Literature Review

The fore mentioned trend in research over the deviation of FtF is an important consideration for this paper, indeed, for the field of communication research. It is appropriate to discuss its significance here as a means of understanding the contributions verbal and nonverbal communication provides, chiefly, that of nonverbal cues.

The verbal exchange is accompanied by at least six nonverbal cues including body posture, facial expression, eye, contact, hand and arm gesturing, clothing, etc., (Birdwhitsell, 1970, Short et al, 1976, Morley, 2008), and can be grouped into two functional groups, Informational and Integrational (Birdwhitsell, 1970, Short et al, 1976, Morley, 2008).

Beginning with integrational, these set of functions include mutual attentions and responsiveness, which is the continuous monitoring of nonverbal cues by both interlocutors, channel control determines speaking order and duration of speech, and feedback supports the planning for interruption (Short et al, 1976, p. 45). Together this set of cues keep the communication process operational by regulating the exchange, creating a contextual relation, and supporting cross-referneces for message comprehensibility (Birdwhistell, 1970, Short et al, 1976, Morley, 2008).

Informational functions reinforce the verbal content by introducing illustrations, or physical gestures, the use of emblems that replace words with gestures, e.g., head-nod for Yes and interpersonal attitudes perceived by the listener about speaker intentions (Argyle, 1969, Short et al, 1976, Morley, 2008).

Mehrabian (1972) introduces two operational definitions of nonverbal communication. The first is the traditional approach: In its narrow and more accurate sense, nonverbal behavior refers to actions as distinct from speech (p. 1). These distinct actions are physical cues expressed by the body and include facial expressions, head-nodding, movement of shoulders, arms and hands, the posture one takes, the resting of legs or feet, and other gestures (Mehrabian, 1972, Birdwhistell, 1952, 1970, Short et al, 1976).

The second and more broad approach to nonverbal communication includes verbal utterances, changes in amplitude, pitch, rate of speech delivery, errors in speech, vocal pauses intentional or not, speech duration, etc., and are implicit in nature (Mehrabian, 1972 Birdwhistell, 1952, 1970, Short et al, 1976). In addition paralinguistic phenomenon includes complex communication not explicit but conveyed verbally and nonverbally together to give special meaning, e.g., sarcasm (Mehrabian, 1972). Similarly, the weighting of nonverbal coding accompanying the verbal message may purpose a specific result of feelings, attitudes, or serve as a regulator or timer to plan for interruptions or to relinquish turns at speaking (Mehrabian, 1972).

Mehrabian (1972) cites Ekman and Friesen (1969) and their five major functions of nonverbal behavior while Short et al (1976) cite Argyle (1969) and his expanded version. See Table 1.