Nonverbal Communication Across Cultures[EM1] Aim of the Literature Review

Nonverbal Communication Across CulturesEM1 Aim of the Literature ReviewThe main purpose of choosing the topic of nonverbalcommunication across cultures is to gain an understanding of the relationshipbetween the nonverbal communication, as a universally understood and recognizedmean of communication, and cultural differences.This literature review soughtalso to grasp the likeness and dissimilarities in nonverbal commutation anddemonstrate how culture influences nonverbal communication.

           In order to achieve these aims, thepaper will summarize the studies conducted by Peter A. Andersen on the impactof cultural differences on nonverbal communication, and the linking betweencultures and nonverbal communication.As a human being, we need to communicate with each other in order toshare information, ask questions, express ourselves and so forth. So peoplecommunicate verbally by using words and sounds, they communicate alsononverbally by sending visible messages produced by some means other thanwords.Nonverbal communication serves not only to complementverbal communication, but it’s used to legalize meaning and reinforceinformation. The main difference between verbal and nonverbal communication isthe interpretation, because verbal communication is understood in the same waydespite geographic or cultural change.

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However, nonverbal communication isinterpreted differently, affected by the differences in cultural backgroundsand societal norms.Achieving the literature review aim, which is theunderstanding of the relationship between nonverbal communication and cultures,Goes firstly through, a definition of nonverbal communication, determining itskey functions and its types.  Secondly,through the study of the influence of cultural interpretation of nonverbalcommunication. Nonverbal Communication Defined                VariousEM2  and many studies had been conducted on the field of communication and especially nonverbal communication. Many definitions are given to nonverbal communication by different authors and specialists: such as Matsumoto and Poyatos. Matsumoto defined the nonverbalEM3  communication as the “transfer and exchange of messages in any and all modalities that do not involve words” (Matsumoto et al., 2013, p.

4).            Nonverbalcommunication is considered as a key component which makes the discussion ofcommunication complete, so its plays the role of the complement to the verbalcommunication, or could simply accent a particular part of a spoken verbalcommunication. Nonverbal communication can be used also as a regulator forverbal communication, its helps to keep the verbal communication organized andthe conversation efficient.               According to Poyatos (2002, p. xvii),  nonverbal communication is defined as “the emission of signs by all the nonlexical, artifactual and environmental sensible sign systems contained in the realm of culture, whether individually or in mutual co-structuration, and whether or not those emissions constitute behavior or generate interaction.

”               According to Payatos’ studies and other researches made in the field of nonverbal communication, culture plays a major role in guiding and modifying nonverbal communication.Functions of Nonverbal Communication Determining the nonverbal communication’sfunctions might help us ruling out the doubt of the misunderstanding. In thisfield, many researches and studies had been conducted in order to determine thefunctions of nonverbal communication. Among them Jandt who distinguishes themajor functions of nonverbal communication:            Substituting for verbal messages: Nonverbalcommunication can be used to substitute or replace the spoken communication byutilizing emblems, this function plays a key role when verbal communication isnot effective because of language barriers. This function is commonly used in our daily lives  especially while expressing some specific feelinglike sorrow for losing someone, or when nonverbal cues are universally understood.Sending uncomfortable messages: some messages are noteasy to express verbally, but they can be expressed comfortably in nonverbalways.

This function is commonly used in our personal and professional liveswhen verbal communication would be disturbing. ( eg: Getting someone’sattention could be smoothly and politely expressed by a hand gesture ratherthan verbally.Assisting in making relationships clear: Nonverbal messages wesend and receive in our daily life could influence and affect our relationshipspositively or negatively, depending of our skills on encoding and decodingnonverbal communication.Types of Nonverbal Communication              Nonverbal communication, justlike language, is clustered into various types.  John T. Warren, Deanna L. Fassett  (Communication: A Critical/CulturalIntroduction) concluded that there are avariety of nonverbal communication types, but according to theme there are fivemeaningful and useful aspects of nonverbal communication which are : (1) Chronemics: ” is the study of how time functions arepart of communication ( …..

158)Peter .A. Anderson classified time into variouscategories including, biological, personal, physical and cultural time. (2) Haptics:” is the study of the significance of touch” (…158) . It’s considered among themost efficient types on nonverbal communication, because it has a differentinterpretation depending on the context and it varies cross culturally as well.( touch a family member differs from touching a new acquaintance or a colleague…).(3) Proxemics: “is the study of how people use space to communicate,including their relative (dis)confort with intrusions into their personal space”.

