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Psychology Applied to Modern Life, Eighth Edition, Weiten and Lloyd
Chapter 7
Chapter 7
Interpersonal Communication
Psychology Applied to Modern Life, Eighth Edition, Weiten and Lloyd
Chapter 7
The Process of Interpersonal Communication
•
Interpersonal communication is “an
interactional process in which one person sends
a message to another.”
– It involves at least two people.
– It is a process involving a series of actions.
– It is not “one-way”, but bi-directional.
Psychology Applied to Modern Life, Eighth Edition, Weiten and Lloyd
Chapter 7
Components of the Communication Process
•
Any communication has the following
elements:
1. The sender – person conveying the
message.
2. The message – information conveyed.
3. The channel – sensory channel used.
4. The noise – anything that interferes with
the expression or understanding of the
message.
5. The context – environment in which
communication takes place.
Psychology Applied to Modern Life, Eighth Edition, Weiten and Lloyd
Chapter 7
Technology and Interpersonal Communication
•
•
Technology has changed the way we
communicate – from a face-to-face context
only, to wireless, electronic communications.
Although technology offers convenience,
there are some disadvantages:
• Overlap between work and home.
• Intrusion of private conversations into
public spaces.
• Absence of non-verbal cues that convey
meaning in face-to-face interactions.
Psychology Applied to Modern Life, Eighth Edition, Weiten and Lloyd
Chapter 7
Communication and Adjustment
•
•
•
Communication with others is an essential
aspect of our lives and has a large impact on
adjustment.
Good communication enhances satisfaction
in relationships.
Poor communication is a major cause of
relationship break-ups.
Psychology Applied to Modern Life, Eighth Edition, Weiten and Lloyd
Chapter 7
Nonverbal Communication
•
•
Nonverbal communication – “is the
transmission of meaning from one person to
another through means or symbols other
than words”.
A great deal of information is conveyed in this
manner, so it is important to recognize the
general principles of nonverbal
communication.
Psychology Applied to Modern Life, Eighth Edition, Weiten and Lloyd
Chapter 7
Nonverbal Communication (cont.)
•
General principles of nonverbal communication.
1. It is multichanneled: we use facial
expressions, gestures, eye contact, vocal
tone and body language.
2. It is ambiguous; body language can be
difficult to interpret.
3. It conveys emotions; facial expressions and
body posture can convey how we feel without
words.
Psychology Applied to Modern Life, Eighth Edition, Weiten and Lloyd
Chapter 7
Nonverbal Communication (cont.)
•
General principles of nonverbal communication.
(cont.)
4. It may contradict verbal messages; we may
say one thing, but our body conveys
something different.
5. It is culture-bound; nonverbal signals vary
from one culture to another.
Psychology Applied to Modern Life, Eighth Edition, Weiten and Lloyd
Chapter 7
Elements of Nonverbal Communication
1. Personal space
•
•
Proxemics - “is the study of personal space,
or a zone of space surrounding a person that
is felt to ‘belong’ to that person”.
Preference for amount of personal space
depends on:
•
•
•
Culture (see Figure 7.3).
Status of the individuals involved.
How well you know the person.
Psychology Applied to Modern Life, Eighth Edition, Weiten and Lloyd
Chapter 7
Figure 7.3
Psychology Applied to Modern Life, Eighth Edition, Weiten and Lloyd
Chapter 7
Elements of Nonverbal Communication (cont.)
2. Facial expression
•
•
•
Facial expressions convey basic emotions,
recognized by people around the world.
However, there are culture-specific norms,
called display rules, that govern the
expression of emotion.
There are also gender differences in
expression of emotion, with most males
showing less expression than do females.
Psychology Applied to Modern Life, Eighth Edition, Weiten and Lloyd
Chapter 7
Elements of Nonverbal Communication (cont.)
3. Eye contact
•
•
•
Duration of eye contact is the most
meaningful aspect of this channel of
nonverbal communication.
Among European Americans, high levels of
eye contact are associated with effective
social skills and credibility.
However, eye contact is judged as offensive
by other cultures (e.g., Native American
tribes).
Psychology Applied to Modern Life, Eighth Edition, Weiten and Lloyd
Chapter 7
Elements of Nonverbal Communication (cont.)
