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Developing Strategies for Decoding “Leaky” Messages: On Learning How and When to Decode Discrepant and Consistent Social Communications

  • Peter D. Blanck
  • Robert Rosenthal

Abstract

Perhaps W. C. Fields’ intense dislike of children stemmed from his experience that children were unable to appreciate his sarcastic and lampooning humor. After all, a comedian is only as funny as the strength of his audience’s response. By definition, sarcastic humor expresses meaning contrary to what might be expected in a particular context. Similarly, feelings of ambivalence and attempts at deception also might lead senders, or comedians, to express different messages or affects in different verbal and nonverbal channels. This chapter is concerned with how and when children learn to interpret and understand these discrepancies among social messages, channels, or affects. In everyday life, children’s and adults’ interpretations, weighing, and “trusting” of these discrepant or “inconsistent” social messages certainly have implications for the development of satisfying interpersonal relations in general, to say nothing of the appreciation of sardonic comedians in particular.

Keywords

Nonverbal Communication Verbal Channel Social Message Nonverbal Message Nonverbal Decode 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter D. Blanck
  • Robert Rosenthal

There are no affiliations available

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