eye behavior, and (d) head nods and movements. (Harrison 1974: 114)
The way a man walks and stands and sits is frequently taken as a message about himself. These cues are read for self-confidence, for signs of energy or fatigue, for clues about status. In interactions, man orients himself toward others. He can stand over another, or kneel in front of him. He can face him directly, or "give him the shoulder." He can lean forward, or recline backward. He can lean to the right or to the left. He can sit erect or he can slouch. He can fold his arms and legs in a tight, defensive posture, or he can "open up" in a sprawling, relaxed pose. He can adopt the same pose as his fellow communicator, or he can take a contrary posture. (Harrison 1974: 132)
The most intentional use of clothing as communication is in uniforms. Individuals in different roles are dressed differently, prestructuring the interactions they will have. The uniform indicates status, appropriate communication content, appropriate rules of interchange. On amny campuses, moves have been made to take the campus police out of uniform. But these attempts have been resisted, sometimes for surprising reasons. (Harrison 1974: 148)
MARSHALL MCLUHAN HAS ARGUED THAT: "The medium is the message." McLuhan, in turn, got some of his best ideas from Harold A. Innis, an economic historian. Innis noted that some media are "time-binding," and some are "space-binding." Media such as telephone, telegraph, radio, and television allow man to extend his reach across space. He can instantaneously be in touch with other man, on the far side of the blobe, or the far side of the moon. Messages from these media, however, are short-lived. They are not "time-binding." Meanwhile, messages in the print media, in paintings, statues, and monuments, last. They are not as easily transported across space. But they are more permanent. (Harrison 1974: 160)
In the Soviet Union a few years ago, I was struck with the enormous portraits of Lenin scattered throughout the country. At that time there was no advertising, so where an American would expect to see a billboard or a sign on the side of a building, the Soviet citizen was likely to see Lenin's head, with some famous quotation. Lenin's body is, of course, preserved and displayed in his tomb on Red Square. The visitors can go and see the actual man. Usually, when seeing a famous person in the flesh, I think, "There he is, big as life." But upon seeing Lenin, my reaction was, "There he is, small as life." He was a little man. And that was startlingly apparent after seeing hundreds of mammoth portraits. (Harrison 1974: 164)
Big Brother ish.

a glossary of key terms

[Harrison 1974: 196 > ] The following terms are a few of the concepts used by researchers of nonverbal communication. The definitions given are brief, introductory orientations; frequently the concept is more complex than a few words would suggest. Similarly, the same term may be used by different authors to denote different phenomena Where a term was introduced into the literature by a particular author, his name appears in parentheses.

