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Beyond words : on the role of nonverbal behavior in social influence

Lürken, K. (2008) Beyond words : on the role of nonverbal behavior in social influence.

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Abstract:In a field study, the role of nonverbal behavior in social influence settings was examined. It was hypothesized that nonverbal behavior can function as a decisional aid to individuals in the setting of a persuasion situation. More specifically, it was proposed that yielding to a cognitively demanding initial stage of the foot-in-the-door technique (Freedman & Fraser, 1966) that evokes impression management patterns in an individual makes him or her susceptible to the influence of nonverbal cues (Fennis, in press). Based on literature on deception (Ekman, 2001; Vrij, 2000; DePaulo, Lindsay, Malone, Muhlenbruck, Charlton, & Cooper, 2003), two types of nonverbal behavior were applied, namely duping delight and distressed deception. Both types of behavior express emotions the deceiver experiences while lying. Duping delight describes a state of positive emotions experienced while deceiving someone and is expressed nonverbally by the use of many gestures, frequent eye-contact, and a higher pitch of voice. Distressed deception describes a state of negative emotions while betraying someone and is expressed by less eye-contact, little use of gestures, slower speech and a softer voice (Ekman, 2001, Fennis, 2006/ in prep.). A model of moderated mediation was tested in this study. It was assumed that the effects of the initial stage on compliance are mediated by self-regulatory resource depletion, which is in turn moderated by the type of nonverbal behavior that is displayed by a persuasion agent. The proposed model of moderated mediation could not be confirmed, but the results indicate that indeed there is a main effect of the type of nonverbal behavior displayed on compliance. Moreover, an interaction effect between the initial stage of a social influence technique and the type of nonverbal behavior displayed on compliance was found.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
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