Communication: Chapter 5
Communication is crucial
in close relationships.
Researchers who use the
talk tablemethod (pre-rating your intentions and the receivers perceptions)
have shown that unhappy partners miscommunicate more often than happy partners
An interpersonal gap
occurs when a senders intentions differ from the effect it has on the
A Model of Interpersonal Communication
Intentions (private)ΰEncoding (influenced by senders social skills, mood,
distractions in environment, and inner distractions)ΰSenders Actions
(public and observable)ΰReceptionΰInfluenced by
Listeners style of Decoding, mood, distractions etc.ΰ Effect on the
carry much information.
of nonverbal communication according to Patterson:
You open the door and
the Prize Patrol is outside. You have
just won the $20 million dollar Publisher's Clearinghouse Award. You are HAPPY!
You go to the cafeteria
for lunch and are about to bite into your salad when you see a huge hard-backed
cockroach crawling in the lettuce
..antennae waving. You are DISGUSTED!
You find out that your
pet cat of 19 years was run over by a Mack truck. You are SAD!
You find out that your
girlfriend/boyfriend is sleeping with your best friend. You are ANGRY!
You are walking across
campus at 2 A.M. You hear footsteps and
heavy breathing right behind you. You
You find out that you
and your instructor are long lost cousins.
You are SURPRISED! (Hopefully not disgusted or saddened!).
1. Facial Expressions
were recognized cross-culturally
Ways people change their emotional expressions:
Display rules can sometimes get in the way of expressing certain
expressions (exaggerating them)
expressions (less emotional)
mask their expressions
(replacing another emotional expression)
Trying to disguise our
emotions is not easy.
Micro-emotions can give
our true emotions away.
2. Gazing Behavior
Gazing helps define
Direction and amount of
eye contact can also provide information about someones emotional state.
Lots of gazing takes
place between intimate partners, conveying affection, but can also convey
High-status people have
a higher VDR than low-status people do. 60/40 as opposed to 40/60.
3. Body Language
movements often accompany spoken words and can sometimes replace verbal
language. More difficult to control than vl.
vary a great deal from culture to culture. Ex. OK in middle east.
postures can also convey information such as sexual orientation and status.
Touch can signal
affection and intimacy, but also signal dominance.
Men and women react
differently to touch.
Whitcher & Fisher
(1979) found that women who were touched gently by a nurse the night before
surgery reacted calmly and experienced lower blood pressure.
Men reacted anxiously
and experienced elevated blood pressure.
In general, men touch
women more than women touch men.
5.Interpersonal Distance &Zones
The physical distance
between two people is known as interpersonal distance.
The intimate zone is the
distance that extends about a foot-and-a-half from peoples chests and is
usually seen in close relationships (or hostile confrontations).
The personal zone is the
distance that extends about 2 to 4 feet from someones chest and is usually
involved in conversation among friends.
More about Zones
social zone is involved in businesslike conversations and extends about 4 to 12
feet from someone.
public zone extends beyond 12 feet and is seen during public interactions.
cultures, genders, and social status people exhibit different preferences for
Variations in a persons
voice such as pitch, rhythm and loudness are known as paralanguage.
Baby talk is used when
speaking to infants, pets and sometimes lovers.
Women tend to use more
submissive paralanguage when speaking to mix-sex groups than men do.
cues us as to how intimate a relationship is.
Nonverbal accuracy has
been shown to predict relationship satisfaction.
Noller (1980) found that
husbands in unhappy marriages had more deficits in encoding and decoding
messages than happy husbands did. She did not find those differences with the
Nonverbal skills may
determine relationship satisfaction. Or
satisfaction my determine motivation to work at communicating well.
problems may be caused by skill deficits, when someone does not know how to
communicate clearly, or performance deficits, when someone knows how to
communicate clearly but does not do so with a certain partner.
Ex. Skill deficits
Rapists misread negative feelings like distaste & displeasure when
expressed by women.
Abusive mothers have
difficulty identifying distress in their infants, sometimes seeing negative
emotions as positive.
Sex-Differences in Nonverbal Communication
While individual sex
differences are not very significant overall, sex differences in nonverbal
communication are remarkable.
