A DESCRIPTIVE ANALYSIS OF NONVERBAL STATUS DISPLAYS
DEMONSTRATED BY DENTAL EDUCATORS IN CLINICAL AND/OR
A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN
PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS
FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
To my Father, Karry Kelley, who taught
me life is a song and dance,
To my Mother, Agnes Kelley, who taught
me courage and perseverance,
To my friend, Peg Foust, who taught
me to have faith in myself,
To Dr. Arthur Lewis, who demonstrated to
me the meaning of wisdom.
"Awake! awake o sleeper of the land of shadows, wake!
I am in you and you in me, mutual in love . .
Fibers of love from man to man
Lo! we are One."
My committee members have been my colleagues, my con-
science, my mentors, my friends, my self:
Dr. Arthur Lewis, chairman of my committee, has guided
me through the often times perilous Sea of Academe, always
calm, always pointing out the beauty of the scenery even
amidst storms and turbulent waters.
Dr. Anthony Clark (Tony) has given strength to me,
challenging me for the best I could do, prodding me to
explore dimensions of myself, and making the experience of
producing a doctoral dissertation one of the most memorable
of my life.
Dr. Kenneth Christiansen has been a dear friend and
the person who encouraged me eighteen years ago to go back
to school. I thank you for your human energies expended
toward making me realize my worth and through it, I know yours.
Dr. Richard MacKenzie, I appreciate your efforts and sage
advice in facilitating my research in the College of Dentistry;
this study would have not been half as interesting or as
vital if it had not had your input.
Dr. Jaime Algina, I not only thank you, but thank God
for a professor who can teach statistics to a right hemi-
sphere person with a Disney World head. You didn't tell
me to turn back; I'm so grateful.
Dr. James Wattenbarger, friend and pragmatist who could
see how my educational interests and ideals could be trans-
lated into a real world of application, thank you for the
Dr. Carol Taylor, who has been more than a friend and
the person who taught me how to read the "medical tribes,"
thank you. You introduced me to living, applied anthropology,
and methodology and taught me to love all the natives.
There were those who were not formal members of my com-
mittee but whose spirit and contributions were so much a
part of this doctoral experience as the paper upon which it
Dr. Laura Perkins, without whom this dissertation would
never have been written, I thank you most deeply for your
patience and your empathy for one who truly suffered deep
fears and trepidation relative to learning statistics and
applying them. I thank you for teaching me and for holding
Dr. Ronald Bass, friend, who has encouraged me, struc-
tured my outlook, helped me in my understanding of the
intricacies of some of the components of my study, thank
you for your time and your advice.
Candace Caputo, friend of long standing, thank you for
wanting to type this dissertation, thank you for taking so
much time and being so meticulous and accommodating.
Margaret Foust (Peg), dearest friend, who long ago
believed in me when I didn't, thank you for your love and
encouragement, and most of all your endurance.
Finally, to all those fine educators in the College of
Dentistry who aided and participated in this study, I extend
my deepest thanks and appreciation.
To all the above, the words "thank you" are merely an
overlay beneath which lie my true feelings of friendship
and humble love.
"Humble love is the most effective force, the most
terrific, the most powerful, unequaled by any other force
in the world." Fyodor Dostoievski
TABLE OF CONTENTS
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS . . . . . . . .. . .. iii
LIST OF TABLES . . . . . . . . . . viii
ABSTRACT . . . . . . . . . . . . ix
CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION . . . . . . 1
History of University of Florida
College of Dentistry . . . . . . 5
The Problem . . . . . . . . . 8
The Purpose . . . . . . . .. . 9
The Rationale . . . . . . . . . 10
Definitions . . . . . . . . .. 17
Nonverbal Communication . . . . . .. 19
Concepts Relative to Status . . . . .. .27
Self-Concept . . . . . . . . ... 30
Cognitive Style . . . . . . .. 31
Research Design . . . . . . .. 33
Delimitations . . . . . . . .. 38
Limitations . . . . . . . . .. 39
Organization of Dissertation . . . . .. .40
CHAPTER TWO REVIEW OF LITERATURE . . . ... 41
Overview of Nonverbal Communication Research . 42
Research and Nonverbal Communication in Education. 48
Nonverbal Communication and the Health-Related
Disciplines . . . . . . . . 69
Dental Literature and Nonverbal Communication 74
Status and Nonverbal Communication ..... . 75
Relationship of Preceding Research to
Present Study . . . . . . . .. 81
CHAPTER THREE METHODOLOGY . . . . . ... 83
Population Sample . . . . . . .. 84
Materials . . . . . . . . . . 85
Orientation . . . . . . . . . 86
Testing . . . . . . . .... . . 90
Instruments . . . . . . . . .. 90
Nonverbal Status Observations . . . ... 93
Hypotheses . . . . . .. . . . . 93
Statistical Analysis . . . . . ... 95
Chapter Summary . . . . . .. . . . 95
ANALYSIS OF DATA . . . . . .
Hypothesis 1 . . . . . . . .
Hypothesis 5 . . . . . . . .
Comparison of Student and Control Groups .