3. Eye contact (cont.)
•
Eye contact also conveys intensity of feelings.
•
•
•
In a positive context (e.g., romantic
partners) long gazes signal loving feelings,
but
In a negative context (e.g., road rage) long
gazes are interpreted as stares, and they
make people uncomfortable.
Finally, eye contact is affected by status and
gender (see Figure 7.5).
Psychology Applied to Modern Life, Eighth Edition, Weiten and Lloyd
Chapter 7
Figure 7.5
Psychology Applied to Modern Life, Eighth Edition, Weiten and Lloyd
Chapter 7
Elements of Nonverbal Communication (cont.)
4. Body language
•
Kinesics – “is the study of communication
through body movements”.
•
•
•
An “open” posture (e.g., arms uncrossed
and down at sides) conveys a relaxed
state, whereas
A “closed” posture (arms crossed) conveys
defensiveness or tension.
Finally, hand gestures emphasize the
words we speak.
Psychology Applied to Modern Life, Eighth Edition, Weiten and Lloyd
Chapter 7
Elements of Nonverbal Communication (cont.)
5. Touch
•
Where and whom we touch conveys a variety
of meanings, especially status and power.
•
•
•
There are strong norms that govern where
we touch friends.
Female-female pairs touch more often than
do male-male pairs.
Cross-gender touch is interpreted as
support by females, but as power or sexual
interest by males.
Psychology Applied to Modern Life, Eighth Edition, Weiten and Lloyd
Chapter 7
Elements of Nonverbal Communication (cont.)
6. Paralanguage
•
Paralanguage – “refers to how something is
said rather than to what is said”.
•
•
Variations in vocal emphasis can give
different meanings to the same words.
Variations in speech also convey emotions
(e.g., rapid speech indicates anxiety or
excitement).
Psychology Applied to Modern Life, Eighth Edition, Weiten and Lloyd
Chapter 7
Detecting Deception
•
Nonverbal cues that actually indicate deception
are often different from those most people
believe indicate deception (see Figure 7.7).
– For example:
• Liars often say less, not more.
• Liars are not necessarily good “story
tellers” and include less unusual content in
stories.
• Liars are more tense and make a more
negative impression on the listener.
Psychology Applied to Modern Life, Eighth Edition, Weiten and Lloyd
Chapter 7
Figure 7.7
Psychology Applied to Modern Life, Eighth Edition, Weiten and Lloyd
Chapter 7
The Significance of Nonverbal Communication
•
Nonverbal communication plays a key role in
interpersonal relationships in the following ways:
– Although we may not say that we dislike
someone, negative feelings “leak through”
nonverbal channels.
– Accurately reading others’ emotions is related
to social and academic competence, even in
children.
Psychology Applied to Modern Life, Eighth Edition, Weiten and Lloyd
Chapter 7
Toward More Effective Communication
•
Tips for creating a positive interpersonal climate:
1. Learn to feel and communicate empathy.
2. Practice withholding judgment.
3. Strive for honesty.
4. Approach others as equals.
5. Express your opinions tentatively.
Psychology Applied to Modern Life, Eighth Edition, Weiten and Lloyd
Chapter 7
Toward More Effective Communication (cont.)
•
Conversation skills: five steps for making
successful “small talk”:
1. Indicate you are open to conversation by
commenting on your surroundings.
2. Introduce yourself.
3. Select a topic others can relate to.
4. Keep the conversation ball rolling.
5. Make a smooth exit.
Psychology Applied to Modern Life, Eighth Edition, Weiten and Lloyd
Chapter 7
Toward More Effective Communication (cont.)
•
Self-Disclosure – “the act of sharing information
about yourself with another person” – is
important to adjustment for several reasons.
1. Sharing problems with others plays a key role
in mental health.
2. Emotional self-disclosures lead to feelings of
closeness.
3. Self-disclosure in romantic relationships is
associated with relationship satisfaction.
Psychology Applied to Modern Life, Eighth Edition, Weiten and Lloyd
Chapter 7
Toward More Effective Communication (cont.)
•
Self disclosure and relationship development.
– Self-disclosure varies over the course of
relationships.
