Nonverbal Communication Assignment

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The Nonverbal Experiment

Choose some aspect of nonverbal behavior and do your own experiment. Write up what happens and use caution on some of the choices.

Some options:
  1. Dress two different ways and go to the same place. See how you are treated.
  2. Dress more or less formally at work than you normally do.
  3. Record 5-6 people of different ages, gender, and ethnicity all counting to 20, saying the pledge of allegiance, or reciting he alphabet. See if other people can guess their ages, gender, education, ethnicity, and mood.
  4. Use touch differently—for example, give a hug to a relative who doesn’t seem to act warmly towards you. Be careful with this one.
  5. Change your distance—move further away or closer to people than you normally do and see if they change to adjust to their own ‘comfort zone.’ Be careful with this one too.
  6. If you are usually late for something, arrive early and note what happens.
  7. Use a wheelchair or crutches and see if you are treated differently.
  8. Change your eye contact or facial expressions during a conversation.
  9. Sit in a place that you normally don’t sit. Note how you feel and if someone who usually sits there has a reaction. Be careful with this one.
  10. Note how a store, office, bank, restaurant, or other building is set up to encourage some types of communication and to discourage other behaviors. Be ready to share your observations.
  11. Analyze your room, home, or car—how would an objective observer categorize you based on your physical environment?
  12. Create a chart showing the ‘territory’ of your home or work space—who ‘owns’ what territory.

    You may also analyze a favorite movie that contains striking nonverbal communication—show us a short scene and explain the principles of nonverbal communication that you notice.

    Whichever experiment you carry out, use the space to your right to answer these two questions: 1)Describe the details of your experiment, listing the procedures used and results obtained. 2)Summarize what aspects of the readings came through in your experiment.