Hypothesis 2 . . . . . . . .
Hypothesis 3 . . . . . . . .
Hypothesis 4 . . . . . . . .
Hypothesis 6 . . . . . . . .
Chapter Summary . . . . . . .
CHAPTER FIVE DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS . .
Review of Observations . . . . .
Implications of This Study . . . .
Suggestions for Future Research . . .
A PARTICIPANT ACCEPTANCE FORM . .
B ORIENTATION FOR CLASSES OR INDIVIDUAL
PARTICIPATING IN RESEARCH ON NONVERBAL
STATUS DISPLAYS IN DENTAL EDUCATION .
NONVERBAL RESPONSE GRID . . . . .
TENNESSEE SELF-CONCEPT TEST PERMISSION .
DEGREE OF MATCH PROGRAM BETWEEN REFERENTS
AND REFEREES . . . . . . . .
ASCRIBING VALUES IN COGNITIVE STYLE MAPPING.
REFERENCES . . . . . . . . . . . .
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH . . . . . . . . .
LIST OF TABLES
1 Repeated Measures ANOVA Comparing Experts
and Students on the Total Number of
Observed Status Displays . . . . .
2 Repeated Measures ANOVA Comparing Experts
and Students for Each Rank on the Total
Number of Observed Status Displays . .
3 Summary Information on the Number of
Status Displays . . . . . . .
4 Comparison of the Professional Ranks for
Observed Displays . . . . . .
5 Comparison of Dental Students and
Control Group Nonverbal Observations .
6 Comparison of Dental Students and Control
Group on the Tennessee Self-Concept Test
7 Correlations of Tennessee Self-Concept Test
and Nonverbal Status Displays . . .
8 Summary of Educators' Self-Concept Scores
9 Summary Information for Degree of Match
of Cognitive Style Mapping . . . .
10 ANOVA and Duncan's Multiple Range Test
Analysis Relative to Nonverbal Codes
Usage Within Rank . . . . . .
. . 108
. . 113
. . 117
. . 120
. . 123
Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
A DESCRIPTIVE ANALYSIS OF NONVERBAL STATUS DISPLAYS
DEMONSTRATED BY DENTAL EDUCATORS IN CLINICAL AND/OR LABORATORY
Chairman: Arthur J. Lewis
Major Department: Curriculum and Instruction
This study examined the nonverbal status displays of
educators as they utilize them in a learning environment and
how they are perceived by students and experts. It correlates
the observations of educational experts and students with the
number and kinds of status displays, employed in terms of
seven codes: body and eye movement, voice, spatial relation,
touch, waiting time, personal appearance, and environment.
Nonverbal status displays were also correlated with self-
concept as measured by the Tennessee Self-Concept Test and
preferred learning style tested with the cognitive style
Results showed a significant difference between the
observations of students and experts across three ranks of
educators: assistant professor, associate professor, and
full professor. In each instance the experts observed more
status displays than the students. At the rank of instructor
students observed more status displays than experts only
where the instructor was a woman.
There were significant correlations between student
observations of nonverbal status displays and their scores
on the Tennessee Self-Concept Test in the specific non-
verbal areas of body and eye movement, spatial relations,
and waiting time. Educator self-concept scores and the
number of status displays showed a significant correlation
with the Total positive score on the Tennessee Self-Concept
Test and with specific components of the test such as Self-
Criticism, Behavior, and Self-Satisfaction.
There was a significant difference as to type and use of
nonverbal status displays. Instructors, assistant professors,
and associate professors used body and eye movement, personal
appearance,and voice most frequently but to varying degrees
and sometimes in concert with other nonverbal codes. Full
professors also used body and eye movement and personal
appearance most frequently but waiting time replaces the use
of voice as a major nonverbal status display.
The study demonstrated that students are aware of
faculty nonverbal status displays. Accordingly it is
possible that such displays may impede classroom communication.
Nonverbal expression is a major constituent in the
communication process. In the transmission of information
on an interactive basis, such as takes place in an educa-
tional setting, nonverbal communication accounts for an
estimated 65 percent of the meaning (Birdwhistell, 1952).
In this, the acclaimed age of information, human
communication systems come under close scrutiny (Ferguson,
1980; Naisbitt, 1982). It has been suggested in recent
literature (Deken, 1981; Evans, 1979; Ferguson, 1980;
Naisbitt, 1982) that education systems and methodologies
must change dramatically to accommodate the needs of a
society reliant, to a great extent, upon the communication
of new and constantly changing information. Trends show
increased usage of technology to train and educate (Deken,
1981; Ferguson, 1980; Naisbitt, 1982). But technology alone
does not solve the problem of transmitting information. For
although technologic media provide an array of methods by
which messages can be communicated, the very mechanistic
nature of the technologic process demands that there be
ample time given also to humans communicating with humans
(Naisbitt, 1982). High technology, as explained by Naisbitt
(1982), demands high touch, the need for human input and
quality human communication. So the question has to be
asked, what is the quality of human communication,
especially as it is found today in our centers of learn-
Quality in communications is essential in that poor
quality may promote a tendency to rely more heavily upon
technology for communications. Technology may be capable
of transmitting messages clearly; it is not capable of
fulfilling the human need in an epistemological sense.
