JNB Volume 2 Issue 2 Winter 1977

Ginsburg, Harvey J., Vicki A. Pollman, Mitzi S. Wauson and Marti L. Hope 1977. Variation of aggressive interaction among male elementary school children as a function of changes in spatial density. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior 2(2): 67-75.

First, the room in which the study was performed contained a one-way mirror used to observe the children. As noted by Gallup (1968), mirror-image stimulation has been known to affect behavior dramatically, particularly in the context of social situations. More importantly, the room in which the children were testedd was a new environment for them. It is, therefore, not possible to assume that similar results would have been obtained had the children been tested in a familiar, rather than novel, play area. (Ginsburg et al. 1977: 68)
This should make on reconsider taking contrived psychological experiments too seriously. The reference: Gallup, G. G., Jr. 1968. Mirror-image stimulation. Psychological Bulletin 70: 782-793.
This structure did not appreciably influence observable behavior (there was no clustering around it or activity focused upon it). (Ginsburg et al. 1977: 69)
These two influences are actually notable and relevant for #linnasemiootika - there are indeed areas or structures in the city environment that either cluster people around it (such as the benches and other sitting accommodations) or focus activity upon itself (such as clocks, fountains, etc.).
Aggressive behavior was defined in terms of five specific modes of attack: hitting, whece one child beats another with clenched fists; jumping upon, where the aggressor attempts to force another child to the ground by wrapping his arms around the trunk of the other after gaining momentum from a running start; pushing, where the aggressor causes child to lose balance by rapidly extending his arms and with an open palm making contact with the body of the other child; pulling, where the aggressor grasps clothing or body part of other child and forces child to move in direction of the pull; and, kicking, where the aggressor first moves his leg back and then forward sothat the foot makes contact with a body part of the child under attack. As might be expected, these behaviors usually appeared in combination with one another. (Ginsburg et al. 1977: 70)
Huh. I'm not sure what this could be useful for, but for sake of even useless typologies, I'll quote it.
The data, lending support to the hypothesis that crowding (by reducing environmental space) increases the frequency of aggression, fit nicely into a theoretical framework provided by Hediger (1950). According to Hediger, many species possess what he terms a critical "flight" distance. That is, if an aggressor is at a distance far enough away to make flight an adaptively probable response, the organism threatened by a potential aggressor exhibits escape or avoidance behavior. (Ginsburg et al. 1977: 73)
The reference: Hediger, Heini 1950. Wild animals in captivity. London: Butterworth.
Also, a small area would presumably allow more rapid involvement by a benefactor; he has to traverse less space to reach the primary combatants. If it is assumed that an element of quickness or surprise enhances the probability or success for this kind of aidi giving, an area that decreases proximity between benefactor and recipient may potentiate this form of helping behavior. Finally, Ginsburg, Wauson, Easley, and Pollman (Note 1) demonstrated that such altruism is contingent upon certain nonverbal cues emitted by the child under attack. Thus, in the small play area potential benefactors have greater visual access to the type of nonverbal interaction occurring between the aggressor and the child under attack. (Ginsburg et al. 1977: 74)
More aid is given to someone being attacked if it is visible and reachable. This is probably why criminal adults prefer to attack in places where it isn't readily visible and help isn't easily reachable (e.g. back-alleys).

Sundstrom, Eric and Mary Graehl Sundstrom 1977. Personal space invasions: What happens when the invader asks permission? Journal of Nonverbal Behavior 2(2): 76-82.

