NONVERBAL AND RELATIONAL COMMUNICATION ASSOCIATED WITH RETICENCE

Judee K Burgoon, RANDALL J. KOPER

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations

Abstract

Two experiments examined nonverbal behavior patterns and relational communication perceptions associated with communication reticence. In the first, pairs of friends (N = 90) and pairs of strangers (N = 90) engaged in 9‐minute discussions. Ratings by partners and trained observers showed that as level of communication reticence increased, subjects nodded less, showed less facial pleasantness and animation, displayed more anxiety and tension, leaned away more, and communicated greater disinterest. Strangers rated reticents'relational messages as expressing less intimacy/similarity, more detachment, more submissive‐ness, and more emotional negativity, and rated reticents as less credible. Friends gave reticents mixed but frequently more positive ratings. In the second experiment, 55 subjects interacted with a male or female confederate interviewer who alternately asked innocuous or highly personal questions. The same patterns of nonverbal behavior emerged as in Study One, with increases in stress (due to privacy‐invading questioning) eliciting more pronounced responses. Results are discussed in terms of the cross‐situational consistency of reticence syndromes in eliciting dysfunctional communication patterns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)601-626
Number of pages26
JournalHuman Communication Research
Volume10
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1984

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Anthropology
  • Linguistics and Language

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