ABSTRACTION. An analogic symbol that captures feeling, function, or connotation; compare icon and schematic.
ACTION LANGUAGE. Movement not done with the intent to communicate but which is informative; compare sign language, object language (Ruesch & Kees).
ADAPTORS. Behaviors originating in the adaption of the individual to his environment. Three types: behaviors directed toward self, object, or alter; compare illustrators, emblems, illustrators, regulators (Ekman & Friesen).
AFFECT DISPLAY. Nonverbal behavior, such as facial expression, that reflect emotional states, compare adaptors, emblems, illustrators, regulators (Ekman & Friesen).
ALLOKINE. One of a number of nondistributive variants of a kineme or gestural unit.
ANALOGIC. A relationship between sign and referent in which aspects of the referent are preserved in the sign; compare digital.
ARTIFACTUAL CODES. Sign sets arising from the use of objects; compare performance, spatio-temporal, mediatory codes.
BANDS. The channels and sensory receptors available for transmitting and receiving either verbal or nonverbal signs.
[Harrison 1974: 197 > ]
BATON. A type of illustrator (gesture) that provides emphasis, accent, punctuation.
BLEND. An affect display that combines emotional cues, e.g., a surprised, raised brow with a happy, smiling mouth.
CADEME. A basic element in film communication; a shot as it comes from the camera; see edeme, vidistics (Worth).
CODE. A set of transformations; a cluster of markers with rules for organization and interpretation; see artifactual, mediatory, performance, spatio-temporal codes.
COMMUNICATIVE. Done with intent to communicate; compare informative, interactive (Ekman & Friesen).
CUE. A stimulus that elicits response from some organism.
DIGITAL. A relationship between sign and referent in which the signs are discrete and arbitrary, e.g., letters and numbers; compare analogic.
DISPLAY RULE. A rule that modifies the display of nonverbal behaviors such as affect cues; may intensify, deintensify, neutralize, or mask.
EDEME. A basic unit in film communication; the edited film shot; see cademe, vidistic, Fig 4-3 (Worth).
EMBLEM. A highly stylized nonverbal behavior with well-articulated meaning; compare adaptors, affect displays, illustrators, regulators (Ekman & Friesen).
GLYPTICS. THe study of written, verbal symbols; Fig 4-3.
ICON. An analogic symbol that, in particular preserves outward appearance of the referent; compare abstraction, schematic.
ICONICITY. The degree to which a sign or sign pattern resembles its referent.
IDEOGRAPHS. Illustrators (gestures) that trave the flow of a thought or idea.
ILLUSTRATORS. Nonverbal behaviors that accompany speech, elaborating, punctuating, commenting upon. Term includes: batons, ideographs, kinetographs, pictographs, pointers, spatials; compare adaptors, affect displays, emblems, regulators (Ekman & Friesen).
INFORMATIVE. Not necessarily done with intent to communicate, but interpretable by an observer; compare communicative, interactive (Ekman & Friesen).
INTERACTIVE. Describes nonverbal behavior that may not be done with intent to communicate and may be responded to with little awareness but yet has an observable effect on interaction; compare communicative, informative (Ekman & Friesen).
[Harrison 1974: 198 > ]
KINE. A rudimentary unit of movement in Kinesics; see Fig. 4-3 (Birdwhistell).
KINEME. A unit of body movement comparable to the phoneme in linguistics; see kinesics (Birdwhistell).
KINEMORPH. A unit of body movement made up of one or more kinemes; see kinesics, Fig. 4-3 (Birdwhistell).
KINESICS. The system and study of body movement in communication; see Fig. 4-3 (Birdwhistell).
KINETOGRAPH. An illustrator (gesture) that demonstrates or reenacts some bodily action (Ekman & Friesen).
MARKER. A stimulus transmitted between two components of a system, i.e., a sign-vehicle. Differently in kinesics: a movement that marks off speech or interaction.
MEDIATORY CODES. Sign sets arising in the use of media such as film, art, music; examples include cuts, fades, cropping.
MESSAGE-SPACE. The space taken up by a message; may be the same as, less than, or more than "event-space."
MESSAGE-TIME. The time it takes to decode or process a message; may be the same as, less than, or more than "event-time."
MICROFACIALS. Fleeting facial expressions, sometimes difficult to detect with the naked eye.
MORPHEME. In lingusitics, a minimum distinctive unit of grammar, e.g., a word is composed of one or more morphemes.
NONVERBAL COMMUNICATION. As used in this text: the exchange of information through nonlinguistic signs.
OBJECT LANGUAGE. The use and display of material items, both intentional and unintentional; compare sign language and action language (Ruesch & Kees).
PARALANGUAGE. The system of "extra verbal" elements that accompany speech, including voice quality, vocal qualifiers, and vocal segregates.
PARTIALS. Affect displays involving only part of the face, e.g., a surprised, raised brow but neutral eyes and mouth.
PERFORMANCE CODES. Sign sets produced with the human body, e.g., facial expressions, hand gestures, body movements; compare artifactual, mediatory and spatio-temporal codes.
PHONE. In linguistics, a rudimentary vocal sound.
PHONEME. In linguistics, a basic sound unit; a morpheme is composed of one or more phonemes; see Fig. 4-3.
PICT. A rudimentary unit in drawing; the counterpart of a phone in speech.
[Harrison 1974: 199 > ]
PICTEME. The basic unit in a pictorial code; the counterpart of a phoneme in speech.
PICTICS. The system and study of pictorial communication, especially drawing.
PICTOGRAPH. An illustrator (gesture) that draws a picture or shape in the air (Ekman & Friesen).
PICTOMORPH. The minimum distinctive pictorial unit; parallel to the morph or morpheme level in speech; see Fig. 4-3.
POINTERS. Illustrators (gestures) that point to a referent; also called "deictic" movements.
POINTS. Movements, e.g., of eye or head, that punctuate the structural flow of interaction; compare position, presentation (Scheflen).
POSITIONS. Larger divisions of interaction, incorporating one or more points;; compare presentation (Scheflen).
PRESENTATIONS. Major divisions of interaction, incorporating one or more positions; compare points, positions (Scheflen).
PROXEMICS. The system and study of behavioral patterns associated with the use of space; see Fig. 4-3 (Hall).
REGULATORS. A type of body movement, such as head-nods, that regulates the flow of interaction; compare adaptors, affect displays, emblems, illustrators (Ekman & Friesen).
SCHEMATIC. An analogic sign that captures relationships or structure of the referent, e.g., maps, blueprints, diagrams; compare icon, abstraction.
SEQUENTIAL SYNTAX. The organization of code elements sequentially in time or space, e.g., most verbal sign patterns; compare synchronic syntax.
SIGN. A stimulus (marker) that "stands for" some other event for some interpreter; compare signal, symbols.
SIGN LANGUAGE. The purposeful use of gestures to replace words; compare action language and object language (Ruesch & Kees).
SIGN PATTERN. A configuration of signs; a system of sign elements.
SIGNAL. One type of sign; it is likely to "announce" another sign or to elicit an action response; compare symbol.
SPATIALS. Illustrators (gestures) that indicate size or relationship.
SPATIO-TEMPORAL CODES. Sign sets emerging in the use of time and sace; compare artifactual, mediatory, performance codes.
SYMBOL. A type of sign, emphasizing denotative and connotative meaning; compare signal.
[Harrison 1974: 200 > ]
SYNCHRONIC SYNTAX. The organization of code elements, simultaneously in time or space, e.g., picture layour; compare sequential syntax.
SYSTEM. A set of interrelated elements; the system is separated from its environment by a boundary; several levels may be present: suprasystem, system, subsystem, and component.
VIDISTICS. The system and study of cinematic communication; see Fig. 4-3 (Worth).
  • Gunther, Bernard. Sense Relaxation. New York: Macmillan, 1968.
  • Larry L. Barker and Nancy B Collins, "Nonverbal and Kinesic Research," in P. Emmert and W. D. Brooks (eds.), Methods of Research in Communication (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1970), pp. 343-372.
  • Abne M. Eisenberg and Ralph R. Smith, Jr., Nonverbal Communication (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1971).
  • Starkey, Duncan, Jr., "Nonverbal Communication," Psychological Bulletin, 72, 1969, pp. 118-137.
  • Theodore M. Newcomb, "An Approach to the Study of Communicative Acts," Psychological Review, 60, 1953, pp. 939-404.
  • Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1966).
  • Harold A. Innis, The Bias of Communication (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1951).


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