“55 to 80% of All Human Communication is Nonverbal… This an important aspect of Investigations”
Experts explain that a substantial portion of how we communicate is nonverbal. Each and every day we respond to hundreds if not thousands of cues and behaviors which include postures, facial expression, eye movements, gestures and tone of voice. Investigation depends on being able to read these nonverbal gestures as well as how you dress, shake a hand. These nonverbal gestures give off details and reveal who we are and really impact how we relate to other folks.
Science research on nonverbal communication began with the 1872 writings and publications of Charles Darwin’s The Expression of of the Emotions in Man and Animals. Obviously since that time there has been abundance of research on the types, effects and expressions of unspoken communications and behavior. Nonverbal communication signals are so subtle that every day people are not consciously aware of them. There are several different types of nonverbal communication as it relates to investigative work.
A Private Investigator reads Nonverbal Communication
In many cases, people communicate information in nonverbal ways using groups of behaviors. For example, we might combine a frown, rubbing of the nose or rolling of the eyes with crossed arms and unblinking eye gaze to indicate disapproval or contempt
1. Facial Expression
Facial expressions are responsible for a huge proportion of nonverbal communication. Consider how much information can be conveyed with a smile or a frown. While nonverbal communication and behavior can vary dramatically between cultures, the facial expressions for happiness, sadness, anger and fear are similar throughout the world.
In the image below Michelle Obama showing a clear and classic nonverbal display of contempt towards Mr. Boehner. Note the left unilateral snarl with mid face tension, her left lip curling up, Although her eyes look in the direction of the Speaker , her head barely turns toward him.
The next is a chart that displays the Seven Common Facial Expressions
Deliberate movements and signals are an important way to communicate meaning without words. Common gestures include waving, pointing, and using fingers to indicate numeric amounts. Other gestures are arbitrary and related to culture.
In this next example you will see an number of nonverbal gestures
3. Paralinguistics (Voice)
Paralinguistics refers to vocal communication that is separate from actual language. This includes factors such as tone of voice, loudness, inflection and pitch. Consider the powerful effect that tone of voice can have on the meaning of a sentence. When said in a strong tone of voice, listeners might interpret approval and enthusiasm. The same words said in a hesitant tone of voice might convey disapproval and a lack of interest.
4. Body Language and Posture
Posture and movement can also convey a great deal on information. Research on body language has grown significantly since the 1970’s, but popular media have focused on the over-interpretation of defensive postures, arm-crossing, and leg-crossing, especially after the publication of Julius Fast’s book Body Language. While these nonverbal behaviors can indicate feelings and attitudes, research suggests that body language is far more subtle and less definitive that previously believed.
5. Proxemics (Personal Space)
People often refer to their need for “personal space,” which is also an important type of nonverbal communication. The amount of distance we need and the amount of space we perceive as belonging to us is influenced by a number of factors including social norms, situational factors, personality characteristics and level of familiarity. For example, the amount of personal space needed when having a casual conversation with another person usually varies between 18 inches to four feet. On the other hand, the personal distance needed when speaking to a crowd of people is around 10 to 12 feet.
6. Eye Gaze (Eye Contact )
Looking, staring and blinking can also be important nonverbal behaviors. When people encounter people or things that they like, the rate of blinking increases and pupils dilate. Looking at another person can indicate a range of emotions, including hostility, interest and attraction.
7. Haptics (Touch)
Communicating through touch is another important nonverbal behavior. There has been a substantial amount of research on the importance of touch in infancy and early childhood. Harry Harlow’s classic monkey study demonstrated how the deprivation of touch and contact impedes development. Baby monkeys raised by wire mothers experienced permanent deficits in behavior and social interaction. Touch can be used to communicate affection, familiarity, sympathy and other emotions. There is also another side to this. In investigations It is important to realize that within the structure of rapport-based direct questioning, the object is to help the person become comfortable. The proper use of proximal (physical proximity) and haptic (physical contact) techniques reduces psychological barriers and improves rapport.
Our choice of color, clothing, hairstyles and other factors affecting appearance are also considered a means of nonverbal communication. Research on color psychology has demonstrated that different colors can evoke different moods. Appearance can also alter physiological reactions, judgments and interpretations. Just think of all the subtle judgements you quickly make about someone based on his or her appearance. These first impressions are important, which is why experts suggest that job seekers dress appropriately for interviews with potential employers.
In Investigations paying particular attention changeable features and mannerisms. Some features or traits are not a physical part of the person; they are changeable characteristics. These features may be clothing, hairstyle, use of cosmetics, or any other items that are used by the individual. Most persons use these items and materials rather consistently based on personal tastes; they may reflect the individual’s personality, occupation, or activity at the time of the observation
In Summary Nonverbal communications is just as important in private investigations to get the bigger picture.