Show Summary Details
Page of

Nonverbal Communication 

Nonverbal Communication
Nonverbal Communication

Alfonso Troisi

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD MEDICINE ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Medicine Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 18 May 2021

Humans use two different means to exchange information: language and nonverbal communication. Often nonverbal signals emphasize and specify what is being said with words. Yet sometimes they collide, and the words are contradicted by what seeps through facial expression, gesture, and posture. This chapter discusses two theoretical frameworks for studying these nonverbal behaviors. The first approach (the emotional model) aims at unveiling the emotional state from facial expression and gesture. The second approach (the behavioral ecology model) analyzes the social meaning of nonverbal behavior, regardless of the emotional state of the sender of nonverbal signals. The two models are not incompatible and can be integrated to study nonverbal behavior. Yet, the behavioral ecology model explains some findings that are not accounted for by the emotional model. The final part of the chapter deals with neuropsychiatric conditions, such as Williams syndrome and prosopagnosia, that alter the encoding and decoding of nonverbal signals. The impact of these conditions on real-life social behavior can be dramatic, which shows the adaptive relevance of nonverbal communication.

Access to the complete content on Oxford Medicine Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.