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Nonverbal expressions of emotions are not consciously controlled, lending them to being more basal and honest. “It is difficult to bring nonverbal behavior under conscious control. […] The behavior is automatic, an unconscious reflex.” (Berko et al 100) Researchers from Darwin to Leathers have studied the universality outward display of emotions and how they can be nonverbally expressed through facial expressions, stature, and the eyes.
Facial expression is by nature a basal response. Looking at the face to read these basal emotional responses starts in infancy. All cultures and societal groups look to the face to gauge the emotionality of a particular situation. “People have learned, usually unconsciously, specific cultural norms regarding the amount and variety of facial expressions to reveal.” (109)
Stature and posture are also nonverbal communication. In most cultures taller is superior. Men who are six foot two inches and taller receive higher starting salaries and are perceived as more capable. “Many jobs, from flight attendant to police officer, have traditionally required a certain minimum height.” (103) Research shows that North American men under five foot seven inches are more than seventy percent more likely to have a heart attack. (Netdoc.co.uk) Also, people who slouch are perceived as less intelligent or as lazy. Whereas, height is heredity, stature is under your control.
Eye contact is the best way to increase sensitivity to the communicative function of the face. Culturally there are strong connotations to eye contact and gaze holding. In most, direct eye contact is always determined to be a sign of interest, though, what type of interest is not always the same.
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