For effective and meaningful communication about emotions, these three parts of the message need to support each other - they have to be "congruent". In case of any incongruence, the receiver of the message might be irritated by two messages coming from two different channels, giving cues in two different directions. The following example should help illustrate incongruence in verbal and non-verbal communication. Verbal: "I do not have a problem with you! It is important to say that in the respective study, Mehrabian conducted experiments dealing with communications of feelings and attitudes i.

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They were pioneering studies in the study of nonverbal communication. This page is support for my blog post Why the stickiest idea in presenting is just plain wrong.

Mehrabian wanted to find out which was more important: the content the words the speaker used or the tone. Three groups of 10 participants were then asked to listen to the recordings and rate the degree of positive attitude of the speaker. They were given different instructions in making their judgement: Group 1: Pay attention to only the content Group 2: Pay attention to only the tone of voice Group 3: Pay attention to all the information available. But this time instead of looking at the relative importance of tone versus content, Mehrabian and Ferris looked at the relative importance of tone versus facial expression.

They found that facial expression was approximately 1. They say: It is suggested that the combined effect of simultaneous verbal, vocal and facial attitude communications is a weighted sum of their independent effects — with the coefficients of. In the first research paper he says: These findings regarding the relative contribution of the tonal component of a verbal message can be safely extended only to communication situations in which no additional information about the communicator-addressee relationship is available.

On his website Mehrabian says: Please note that this and other equations regarding relative importance of verbal and nonverbal messages were derived from experiments dealing with communications of feelings and attitudes i. Unless a communicator is talking about their feelings or attitudes, these equations are not applicable. The have identified a number of methodological shortcomings in the experimental methodologies employed by Mehrabian and others in that era.

It is difficult to reach conclusions from these experiments because of a number of methodological shortcomings.

Most studies presented only a few stimulus persons usually one or two in an artificial interpersonal situation an actor demonstrating an emotion. The question of whether the importance of a channel might depend on or interact with the type of information being judged, the characteristics of the observer making the judgement, or the characteristics of the stimulus person being rated has not been considered in most experiments. The external generalizability of most studies in this area has been undermined by three non-naturalistic design features: a the use of context-free nonverbal channels, often in artificial isolation from other communication channels; b the use of posed channel contradictions eg: positive content intentionally said in a negative voice which are uncommon outside the laboratory; and c a narrow focus on judgments about emotions, ignoring other aspects of person perception and interpretation.

In most cases, senders are given a set of standard verbal material and are asked to deliver this text with various emotional meanings to the microphone,as it were. This is, of course, a rather untypical situation, particularly for nonprofessional actors, and it is quite possible that individual conceptions of declamatory style rather than attempts at realistic emotional portrayal are obtained. They used professional actors and found that there were large differences in their abilities to express particular emotions.

Demand characteristics is a term psychologists use when they are referring to participants in an experiment acting in ways they think the experimenter wants them to act.

People generally want to please, they want to go with the flow. So, when watching videos in these experiments it will be obvious to participants the speeches are acted, not spontaneous. Participants pick up on what the experimenter wants from the social cues provided. References Archer D.

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 35, Mehrabian A. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 6, Ekman, P. Relative importance of face, body, and speech in judgements of personality and affect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 38, Journal of Consulting Psychology, 31, Jones E.

Journal of Communication. Special Issue, 52, Krauss, R. Wenzel, C. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 40, Trimboli, A. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior. Wallbott H. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51, Check your email for a link to download the SpeakerMap. Heads up: I will also send you valuable tips to help you improve your presentations and let you know about ways you can work with me.

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Albert Mehrabian

Professor Albert Mehrabian has pioneered the understanding of communications since the s. He received his PhD from Clark University and in l commenced an extended career of teaching and research at the University of California, Los Angeles. As a minimum you must state that the formula applies to communications of feelings and attitudes. Where you see or use it, qualify it, in proper context.


Mehrabian's Communication Theory: Verbal, Non-Verbal, Body Language

This interpretation of Mehrabian has been comprehensively debunked many times, but still it persists. Yes, one single word. In the first study, the participants had to rate the feelings of the speaker after listening to each of nine different words. The words spoken were often inconsistent with the tone of voice used.

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