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Enjoy Mediation by Jeff Thompson
I came across the following article recently which explored the use of body language in a laboratory setting of Chinese and Canadian participants.
The authors, Zhaleh Semnani-Azad (University of Waterloo) and Wendi L. Adair (University of Waterloo), coded six categories of behavior: posture, head movement, hand movement, eye gaze, facial expression, and how often the participant fell silent or kept talking.
The results indicated that some nonverbal cues were used by both groups to convey the same meaning. Smiling, leaning forward, and gesturing while talking were employed by both the Chinese and Canadians when trying to convey a positive and more submissive approach, and shaking the head and frowning were displayed by both to show the opposite. In attempting to project dominance, both groups were more likely to try to control the room through negative signals than positive ones.
What I find interesting is many of the traits listed as "positive and submissive" is also what previous research studies state are nonverbal cues of rapport? Is rapport building also considered not only positive but also submissive?
Jeff Thompson is a certified international mediator. He is also a law enforcement detective in New York. His law enforcement role include a being a communication and conflict specialist, interfaith dialogue, developing and implementing community engagement programs, and designing training workshops.
Jeff is currently a PhD candidate researching nonverbal communication and mediation at Griffith University Law School. He also received his MS in Negotiation and Dispute Resolution from the Creighton University School of Law. Jeff has presented and trained on the topic of conflict, mediation, communication and nonverbal communication internationally and has been published and featured with numerous international media organizations. He currently writes also at PsychologyToday.com.
(All posts by Jeff Thompson represent his personal reflections and opinions as a mediator and not that of any organization.)
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