Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Center for Nonverbal Studies

I was catching up on some emails and inside one of them was a link to this site, called Center for Nonverbal Studies.  The site is filled to the brim with anything and everything you could possibly want to know about nonverbal communication, from muscularity of facial expressions to citations of various scholarly work.  It would take hours to navigate and read everything here, but it could make for an excellent resource for students who are investigating the topic. 

From their site:
The Center for Nonverbal Studies (CNS) is a private, nonprofit research center located in Spokane, Washington. Underway since October 1, 1997, the Center's mission is to advance the study of human communication in all its forms apart from language. The Center's goal is to promote the scientific study of nonverbal communication, which includes body movement, gesture, facial expression, adornment and fashion, architecture, mass media, and consumer-product design.

From what I've read, nonverbal communication fits most appropriately within social psychology, with its emphasis on how our bodies and faces interact when others are around us.  Back in the late 80s and early 90s, before I taught AP Psychology (well, before it even existed) I taught an Advanced Psychology class in which NVC was an important unit.  Great stuff. 

If you recall Desmond Morris and his "Manwatching" book from the 70s or the followup studies on facial expressions by Paul Ekman, you may take pause realize that some of the content will belong in the emotions unit.  One could also tie this into the research unit with describing behavior of people with a focus of making sure not to infer while describing.

posted by Chuck Schallhorn

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