•
At the beginning, there are high levels of
mutual self-disclosure, which taper off as
the relationship becomes established.
•
In established relationships, disclosures
are not necessarily reciprocated.
Psychology Applied to Modern Life, Eighth Edition, Weiten and Lloyd
Chapter 7
Toward More Effective Communication (cont.)
•
Movement away from reciprocal selfdisclosures in established relationships
occurs for two reasons:
– There is more of a need for support,
than a reciprocal disclosure from the
other person.
– The need for privacy outweighs the
need for mutual self-disclosure.
Psychology Applied to Modern Life, Eighth Edition, Weiten and Lloyd
Chapter 7
Toward More Effective Communication (cont.)
•
Culture, gender, and self-disclosure.
– Personal self-disclosures occur more in
individualistic cultures, whereas disclosures
about one’s group membership are the norm
in collectivist cultures.
– Females tend to disclose more than do
males, and this trend is strongest within
same-gender friendships.
Psychology Applied to Modern Life, Eighth Edition, Weiten and Lloyd
Chapter 7
Toward More Effective Communication (cont.)
•
Tips for Effective Listening.
1. Signal your interest in the speaker by using
nonverbal cues:
•
•
•
•
Face the speaker squarely.
Lean toward them.
Try not to cross arms and legs.
Maintain eye contact.
Psychology Applied to Modern Life, Eighth Edition, Weiten and Lloyd
Chapter 7
Toward More Effective Communication (cont.)
•
Tips for Effective Listening. (cont.)
2. Hear the other person out before you
respond.
3. Engage in “active listening” by:
•
Asking for clarification if information is
ambiguous.
•
Paraphrasing what the person said by stating the
speaker’s main points back to them to ensure you
have interpreted correctly.
4. Pay attention to the other’s nonverbal cues.
Psychology Applied to Modern Life, Eighth Edition, Weiten and Lloyd
Chapter 7
Communication Problems
•
Communication apprehension – “or anxiety
caused by having to talk with others” is usually
followed by one, of four, responses:
1. Avoidance – choosing not to participate.
2. Withdrawal – “clamming up” in conversation
you cannot escape.
3. Disruption – the inability to make fluent
statements.
4. Overcommunication – (e.g., nervous speech).
Psychology Applied to Modern Life, Eighth Edition, Weiten and Lloyd
Chapter 7
Communication Problems (cont.)
•
Barriers to effective communication.
1. Defensiveness – excessive concern with
protecting oneself from being hurt.
2. Motivational distortion – hearing what you
want to hear.
3. Self-preoccupation – being so self-absorbed
the other person cannot equally participate.
4. Game playing – manipulating the interaction,
or concealing your real motives for a selfish
purpose.
Psychology Applied to Modern Life, Eighth Edition, Weiten and Lloyd
Chapter 7
Interpersonal Conflict
•
Beliefs about conflict.
– Most people believe any kind of conflict is
bad.
– However, avoiding conflict is usually counterproductive and leads to a self-perpetuating
cycle (see Figure 7.10).
– It is better to confront conflicts constructively
so that issues can be aired and resolved.
Psychology Applied to Modern Life, Eighth Edition, Weiten and Lloyd
Chapter 7
Figure 7.10
Psychology Applied to Modern Life, Eighth Edition, Weiten and Lloyd
Chapter 7
•
Interpersonal Conflict (cont.)
Five types of conflict:
1. Pseudoconflict – false conflict from game
playing.
2. Fact-based conflict.
3. Policy conflict – disagreement about how to
handle a situation.
4. Value-based conflict – disagreement that
occurs when people hold opposing values.
5. Ego-based conflict – emphasis on winning
over resolving the conflict.
Psychology Applied to Modern Life, Eighth Edition, Weiten and Lloyd
Chapter 7
Interpersonal Conflict (cont.)
•
Styles of managing conflict:
– Two dimensions (concern for self, and
concern for others) underlie five distinct
patterns of managing conflict (see Figure
7.11).
1. Avoiding/Withdrawing (low concern for
self and others).
2. Accommodating (low concern for self,
high concern for others).
3. Competing/Forcing (high concern for
self, low concern for others).
