Effect of individual differences in nonverbal expressiveness on transmission of emotion

Abstract

This study tested the possibility that individual differences in nonverbal expressiveness may function as a mediating factor in the transmission of emotion through social comparison. In a quasi-experimental design, small groups consisting of one expressive person and two unexpressive people were created in which the participants sat facing each other without talking for two minutes. Self-report measures of mood indicated that the feelings of the unexpressive people were influenced by the expressive people but the expressive people were relatively unlikely to be influenced by the unexpressive people. The findings have implications for the role of nonverbal communication in the emotional side of group interaction.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Argyle, M.Bodily communication. New York: International Universities Press, 1975.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Ekman, P., Friesen, W.V., & Ellsworth, P.Emotion in the human face: Guidelines for research and integration of findings. New York: Pergamon Press, Inc., 1972.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Ellsworth, P., Friedman, H. S., Perlick, D., & Hoyt, M. Effects of direct gaze on subjects motivated to seek or avoid social comparison.Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 1978,14, 69–87.

    Google Scholar 

  4. Friedman, H. S. The concept of skill in nonverbal communication: Implications for understanding social interaction. In R. Rosenthal (Ed.)Skill in nonverbal communication. Cambridge, MA: Oelgeschlager, Gunn, & Hain, 1979.

    Google Scholar 

  5. Friedman, H. S., Prince, L. M., Riggio, R. E., & DiMatteo, R. Understanding and assessing nonverbal expressiveness: The Affective Communication Test.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1980,39, 333–351.

    Google Scholar 

  6. Maranon, G. The psychology of gesture.Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 1950,112, 469–497.

    Google Scholar 

  7. Marshall, G.D., & Zimbardo, P. G. Affective consequences of inadequately explained physiological arousal.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1979,37, 970–988.

    Google Scholar 

  8. Riggio, R. E. Verbal and nonverbal cues of deception. Doctoral Dissertation. University of California, Riverside, 1981.

    Google Scholar 

  9. Rosenthal, R. (Ed.)Skill in nonverbal communication. Cambridge, MA: Oelgeschlager, Gunn, & Hain, 1979.

    Google Scholar 

  10. Schachter, S.The psychology of affiliation: Experimental studies of the source of gregariousness. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1959.

    Google Scholar 

  11. Schachter, S., & Singer, J. Cognitive, social and physiological determinants of emotion.Psychological Review, 1962,69, 379–399.

    Google Scholar 

  12. Wrightsman, L.S. Effects of waiting with others on changes in level of felt anxiety.Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 1960,61, 216–222.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Howard S. Friedman.

Additional information

This research was supported by NIMH Grant #R03MH31453 and by an Intramural Research Grant from UC Riverside to Howard Friedman. We would like to thank Louise M. Prince and Dan Segall for their assistance and Eliot Smith, Joe Schwartz and Keith Widaman for suggestions.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Friedman, H.S., Riggio, R.E. Effect of individual differences in nonverbal expressiveness on transmission of emotion. J Nonverbal Behav 6, 96–104 (1981). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00987285

Download citation

Keywords

  • Individual Difference
  • Small Group
  • Social Psychology
  • Group Interaction
  • Social Comparison