Women tend to behave
more like low-status people than men do, smile more, lower VDRs and lower
While the reasons for
this are not clear, it is evident that sex differences in how they behave
nonverbally influences how others view them.
Verbal communication is
an important part of close relationships and is very much involved in the
development of intimacy.
the process of revealing
personal information to someone.
Most relationships start
out with exchanges in superficial information and gradually move to exchanges
in more intimate information.
Are You a High " Opener?"
agree nor disagree
People frequently tell me about
I've been told that I'm a very good
I'm very accepting of others.
People trust me with their secrets.
easily get people to "open up."
6. People feel relaxed around me.
7. I enjoy listening to people.
8. I'm sympathetic to people's problems.
9. I encourage people to tell me how they are
can keep people talking about themselves.
Women mean score is 31,
Mens is 28.
Mean + 5 you are a high
Mean 5 score is rather low
Generally women are
better openers than men.
People who elicit
self-disclosure from others tend to be more attentive and express interest
verbally and non-verbally, and enjoy conversations.
The Social Penetration Theory
(Altman & Taylor)
States that development
of a relationship is closely linked to systematic changes in communication.
In breadth and
According to the theory,
a relationship starts out with a few topics being discussed and only
superficial information being exchanged.
As the relationship
progresses, more topics are discussed and more personal information is
exchanged. But Breadth usually advances faster than Depth.
Is It Gradual?
self-disclosure is often seen in the beginning of a relationship. How much varies from relationship to
As relationships become
more intimate, partners want less reciprocity and more responsiveness.
(understanding, caring, support, acceptance)
Although some people
caution against early self-disclosure, in general, it seems best to decide for
oneself how much and when to self-disclose, taking the context and ones
partner into account.
matters that may threaten the quality of the relationship.
common taboo subject the relationship itself!! 68% acknowledge this
often dont ask about status and future of their relationships, but devise
Tests!! of fidelity and devotion.
Self-Disclosure and Relationship Satisfaction
Self-disclosure tends to
lead to liking and happiness within a relationship.
We reveal more about
ourselves to those we like
We like others more
because we self-disclose
We like to be trusted by
others who self-disclose to us.
Happily married people
self-disclose more than non happy spouses.
Happy spouses use idioms
or specialized words and pet phrases when speaking to each other.
Gender Differences in Verbal Communication
and women do have some differences in verbal communication.
tend to talk more about feelings and people while men talk more about
speak less often and with less forcefulness than men do, while men are more
profane than women.
tend to self-disclose more in intimate relationships than men do, but not in
tend to self-disclose little to other men (even among close friends).
finding is probably due to culture norms since it does not hold true in other
Instrumentality Versus Expressivity
self-disclosure is related to expressivity.
women often think that if their spouse does not complain, everything is fine,
men think that when women do not express their love it means something is
DYSFUNCTIONAL COMMUNICATION AND WHAT TO DO
is evident in unhappy relationships and conversations are often filled with
discontent making matters worse.
couples have difficulties in saying what they mean.
are prone to kitchen-sinking meaning they complain about many things at once.
often leads their conversations to drift off-beam, wandering from topic to
topic and never resolving any one problem.
couples do not hear each other well.
jump to conclusions and they engage in mindreading or assuming they know how
the other person feels and thinks without asking.
interrupt each other in negative ways and engage in cross-complaining when they
fail to acknowledge others concerns.
Negative affect is often
seen in unhappy partners who engage in criticism, display contempt, respond
defensively and sometimes resort to stonewalling.
Researchers are able to
predict (with 83% accuracy) which couples will be divorced six years later by
simply listening to a couples argument for a few minutes.
Saying What We Mean
senders concentrate on specific, concrete actions when they are complaining
a senders message is a good way to listen effectively.
Being Polite and Staying Cool
all couples engage in negative affect reciprocity at times, happy couples break
out of that cycle more quickly than unhappy couples do.
mental scripts and slow breathing can help to neutralize conflicts.
The Power of Respect and Validation
should strive to validate each other by communicating respect and acknowledging
the others point of view.