It is a difference illustrated by contrasting the acquisi-
tion of information with that of knowledge.
In addition to the need for quality human communication,
is the need to assess how this new and all-encompassing use
of technologic communication is affecting those professionals
whose job it is to communicate--specifically, the teachers.
We need to know if teachers feel as if they are being replaced
by machines. If they do, is it reflected somewhere in their
personality, attitude, self-concept? Do they feel any loss
of status and do they communicate their feelings through
Nonverbal expression, as demonstrated by both teachers
and students, is an important component of learning inter-
actions (Birdwhistell, 1980; Hall, 1959; Knapp, 1972).
Nonverbal behavior communicates messages through channels
which are referred to as "codes"; these codes are 1. envir-
onment, 2. artifacts of personal appearance, 3. voice,
4. touch, 5. pauses or waiting time, 6. body movements, and
7. spatial relations (Knapp, 1972). Although content sent
through nonverbal codes may vary, one of the most frequently
observed messages is that of "status." Expressed nonverbally,
status is a corporate part of most human interactions (Reiss,
Fieldbinder, & Abrams, 1976). Status fluctuates; it is
usually in the process of being lost, gained, regained or
maintained. Ardrey (1966), in Territorial Imperative,
suggested that the study of status in human behavior might
open the door to greater understanding of the human condi-
tion as it is expressed in verbal and nonverbal messages.
Classroom teaching provides an ample opportunity to
observe status being displayed through nonverbal channels.
The need to acquire and possess status predominates in the
learning setting from the standpoint of both the student and
teacher. The student needs to acquire knowledge in order to
possess or attain status, whereas the teacher needs to
acquire and maintain status in order to obtain the attention
of the student and affect the transmission of information
(Mach, 1972, p. 5). Many behavioral displays, verbal or
nonverbal, are a threat to the effectiveness and status of
the teacher and to the quality of education being received
by the student.
Such threatening behaviors might well find a source in
the surge of importance that technology is enjoying today.
This technology is infiltrating all areas of society includ-
ing that of education. Teaching media, i.e., computers,
television etc., are capable of challenging the status of
teachers. If the addition of such technology interferes with
human teaching and communications,then there is bound to be a
behavioral reaction on the part of the teacher to preserve
Status is operationalized as the relative ranking of an
individual, usually by some social standards. But at the
root of status is self-concept. In effect, an individual
with low self-esteem may find it difficult to acquire status
in the social setting. Thus, how one values oneself or
perceives oneself is of major significance to understanding
how one preserves status (Fitts, 1970).
How to be individual and to be recognized as that
individual is an ongoing human struggle. It is an inherent
component of the everyday classroom or learning setting.
Teachers want to teach in their way while students want to
learn in their way. Learning styles differ with individuals
and may affect how an individual acquires and transmits
knowledge (Hill, 1968).
If an individual is forced to transmit or receive know-
ledge by means that are unfamiliar, threatening, or not in
keeping with individual learning styles, the person may in
turn suffer insecurity and damage to the self-concept as
reflected in nonverbal displays that demonstrate a need to
maintain or regain status. As an example, how does the
teacher feel who prefers to use lecture as a teaching mode
but is encouraged to utilize electronic or self-paced,
self-instructional methods to teach?
It is important to study nonverbal status displays as
they are demonstrated in learning settings in order to
ascertain their effects on communication between student and
teacher. In addition, to further evaluate the effects of
such status displays, correlations could be made between
such variables as self-concept and preferred learning styles
as to possible effects in prompting nonverbal status displays.
All of this, in order to reflect the reality of communication
today, should be tested in an environment where educational
technology is an integral part of the educational system.
History of University of Florida College of Dentistry
The concept of a College of Dentistry at the University
of Florida was initiated in the Florida Legislature in 1957.
However, no action was taken to actually establish a dental
school until 1963 when funds were appropriated for planning
and employing the initial faculty.
In 1966, Dr. Edmund F. Ackell was appointed Dean of the
College of Dentistry. It was through his guidance, his own
unusual educational background, and the desire of the dental
advisory committee to establish the most modern of dental
schools, that the University of Florida College of Dentistry
became the first of its kind in this country.
Ackell was both a D.M.D. and an M.D. He received his
dental education at Tufts. His medical education was obtained
at Case Western Reserve, a school known to be progressive in
its approach to medical education. At the time Ackell
matriculated at Case Western Reserve, the College of Medicine
there was experimenting with methods of teaching. Traditional
methods of teaching dealt with the body and its systems cate-
gorically by such specialized disciplines as neurology,
hematology, cardiology, etc. Case Western departed from
these methods and was employing what was known as the body
organ method of teaching. This method focused on teaching
the body through a study of each of the major organs and
thus the information that had formerly been taught in dis-
cipline-specific classes was now synthesized and incorpora-
ted into the study of each organ. The traditional method
left synthesis of the specialized knowledge to the student;
the body organ method tended to interrelate the information
and aid the student in synthesis.