Psychology Applied to Modern Life, Eighth Edition, Weiten and Lloyd
Chapter 7
Figure 7.11
Psychology Applied to Modern Life, Eighth Edition, Weiten and Lloyd
Chapter 7
Interpersonal Conflict (cont.)
•
Styles of managing conflict: (cont.)
4. Compromising (moderate concern for self
and others).
5. Collaborating (high concern for self and
others).
– While compromising simply involves
“splitting the difference”, collaborating
involves finding a solution that is
maximally satisfying to both parties.
Psychology Applied to Modern Life, Eighth Edition, Weiten and Lloyd
Chapter 7
Interpersonal Conflict (cont.)
•
Dealing constructively with conflict.
– Make communication honest and open.
– Use specific behavior to describe another
person’s annoying habits rather than general
statements about their personality.
– Avoid “loaded” words.
– Use a positive approach and help the other
person “save face”.
Psychology Applied to Modern Life, Eighth Edition, Weiten and Lloyd
Chapter 7
Interpersonal Conflict (cont.)
•
Dealing constructively with conflict. (cont.)
– Limit complaints to recent behavior and to the
current situation.
– Assume responsibility for your own feelings
and preferences.
– Try to use an assertive communication style.
Psychology Applied to Modern Life, Eighth Edition, Weiten and Lloyd
Chapter 7
Public Communication in an Adversarial Culture
•
•
Tannen (1998) describes contemporary America as “the
argument culture” in which there is a growing tendency
to take adversarial positions in almost any public
situation.
Contributing factors include:
1. The self is perceived to be an isolated entity.
2. Americans tend to see things in terms of opposites
(e.g., “good” vs. “bad”).
3. Face-to-face communication is on the decline.
4. Desensitization from exposure to high levels of
physical and verbal aggression in the media.
Psychology Applied to Modern Life, Eighth Edition, Weiten and Lloyd
Chapter 7
Adversarial Culture (cont.)
•
Restoring productive public communication:
– What Can Individuals Do?
1. Tune in to nonverbal signals.
2. Create a positive interpersonal climate.
3. Be a good listener.
4. Overcome the barriers to effective
communication.
Psychology Applied to Modern Life, Eighth Edition, Weiten and Lloyd
Chapter 7
Adversarial Culture (cont.)
– What Can Individuals Do? (cont.)
5. Practice conflict management skills.
6. Parents can help by:
– Limiting their children’s exposure to
physical and verbal aggression.
– Encouraging and rewarding nonaggressive ways of resolving childhood
conflicts.
– Using disciplinary methods that do not
model aggressive behavior.
Psychology Applied to Modern Life, Eighth Edition, Weiten and Lloyd
Chapter 7
Developing an Assertive Communication Style
•
The nature of assertiveness.
– Assertiveness – “involves acting in your own
best interests by expressing your thoughts
and feelings directly and honestly”.
– In contrast, submissive communication
involves “giving in” to others.
•
Individuals who use this style report feeling
bad about being “pushovers”.
Psychology Applied to Modern Life, Eighth Edition, Weiten and Lloyd
Chapter 7
Developing an Assertive Style (cont.)
•
The nature of assertiveness. (cont.)
– Aggressive communication is different from
assertiveness and “focuses on saying and
getting what you want at the expense of
others”.
– Assertive communication is more adaptive
than either submissive, or aggressive
communication, and is a skill that can be
learned through assertiveness training.
Psychology Applied to Modern Life, Eighth Edition, Weiten and Lloyd
Chapter 7
Developing an Assertive Style (cont.)
•
Steps in assertiveness training:
1. Understand what assertive communication is.
•
Don’t forget about nonverbal cues.
2. Monitor your assertive communication.
•
Identify when you are not assertive, find
out who intimidates you, on what topics,
and in which situations.
Psychology Applied to Modern Life, Eighth Edition, Weiten and Lloyd
Chapter 7
Developing an Assertive Style (cont.)
•
Steps in assertiveness training: (cont.)
3. Observe a model’s assertive communication.
4. Practice assertive communication by using:
•
Covert rehearsal – imagine using
assertiveness in a situation that requires it.
•
Role playing – ask a friend to play the role
of an antagonist so you can practice.
5. Adopt an assertive attitude.
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