The concept of personal space was introduced largely through the work of Robert Sommer (1969) to describe the closest interpersonal distance for comfortable interaction. The well-known study of personal space invasion by Felipe and Sommer (1966) suggested that extremely close proximity by a stranger in a public place produces signs of discomfort and flight from the scene. Subsequent field experiments (reviewed by Sundstrom & Altman, 1976) generally agree with the original study. However, the effects of close interpersonal proximity by a silent stranger seem quite different from the effects of close proximity during a conversation. (Sundstrom & Sundstrom 1977: 76)
Sommer's work is often conflated with Hall's without an acknowledgement. And the difference between the effects of a silent stranger and a conversation partner are also often neglected.
However, contrary to predictions, females left more quickly when they had been asked (X = 6.5 min.) (Sundstrom & Sundstrom 1977: 80)
And hy is that so? Do females expect something to follow when they are asked and leave out of disappointment? Why are they made more uncomfortable when they are asked for permission to sit down next to them?
One way to explain this unexpected result is to assume that males and females see a personal space invasion differently. For males a silent invasion might be seen as a threat or a show of dominance. A male may become uncomfortable and leave rather than confront the invader. A male invader who asks permission may be seen as showing subordination, thereby reducing his threat value and the subject's discomfort. For females an invasion of personal space may be seen as an affiliative gesture. When another female asked permission and sat down, the subject may have expected a friendly conversation. The subsequent silence of the invader may have been seen as a kind of rejection. Perhaps a silent invasion is not as uncomfortable because it does not produce as great an expectation of conversation. (Sundstrom & Sundstrom 1977: 81)
The researchers came to the same speculation as I did. Asking for permission "opens the channel" so to say and females are more prone to see it as such.

Berglund, Birgitta, Ulf Berglund, Erland Jonsson and Thomas Lindvall 1977. On the scaling of annoyance due to environmental factors. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior 2(2): 83-92.

In this paper data from two sociological surveys concerning malodors and noise will be discussed within the framework of scaling theory. (Berglund et al. 1977: 84)
Malodor is a very unpleasant smell.
The differences in range of the categories used may indicate different frames of reference in the populations, produced perhaps by different experiences of environmental factors, educational differences, or differences in semantic conceptions. (Berglund et al. 1977: 88)
Semantic conceptions is the most immediately semiotic, but the other two (environment and education) also fall under the rubric of semiotics, at least tangentially.
Data were collected through a questionnaire with questions about the respondent's experience of street-traffic noise (A), noise from the neighbors' radio and TV sets (B), murmuring pipes and tubes (C), noise from the stairs (D), and aircraft noise (E). (Berglund et al. 1977: 89)
(A), (B) and (E) are broadly anthropophonic, (C) concerns infrasound, and (D) is most likely related to strepitation.

Elman, Donald, Duane C. Schulte and Allen Bukoff 1977. Effects of facial expression and stare duration on walking speed: Two field experiments. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior 2(2): 93-99.

In a series of field experiments Ellsworth, Carlsmith, and Henson (1972) ddemonstrated that a stare from a stranger caused drivers and pedestrians to cross an intersection faster than they normally do. The authors concluded that a stranger's stare is aversive and produces an escape response, at least in a public outdoor setting. More recent evidence suggests that under certain circumstances a stare does not lead to flight; instead it may prompt approach or prosocial behavior (Ellsworth & Langer, 1976; Snyder, Grether, & Keller, 1974). (Elman, Schulte & Bukoff 1977: 93)
Stares are indeed polysemic and have very different effects in different circumstances.
One such factor is the facial expression of the starer. For example, a stare from a smiling face may produce a different response than the unsmiling gaze used by Ellsworth et al. A smile might counteract or even reverse the effect of a stare alone. (Some might feel that the term stare necessarily implies an unsmiling face. However, the operational definition of stare commonly used in this type of research - a fixed, steady gaze - is equally compabitle with a smile.) (Elman, Schulte & Bukoff 1977: 93-94)
This seems like one of the reasons why Ekman & Friesen tried to avoid "inferences" in descriptions. "a fixed, steady gaze" doesn't have connotations of a certain facial expression while "stare" does.
Overall, these studies suggest two significant limitations of the stare-escape effect for walkers in public settings. First, a stare must last for at least 10 to 15 seconds before it noticeably increases walking speed. This finding was interpreted as due to the time sequired for attributing meaning to a stare. Second, the mere fact of being looked at does not automatically lead to escape, even after a long gaze. In Experiment 2 only when the starer was not smiling did such an effect occur. When the strarer smiled, subjects did not change their pace appreciably. Although direct measurement of subjective responses was not feasible in these studies, a reasonable inference is that a smile mitigated the implied threat of a long stare. If possible, future research should attempt to incorporate a method of measuring covert as well as overt reactions to another's nonverbal behavior. (Elman, Schulte & Bukoff 1977: 98-99)
I have no idea how knowledge of how fast people would escape from you if you stare at them for too long is important at all.

Maines, David R. 1977. Tactile relationships in the subway as affected by racial, sexual, and crowded seating situations. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior 2(2): 100-108.

Fried and DeFazio (1974), for instance, stated that "the subway is one of the few places in a large urban center where all races and religions and most social classes are confronted with one another and with the same situation" (p. 50).
While this statement is essentially true, the assumption was that such heterogeneity had no effect upon territoriality, and, in fact, these authors expressly regarded such differentiation as "natural randomness" (p. 50). (Maines 1977: 100-101)
"Natural randomness" is a good term. Lotman's major works could be re-read with heterogeneity and randomness in mind.
Leichty (1975) sought to examine the dimensions of tactile relationships and suggested that just as there are universes of discourse and appearance so are there "universes of touch." There are norms concerning interpersonal and situational expectations regarding who may touch one another, when, in what degree of involvement, and with what kind of imputed meaning. Matters of identity are crucial in such relationships, and touching becomes an activity to be managed and negotiated insofar as it contributes to and is predicated upon the establishment of certain identities (Emerson, 1970). Just as "space speaks" (Hall, 1959), so does touch speak in that it can announce who we are and something about our intentions. But touch also listens. It can provide others with a basis for imputing identities and intentionality to us (Montagu, 1971). (Maines 1977: 101)
The "universes of touch" seems like a flimsy metaphor. I like universes of discourse, but there's a component of distanciation in it - universes of discourse are verbal and semantic universes. To imply that there are nonverbal and episodic (in a loose Tulvingian sense) universes seems weird.
Levine et al. (1973, p. 212) have observed that there is a "taboo against physical contact" in the subway. On the basis of the evidence presented in this paper, that observation must be qualified to exclude same-race and same-sex relationships where the frequency of arm and hand touching was not statistically different from nontouching. The term "taboo," in fact, is inappropriate in describing subway tactile relationships since it refers to deeply embedded value structures. (Maines 1977: 106)
By this merit there are other cases where "taboo" is used too loosely. I can only quibble that the phrase does not read "deeply embedded cultural value structures".

Russell, James A. and Albert Mehrabian 1977. Environmental Effects on Drug Use. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior 2(2): 109-123.