( …159). Understanding how proxemic functions in nonverbal communication, goesthrough an examination of proxemic distances associated to personal space, whichis deeply related to cultural backgrounds of people.  (4) kinesics: ” the study of kinesics addresses our gestures, movements, and facialexpressions.” ( …161). Its considered among the most keen forms on nonverbalcommunication, because it encloses behaviors like : ( shaking hands, making eyecontact, nodding, and so forth…). (5) Vocalics: “The study ofparalanguage, which includes the vocal qualities that go along with verbalmessages, such as pitch, volume, rate, vocal quality, and verbal fillers”.

 Culture and Nonverbal Communication           Variousresearches and studies were conducted in the field of communication todetermine the linking between culture and nonverbal communication. Thesestudies demonstrated a strong relationship and a clear influence of culture onnonverbal communication.Cultureand  Non-Verbal CommunicationAccording to AndersonEM4 , most nonverbalcommunications reflect a clear imprint of culture. In his research he pointsout the role and the position of culture in nonverbal communication.

“Cultureshapes the display rules of when, how, what and with whom certain nonverbalexpressions should be revealed or suppressed and dictates which displays areappropriate in which specific situations” (year, p. #).   So, many researches and studies on the linking betweencultures and nonverbal communication. Civikly(1991), reaffirms that “cultureinfluences non-verbal communication significantly, and in the following ways:Firstly, people of a particular culture act in a particular culturally acquiredway in interpersonal and social settings”.. Anderson demonstrates, by offeringa synopsis of nonverbal communication and its relevance to culture. He analyzeswhat he called “the eight basic codes of nonverbal communication: physicalappearance, space and distance, time, facial expressions, movements, gestures,touch, eye contact and gaze, paralanguage, and smell”. His studies show a realinfluence of culture of the eight codes on nonverbal communication, forinstance, in physical appearance, which is considered as the most externallyobvious nonverbal code, and covers relatively stable physical features of humanbeing (gender, height, weight…).

For example, hairstyles vary generally acrosscultures and across timeEM5 .According to Anderson, people with different culturalbackgrounds use dissimilarly the distance and the personal space (proxemics).This difference is clearly distinguished among people belonging to Latin andMediterranean cultures, who maintain close and short distance, and people fromEuropean and north Asian cultures who keep greater distances.     Time, or theperception of time, is another component of nonverbal communication which isdramatically influenced by culture differences.

The value that people give tothe perception of time and its interpretation changes and varies from oneculture to another. For instance, people with African culture backgrounds seemsto not care much about time and interpret it differently , compared to Europeanand north Asian cultures.Finally, researches reveal that people who belong todifferent cultures have various facial expressions and different manners ofexpressing emotions. This difference is explained by the nonverbal “accent”contained in facial expression, which could identify the culture or thenationality of the expresser. Conclusion            Nonverbal communication plays a keyrole in complementing, accenting and regulation verbal communication. It hasmany functions and types which makes it rich and challenging at the sametime.  The reason why people should beaware of these challenges in order to communicate effectively.

            The most challenging aspect ofunderstanding nonverbal communication across cultures is the interpretation,because nonverbal cues are deeply affected by the differences in culturalbackgrounds and social norms. Each culture has its proper rules that affect thepeople’s behavior, in general and nonverbal communication in a particular way.           Personally, and despite the studiesmade in the field of the influence of culture on nonverbal communication, Ithink that nonverbal communication across still be a challenging field becauseit’s deeply affected by culture which is in permanent change.             ReferencesEM6 Jandt, FE. 1998.Intercultural communication: An introduction.

Thousand Oaks, Calif: Sage.  Jandt, FE. 2007. An introductionto intercultural communication: Identities in a global community. 5th edition.Thousand Oaks, Calif: Sage.Poyatos, F. 2002.

Nonverbal communication across disciplines: Culture, sensory interaction,speech, conversation (volume 1). Amsterdam: John Benjamin Publishing Company.A Primer onCommunication Studies, Available on https://2012books.lardbucket.

org/books/a-primer-on-communication-studies/InterculturalCommunication: A Reader: 13 Edition ARRY A. SAMOVAR RICHARD E. PORTER , EDWINR. MCDANIEL  EM1There was no need for a table ofcontents, and since the numerical organization isn’t APA style, I deleted it. EM2I tried to change the formattinghere, but yuo have several left margin tabs, which made it impossible. EM3Use one spelling of nonverbalcommunication and use only that one spelling throughout the text.

 EM4Only last name(s), year, and ifquoting, page number(s) in APA citations. Here is the OWL’s page on citationsin APA style :  EM5In this section you’re doing abetter job of sythesizing the literature. J EM6Your references aren’t APA-compliant. Here is theOWL’s page on references in APA style: And here is the OWL’s page on electronic references inAPA: