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Specification of nonverbal behaviors for clinical assessment

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Abstract

Nine categories of nonverbal behavior (extremity movements, self-manipulations, facial expression, posture, orienting, gestures, voice quality/tone, speech rate/pressure, and sense of timing) were tested in a standardized role play situation of social skills. Each category was judged using a new “midi-level” system of assessment which permitted specification of component behaviors but allowed observers to make single ratings at the ends of videotaped episodes. The midi-level measurements were as reliable and practical as more traditional global measures of social skill and social anxiety. Midis were superior to globals (i.e., single overall ratings of skill and anxiety) in terms of predicting physiological indices of social anxiety. Voice quality/tone and sense of timing appeared to be the best predictors of criterion social skill measures and self-manipulations, extremity movements, and gestures had the highest weights in predicting criterion measures of social anxiety.

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Boice, R., Monti, P.M. Specification of nonverbal behaviors for clinical assessment. J Nonverbal Behav 7, 79–94 (1982). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00986870

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