As this new system of teaching developed, there was a
need to have the student visualize these complexly organized
and integrated systems. Thus, slide tapes and the newest of
media, television, were incorporated into the curriculum
(Ackell, 1974, personal communication).
Ackell was appointed Dean of the University of Florida
College of Dentistry in September, 1966. Through his guid-
ance and his having been exposed to a mediated type of
learning, and through the farsightedness of the advisory
committee, a mediated format for learning was established as
the basis for the new dental curriculum. Modularized
learning, which enabled a student to be self-instructed and
self-paced, was the format. Modules, consisting of blocks
of information transmitted by means of print media, audio
visual media, and the human medium (required lectures) and
structured by means of detailed syllabi, formed the cogni-
tive foundation of the curriculum. The modules were then
implemented by practicums that paralleled the cognitive
information with practical applications of that knowledge.
In 1968, funds were appropriated for the construction of
the Dental Sciences Building. Then in 1969, Ackell became
Provost for the University of Florida's Health Center (title
later became Vice President for Health Affairs). The first
class of dental students matriculated in September, 1972.
Today this college has a faculty of 96 and a student
body of 305. Nine of the faculty members are female and
69 of the dental students are female. There are two black
faculty members and 12 black students.
The breaking down of barriers between sexes, races, and
disciplines was a tenet of Ackell's that concerned him
throughout the years he served as Vice President of the Health
Center and Dean of Dentistry. He felt that health profes-
sionals had to stop guarding their disciplinary turn and
begin interacting, sharing ideas and engaging in inter-
disciplinary research. He had also been concerned about how
to maintain quality communications in the teaching setting
while advocating a mediated educational curriculum (Ackell,
1984, personal communication).
Because of the curriculum design there were, for the
most part, no formal classrooms in dentistry. Basic science
courses given to first year dental students were mostly
taught by faculty members who were not members of the College
of Dentistry but who were specialists in those sciences.
These first year basic science classes were taught in tra-
ditional classroom settings with required lectures, but
ensuing classes were not. The clinical setting replaced
the formal teaching environment for the duration of the
students' dental education.
Because of its technology-based curriculum and its
concern with communications, the University of Florida College
of Dentistry provided an ideal environment in which to con-
duct this study.
With the rapid growth of computer-media-based education,
exploration of the quality of human communications in this
new educational setting is necessary. There is a need to
know more about the reactions of educators as they encounter
the new technology. There is also a need to know how the
student perceives the educator against this new technologic
This study involves the observation of nonverbal status
displays as demonstrated by educators in clinics and
laboratories, or atypical classroom settings, at an insti-
tution of higher education where the educators are trained
specialists, not trained teachers. These educators function
in the clinic and laboratory, not in the classroom. Regular
classroom curriculum has been supplanted by mediated, self-
paced, self-instructional education. Clinic and laboratory
practicums parallel each module in the mediated program.
Thus, educator-student interactions take place in the
laboratory or clinic. The teaching process consists of
educators' checking the work of students, looking at models,
evaluating their work with patients, etc. So teaching is
more a matter of checking student performance than a formal
didactic process. Thus, the University of Florida College
of Dentistry presents an opportunity to observe educators
in a nontraditional teaching situation, permitting the
recording of behaviors that may indicate how they react to
the curriculum, the students, and their own role in this
type of educational setting.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the possible
associations) between nonverbal status displays demonstrated
by dental educators, and observed by dental students and
experts, relative to self-concept and the preferred learning
styles of both educators and students.
It was assumed that every educator brought to the teach-
ing environment ascribed status, that is, "the social level
or rank dictated by ones job, education, and financial condi-
tions" (Mach, 1972, p. 52). It is hypothesized that the
degree to which educators are secure with the teaching
environment, method of teaching, and with themselves, will
be reflected in the numbers of nonverbal status displays
exhibited by these educators during a normal teaching
session. The teachers in this study have learned their
profession at institutions that are traditional in structure.
Their training, however, did not include teaching methods
and practices. This lack of teacher training might well be
translated into insecure behaviors and impaired communica-
tion practices in interacting with students.
To secure data, observations were based on student
perceptions of educator nonverbal status displays. Student
observations were then compared with observations of a
trained educator participant group. Student observations
were correlated with student levels of self-concept and
preferred learning style. Data were then compared with
the self-concept and preferred learning styles of the
professor subjects in order to assess the relationship, if
any, between nonverbal status displays, self-concept, and
preferred learning styles.
If new technology has the potential to reduce the amount
of human interactions that take place in the learning setting,
then it is important that those giving instruction employ
good communication skills to effect positive student-educator
interactions. In order to ascertain what is necessary to
communicate well in an interaction, it is essential to
determine those elements that inhibit good communication.
In Information and Information Processing Theory
(Shannon & Weaver, 1949), the focus is on the transmission
of messages. In their model, communication begins at the
source where the message is formulated and signs are
selected to be transmitted. The transmitter encodes the
message into signs and sends them over a channel to a
receiver where the receiver converts the signals into a
message. Another element in Shannon and Weaver's theory
is "noise." Noise is any disturbance in the channel that
distorts or otherwise masks the signal (p. 5).
If a teacher transmits an educational message to students
and at the same time sends nonverbal messages on several
channels, the nonverbal messages can become "noise" in the
reception of the signal in the original message. If the
nonverbal messages explain or enhance the verbal educational
message, there is no difficulty; however, if the nonverbal
messages have a non-rational basis, not supportive of the
message, the reception can be distorted.
The use of nonverbal status displays is based on emotional
expression, as almost all nonverbal communication carries
emotional overtones (Burgoon & Saine, 1978). If this is the
case, then a teacher who feels insecure, ineffective, and
generally nervous could transmit distracting messages
through nonverbal channels. Besides, some of these expressed
insecurities may also be translated into nonverbal status
displays in an attempt to cover up the ineptitudes. The
effort involved in achieving and maintaining a status that
is not ascribed could in effect become "noise" in the class-
room. Thus, the theoretical basis for this study is grounded
in Shannon and Weaver's theory, with nonverbal status displays
serving as potential "noise" that might distort or impede
effective communication (learning).
Status, or a need for status, is communicated in the
nonverbal mode by means of codes or channels. Birdwhistell
(1952) states, "While no single channel is in constant use,
one or more channels are always in operation" (p. 70). The
classroom is an ideal situation in which to assess the degree
to which nonverbal status behavior is being transmitted and
perceived, in that there is a clear difference in status
between student and teacher. One of the more important
models for determining status is the cost-reward paradigm
adapted for psychological analysis by Thibaut and Kelley (1959).
Within the model, status is predicated on the capacity of
one individual to reward others with whom he or she inter-
acts, the number of rewards received, the types of costs
incurred and the number of investments he or she makes.
Teacher-student situations fit very well with this model
in that the teacher has the status to hand out the reward
of grades and make the acquisition of grades either easy
or difficult. The status accorded the teacher is further
enhanced if the teacher can maintain status with few con-
cessions of time and emotional investment.
In higher education involving the health related pro-
fessions where much practical learning takes place in a
clinical setting, the student may be exposed to varying
levels of professional status, including instructors,
assistant, associate, and full professors. Exposure to
several professional levels of educators can acquaint the
student with numerous status demonstrations in that there is
a high level of competition between the various professional
levels, each trying to acquire and maintain status. That
same competitive spirit is generic to almost all of those
seeking admittance to the health profession disciplines due
to the many who wish to be selected and the few who are
chosen. Yet once admitted, and if destined to become an
educator, the same competitive force that gained them entrance
to the profession may become a negative force working against
the student in teacher-student interactions due to the need
to acquire and maintain status.
The clinical setting as an educational environment places
emphasis on communication not only between educator, student,
but sometimes also the patient or client. When a patient is
involved, status distance or difference between educator and
student is often maximized, resulting in numerous nonverbal
displays. The clinical setting also is the educational stage
where psychomotor skills are demonstrated. The clinical
teaching setting presents some unique circumstances relative
to potential communication and status behaviors. The educa-
tor who is teaching in the clinical setting cannot lecture
as in a classroom. But the clinic is a setting where much
teaching is done through the demonstration of psychomotor
skills. Often, those who are highly specialized and pro-
ficient in such skills have difficulty in communicating
other than through demonstration. Thus, significant in this
study is the idea that their teaching, through demonstration,
may lack the additional support of verbalization due to a
lack of self-confidence in their ability to teach and com-
Self-confidence is a manifestation of self-concept
(Fitts et al., 1971). "Self theory holds that man's
behavior is always meaningful and that we could understand
each person's behavior if we could only perceive his
phenomenal world as he does" (p. 3). In the realm of
education, "the teaching and learning processes are cri-
tically dependent upon communication; yet, the teacher-
student relationship frequently ignores the most important
variable in communication--the feelings of the participants.
In the academic world, feelings are often unwelcome dis-
tractions to the communication of ideas, facts, and
theories" (p. 4).
Adding or detracting from an educator's self-concept is
the possibility that the teaching methods the educator is
required to use are alien to those the educator experienced
when he or she was a student. The health professions are
steeped in tradition, and lecture has been the traditional
method by which basic information has been transmitted.
Learning style, or the "mapping" of an individual preferred
method of learning, has been the subject of study by Wasser
(1971) and Hill (1968). It is postulated by Hill that
individuals learn differently and in order to better educate
the individual, an assessment of the learning style should
be made. Currently, mediated education, or that kind of
education that uses technological types of communication,
is being integrated within the curriculum of many institu-
tions of higher learning, reducing dependence upon the
lecture method of teaching and in some instances replacing
the lecture methods with self-paced, self-instructional
curricula which are implemented by means of television,
computers and interactions of a multimedia nature (Wittich
& Schuller, 1973). Mediated education is often seen as an
effort to spoonfeedd" the student as compared to the long
tedious acquisition of information associated with the
Academic institutions have long been noted for their
love of tradition while at the same time expressing their
interest in the unique and innovative. Academic institutions
also pose obstacles "to formulating and communicating favor-
able expressions of self which seems antithetic to their
voiced interest in innovation. Institutions are sustained
and vitalized by the allegiance, involvement, and energies
of the members" (Goffman, 1961, p. 4). Goffman refers to
institutions like boarding schools, military units, and uni-
versities as "total institutions" due to the degree of control
they exercise over the lives of their members. He further
states "such settings have a direct relationship to the kinds
of nonverbal displays an individual can use in communicating
an impression of self" (p. 4).
