Non-verbal Communication

Nonverbal communication applies across different groups of people and even different species, and it varies within and between individual people, making it a prime candidate for an integrative science initiative, said Anne Maass (Universitá di Padova, Italy), who chaired an Integrative Science Symposium on the topic. Beatrice de Gelder (Maastricht University, the Netherlands) elaborated on cognitive neuroscience research investigating how we perceive emotional expression through the body, even outside awareness, while Klaus Scherer (University of Geneva, Switzerland) discussed the fundamental architecture of the emotion system and how our bodies and faces convey our appraisals of, and intentions to act on, environmental stimuli. Speaker David Puts (The Pennsylvania State University) discussed how sexual dimorphism in one form of nonverbal expression — vocal pitch — can have significant social consequences, influencing how we perceive a person’s leadership qualities, electability, and perhaps even the salary they deserve. And Jessica Tracy (University of British Columbia, Canada) detailed her comprehensive program of research on nonverbal expressions of pride, indicating that pride may be a universal signal of high social status.

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