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Nonverbal expressiveness and physical attractiveness as mediators of interpersonal perceptions


This research examines the impact of spontaneous nonverbal expressiveness and physical attractiveness on the formation of initial interpersonal impressions. It was hypothesized that in the absence of a relationship history with a person, those people who provide more spontaneous, uncensored, nonverbal information would be viewed as more interpersonally attractive. In addition, as a secondary focus of the study, data were analyzed to examine the relationship between physical attractiveness and nonverbal communication abilities. Results suggest that both physical attractiveness and nonverbal expressiveness independent of one another and in conjunction with one another positively impact on interpersonal perceptions. In addition, physical attractiveness was found to positively covary with nonverbal encoding accuracy but negatively covary with nonverbal decoding abilities.

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Correspondence to Ronald M. Sabatelli.

Additional information

The authors wish to express their appreciation to Ross Buck and Robert Ryder for their helpful comments on an earlier draft of the paper.

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Sabatelli, R.M., Rubin, M. Nonverbal expressiveness and physical attractiveness as mediators of interpersonal perceptions. J Nonverbal Behav 10, 120–133 (1986).

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  • Social Psychology
  • Nonverbal Communication
  • Physical Attractiveness
  • Communication Ability
  • Relationship History