The development of an impression of self is drawn from
the self-concept and when one attempts to communicate a
uniqueness of self or an independence, the institution loses
control. Thus institutions promote "self-distantiation,"
alientation or disaffection from oneself (Burgoon & Saine,
In order to cope with institutional operations that seek
to manipulate and control, the individual can succumb or can
adopt an independent, rebellious, attitude, demonstrating
inner strength and belief in self. "Nonverbal behavior is
one of the few tools available for constructing this impres-
sion" of belief in one's self (Burgoon & Saine, 1978, p. 262).
These authors assert that sometimes such behaviors are
deceptive performances because the individual's self-concept
is low and the nonverbal behaviors that are meant to express
strength and individuality are exaggerated displays. Nonverbal
status displays that attempt to contradict the individual's
level of self-concept are subject to "leakage," a term
Ekman and Friesen define as a process by which our body
betrays our speech or other deceitful communications
(Ekman & Friesen, 1975, pp. 288-298).
So, the interrelation of self-concept, the presentation
of self, and nonverbal status displays that reflect the
status self-concept are intricately intertwined in Goffman's
theories of self-presentation and Ekman and Friesen's studies
of deception. An interesting aspect of the deception theory
is that the individual may well be totally unaware that
the major person being deceived is the self that is seeking
to deceive others through the use of status displays that
belie inabilities to cope with the system, teaching situa-
tions, and a concept of self.
Therefore, it is the object of this study to explore the
changing role of the educator in these technological times
where many students are more conversant, in a practical
sense, with educational technology than their teachers.
There is a need to study teacher reaction through observa-
tion of their nonverbal communication, and in particular
their status displays. Such observations should be made
not only by trained observers but also by students who are
subject to these nonverbal messages and who decode them
relative to their own perceptions, self-concept and preferred
The following definitions are used in this study:
Nonverbal communication describes all human communi-
cation events which transcend spoken or written words
Status is the relative rank of an individual or group
(American College Dictionary, 1963).
Self-concept is the perception of one's own self or
nature (American College Dictionary, 1963). Every individual
has "a self, which has many different shapes, forms, and
variations. We each have a private, or phenomenal self
(Snygg & Combs, 1949), a public self, and an ideal self"
(Fitts, 1970, p. 7). Fitts divides the self into "the
physical and social self"; it is the social or interpersonal
self that will be considered in this study.
Nonverbal Code Definitions
Nonverbal codes are channels by which nonverbal messages
are transmitted (Knapp, 1972). There are varieties of codes;
the ones selected for use in this study are as follows:
Artifacts consist of personal appearance--apparel, hair
Chronemics is time--waiting time.
Environment is the physical arrangement of a setting in
which an interaction takes place--temperature, color, etc.
Haptics is touch-physical contact--location of the
touch, pressure, temperature.
Kinesics consist of body communication that involves
neuromuscular movement, e.g., dilation of eyes or eye con-
tact, leg movements, posture, facial, arm or torso move-
Proxemics refers to spatial relationships that exist
between people, e.g., the spatial arrangement between people
involved in an interaction.
Vocalics refers to voice--tone, the rapidity of speech,
inflection, accent and other paralinguistic features.
Status Display Definitions and Nonverbal Codes
Nonverbal status displays are those behaviors that are
expressed nonverbally through the nonverbal codes that imply
or demonstrate status, the acquisition of status, the
maintaining of status.
Nonverbal status displays exemplified and operationa-
lized by means of the previously stated codes are as follows:
Artifacts are uniforms, pins or jewelry denoting
"belonging" to some exclusive group, glasses, breast pocket
paraphernalia, hair styles, clothing (Morris, 1971). The
wearing of glasses, conservative clothing, subdued colors
all contribute to a nonverbal message indicating individual
status (Knapp, 1972).
Chronemics is the length of time someone is kept waiting.
Environment involves arrangement of objects in space,
including desks or furniture, located as barriers between
people. It includes physical structures that impede human
interaction and a general atmosphere that might cause people
to have to seek out the person of status.
Haptics involves touching in a benign, patronizing
manner as if from parent to child, i.e., patting on head
or shoulder (Morris, 1971).
Kinesics is exemplified by the pursuing of lips,
tightening lips, eyebrow raises, looking down one's nose,
lack of eye contact, pointing and shaking of finger, finger
steepling, and posture-affectation of status (Morris, 1971).
Proxemics involves the increasing of space between
self and another, standing above another person requiring
him to look up (Hall, 1959).
Vocalics is a low, modulated voice that does not inflect
and indicates that status has been attained. A loud author-
itarian voice indicates a need to be noticed and therefore
is a demand to be given status (Merabian & Williams, 1967).
Communication is a major component of education. In
the classroom, verbal or oral communication, written com-
munication, group dynamics and nonverbal communication are
experienced. The many facets of communication can be cate-
gorized as either verbal or nonverbal (Knapp, 1972). Non-
verbal is the oldest mode of communication and the most
revealing with regard to individual reactions and emotions
Socrates noted that attitudes such as nobility, dignity,
servility, understanding, and insolence are reflected in
the face and in the body (Socrates, 399 BC/1918). Charles
Darwin in his book, The Expression of the Emotions in Man
and Animals (1872/1965), stressed the continuity of form and
function of emotional expression, intimating an evolutionary
approach to communication and therefore a similarity of
communication between man and animals. Social animals like
chimpanzees and bees use forms of nonverbal communication to
communicate survival-based messages to their groups (Lorenz,
1966). Recent studies have been conducted by ethologists
and anthropologists to establish a direct relationship of
nonverbal message meaning between humans and animals (Tiger
& Fox, 1971).
Psychiatrists have been particularly interested in
nonverbal communication. Sigmund Freud felt that a patient's
physical actions were at least as important as his or her
verbal actions and Freud would seat himself at the head of
the couch in order to observe all movement by the patient
without disturbing the patient's thoughts (Freud, 1933/1953).
The nonverbal aspects of communication received little
notice from disciplines other than psychiatry and the
biological sciences until the eighteen nineties, when
William James, father of educational psychology, became
interested in classroom interactions. He felt the class-
room was a laboratory and that the teachers were scientists.
If they made observations and applied the principles of
psychology, they would be able to determine a great deal
about their students' behavior and with this knowledge
they could improve their teaching (James, 1914).
E. L. Thorndike (1932), a contemporary of James, agreed
with James' concepts but felt that studies in the classroom
were a waste of time, that behavioral studies should be done
in the laboratory. Thorndike approached nonverbal communica-
tion from a physiological standpoint, classifying nonverbal
communication as an autonomic response over which the
individual had little or no control. Thorndike, with his
concepts of stimulus and response, contributed much to the
behavioral approach to communications.
Ethologists then took up the task and began to study
nonverbal communication, comparing animal transmission of
messages with that of human communication. Niko Tinbergen
(1953) found communication or social behavior patterns in
animals similar to that of human social interactions. His
colleague, Lorenz (1950, 1966), furthered the interest in
such patterns of behavior, attributing some of the communi-
cation behavior to phylogenetic origins. Eibel-Eibesfeldt
(1972) delved deeply into the study of love and hate behavior
patterns as expressed by both man and animals. He also noted
aspects of status interactions and concluded "It is not the
especially aggressive animal that reaches the highest rungs
on the ladder of rank but one that knows how to win the
other's sympathies" (p. 86).
The 1950s were characterized by an increased interest
in nonverbal communication, even as Sputnik ushered in the
new communication era. Anthropological studies were initi-
ated to classify behaviors of a nonverbal nature. Linguistic
anthropologist, Birdwhistell (1952) began notational studies
relative to kinesics or body motion while another linguistic
anthropologist, Hall (1959), explored the nonverbal meaning
of spatial relationships between people. Hall (1983) asserts
that there is ". . a set of unspoken rules of behavior and
thought that controls everything we do." This he calls
"primary level culture" (p. 6). Hall's thesis supports
Darwin's belief that expressive behaviors like smiling or
laughing and crying were acquired because of the survival
value of the behaviors. This denotes primary level culture
(Darwin, 1872/1965). Hall further expounds that "words
represent perhaps 10 percent of the total communication
S. while behavior or nonverbal communication counts for
the other 90 percent" (Hall, 1983, p. 5).
Increasing numbers of studies demonstrate the ongoing
interest and growing awareness of the importance of non-
verbal communication as it functions within the total com-
munication process. Ekman et al. (1972) probed the ability
to recognize emotion and its relationship to dimensional
theories of emotion. Their interest expanded to include
cross cultural research in certain basic survival facial
nonverbal expressions (Ekman & Friesen, 1975). These
research endeavors and many like them provided the basis for
some of the more situation-specific research we see today,
such as "Nonverbal behavior and thought processing" (Marcos,
1979); "The Effects of Cigarette Smoking on the Perception
of Nonverbal Communications"(Hertz, 1978); and "Nonverbal
Behaviour and the Outcome of Selection Interviews" (Forbes
& Jackson, 1980). These and other recent studies will be
among those reviewed in Chapter Two.
Educational Research on Nonverbal Communication
Many studies have been conducted regarding nonverbal
communication in classroom interactions, e.g., "An
Exploratory Study of Observational Procedures for
Determining Teacher Nonverbal Communication" (Galloway,
1962); "The Uses of Nonverbal Behaviors: Toward an
Ecological Model of Classrooms (Doyle, 1977); "A Nonverbal
Communication Classification System for Teaching Behaviors"
Trained educators look to nonverbal communication
research as a key to better teaching on an individual level.
Present day educational research reflects this interest.