Among drug researchers the environment has typically meant either drug availability or various sociocultural factors. However, currently there is increasing awareness of environmental variables, such as crowding, noise level, pollution, and urban design, as additional determinants of psychological dysfunctions, antisocial behavior, and drug use. The present paper suggests a conceptualization of these environmental effects upon drug use using emotions as the mediating link: both environments and drugs can alter emotions. Various physical settings may elicit a wide range of emotions, including anxiety, anger, depression, frustration, elation, and boredom. Further, it is possible to describe systematically effects of environmental variables (e.g., colors, lighting intensity, temperature, loudness of noise) on emotions (Mehrabian & Russell, 1974a, chap. 4). (Russell & Mehrabian 1977: 109)
Is there anything that can't alter emotions? Mehrabian studies so weird things. I'm assuming that for this paper he got funding from drug research (yup, the footnote reads: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism).
"Western man uses an awesome variety of substances to manipulate his mood, affect, energy level, and sense of well-being" (Leavitt, 1974, p. 43). (Russell & Mehrabian 1977: 110)
For me personally these are food supplements, e.g., vitamins. The reference: Leavitt, F. 1974. Drugs and behavior. Philadelphia: Saunders.
Other available research, however, has helped delimit relatively independent (orthogonal) dimensions of emotion. The three most consistently identified dimensions are pleasure-displeasure (also termed evaluation, hedonic tone, euphoria-dysphoria, or the positive-negative quality of emotion), level of arousal (also termed activation, energy level, or responsiveness), and dominance-submissiveness (also termed power, aggressiveness, or potency). These three have been found in numerous studies of the basic dimensions of emotion [...] (Russell & Mehrabian 1977: 111)
In almost a whole decade Mehrabian couldn't move on from the three-dimensional semantic space approach.
Consistent with Bentler's evidence (1969), the three dimensions were also defined as being bipolar. Thus, pleasure is a continuum ranging from extreme pain or unhappiness at one end to extreme happiness or ecstasy at the other. Arousal ranges from sleep through intermediate states of drowsiness and then alertness to frenzied activity at the opposite extreme. Dominance ranges from extreme submissiveness or lack of control over one's environment to extreme dominance or a feeling of control over it. According to these definitions, a person is always in some emotional state - a state that can be described as some combination of these three basic dimensions or as a point in this three-dimensional emotion space. Emotion, then, does not merely refer to occasional passionate states. (Russell & Mehrabian 1977: 111)
Haha, emotion space! You crack me up, Mehrabian. The definition of emotion here is basically meaningless - it is correlated with semanticity to the degree that it stops being about emotions at all and is actually about verbal self-reports about emotions, which can indeed be given at any given time without actually feeling any emotion. It's about as absurd as Bill O'Reilly's insistence that Christianity is not a religion but is in fact a philosophy.
For instance, Russell and Mehrabian (1974) showed that:
anger = displeasure, high arousal, dominance
anxiety = displeasure, high arousal, submissiveness
Thus, anger is similar to anxiety in its displeasure and high arousal component, but the two are distinguished by their dominant versus submissive qualities, respectively. Other results (Russell & Mehrabian 1977) showed that pleasure, arousal, and dominance values account for almost all of the reliable variance in measures of anger, anxiety, depression, elation, and many other emotional states. (Russell & Mehrabian 1977: 112)
This goes to show that you can contrive anything if you use an effective semantic scheme and refer to yourself at every step. What I don't like about this is the two-dimensional variables of this three-dimensional scheme. There is no neutral. Because of this, dominance and submissiveness, for example, are almost violently introduced to some emotions ("relaxation = pleasure, low arousal, dominance" below - as if you can't relax and be submissive, or completely outside of measure of dominance).
LSD users have reported both heightened pleasure and extreme displeasure. Therefore, we would assume it to be neutral with respect to this dimension, that is, to have no direct relationship to pleasure. However, LSD is a central nervous system stimulant and is, therefore, arousing. It also seems to lower dominance. This last hypothesis is derived from observations that LSD produces fear and flight and lowers the incidence of violence (Siegel, 1971). (Russell & Mehrabian 1977: 114)
So you can actually admit a neutrality? The reference: Siegel, R. K. 1971. Studies in hallucinogens in fish, mice and men: The behavior of "psychedelic" populations. In: O. Vinar, Z. Votava, & P. B. Bradley (Eds.), Advnaces in Neuropsychopharmacology. Amsterdam: North-Holland Publishing.
Alcohol in large doses lowers arousal, as measured verbally, behaviorally, and physiologically. But evidence indicates that alcohol in small doses raises pleasure, arousal, and dominance levels (Russell & Mehrabian, 1975). (Russell & Mehrabian 1977: 114-115)
"It'll make you feel different than you usually do, in a good way. But the next day it'll feel like you were poisoned, which you were. So don't be surprised or complain to us about it!" (If Beer Ads Were Forced to Be Honest - Beer Commercial Parody by Cracked)
No general preference for dominance versus submissiveness is hypothesized. (Russell & Mehrabian 1977: 118)
10 pages in he finally realizes how unnecessary this preference is for emotions.
Along the same lines, stressful places (those that make people feel unpleasant, overaroused, and submissive) should lead to preferences for drugs that increase pleasure, decrease arousal, and also increase dominance. (Russell & Mehrabian 1977: 120)
This is actually a pretty good characterization of stressful places. But most people probably aren't as rational and semantically calculating in their drug use as this paper seems to suggest.
[...] our framework would suggest that a depressed or bored person who uses hallucinogens would only do so in pleasant and reassuring places. (Russell & Mehrabian 1977: 121)
This is surprisingly good advice.


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