Examples of the breadth of research are shown in these cita-
tions of recent studies: "The Relationship Between Self and
Students' Perception of Affective Characteristics and
Selected Verbal and Nonverbal Behaviors of Seventh Grade
Physical Education Teachers" (Thomas, 1980); "Effects of
Training in Detection and Use of Nonverbal Behavior on
Counselor Effectiveness" (Norton, 1978); and "Verbal and
Nonverbal Behavior Patterns of Selected Elementary School
Teachers Judged Best and Not Judged Best by Their Previous
Students" (Re, 1978).
There have been many studies of nonverbal communication
conducted at the elementary and secondary school level. In
surveying educational research related to nonverbal communi-
cation at the college level and particularly at the pro-
fessional degree or advanced degree level, the present
author noted fewer studies involving nonverbal interaction.
Examples of studies conducted at various educational levels
will be explored in Chapter Two.
Nonverbal Communication Research in Health Professions
In the realm of medicine, dentistry and other medically
related disciplines, there is a paucity of research on
nonverbal interaction. Most nonverbal research studies in
the health field relate to professional and client inter-
action with the focus on the client's behavior, e.g.,
"Nonverbal communication and physician-patient rapport,
an empirical study" (Dimatteo, Friedman, & Taranta, 1980).
Medical and dental education are unique even among
health disciplines in that a large part of the curriculum
is centered around clinical experiences. Nursing, pharmacy,
and health-related professions have greatly increased the
clinical components of their curriculum but the classroom
experience still outweighs the clinical learning time.
When assessing the quality of communication in an
educational setting like a medical school or, as in this
study, a dental school, it is important to recognize that
the educators are not trained in pedagogy. They are
specialists in their fields and it is assumed that they
have only to communicate their skills in the area of their
Statistics are few regarding the numbers of dental or
medical faculty who have had courses in educational techni-
ques. However, the number is probably similar for both
professions. A recent study by Jason and Westberg (1982)
found that "the percentage of physicians who have taken
courses in education is 21 percent of the total population"
used in the study which numbered 2700. "Twenty-nine percent
[of those who have taken education courses] are at the
instructor level, nineteen percent are full, associate, and
assistant professors" (p. 73). Jason and Westberg found
that 15 percent of those who took an education course, took
education psychology and 16 percent took a course in teaching
methods. Seventy-two percent of the medical teachers in the
study reported they never turn to educational specialists for
guidance. "The majority of teachers in U.S. medical schools
do not read or even skim the key medical journals" (p. 81).
In teaching a discipline that is subject to as much
change as medicine, it is important to remain current in
order to communicate new findings to students. Thus, it
is apparent that, with physicians and possibly dental faculty,
there is little concern regarding formal training to be a
better educator and little incentive to be kept up to date
or trained. Some of this is not attributable to the value
system of the professional alone, but is due to the values
of the educational system of medicine in which they find
themselves. Many colleges and universities will not permit
their faculty to enroll in courses that lead to the
acquisition of additional degrees. Permission to take
individual courses is usually offered. However, with
medical and dental faculty, courses offered without the
reward of additional degrees might well be considered a
waste of valuable time, time that they are being pressured
to utilize in furthering research activities. Furthermore,
both medical and dental faculty, especially in state
institutions, are pressured to supplement their academic
salaries and are encouraged to practice and maintain a
clientele of their own.
Nonverbal Research in Dental Education
A recent study at the College of Dentistry, University
of Florida, demonstrated that there are certain behavioral
contingencies that take place in a clinical learning center
(MacKenzie et al., 1979). These behaviors produce
"unintended effects" which may affect the quality of educa-
tion." "Every behavior has an effect" (p. 579). Behavior,
in the terms of MacKenzie et al. is classifiable by con-
tingencies, the contingencies being cues, responses, and
consequences (MacKenzie, personal communication, 1984). "A
contingency is the relationship of a behavior (act, activity,
response) to its effect (reinforcing, punishing, extinguishing)"
(p. 578). Some of these behaviors are nonverbal.
Interviews conducted by MacKenzie et al., with both
professors and students, revealed a number of issues such as
inconsistency of behavior and lack of positive feedback but
the interviews also revealed that certain nonverbal behaviors
had a disturbing effect in the clinical learning setting.
Their study further revealed that these nonverbal behaviors
were demonstrated by both students and educators. One of
the researchers estimated that negative interactions in the
clinical setting between educators and students could account
for almost 30 percent of the inequities in the quality of
education (MacKenzie, personal communication, 1983).
Negative reactions of students toward educator nonverbal
displays were reported in this University of Florida, College
of Dentistry study: "Faculty make facial expressions showing
how displeased they are; followed by pointing out what needs
to be done in a not too enthusiastic tone. 'Faculty have a
cold disdainful manner, and are not concerned about student
progress.' 'Instructors sometimes act annoyed to be asked'"
(MacKenzie et al., 1979, p. 580). The uses of facial expres-
sions to denote disapproval, tone of voice or a removed
manner, are nonverbal indicators that the recipient is not
measuring up to the teacher and thus the status and the
power of the teacher are accentuated (Argyle, 1975).
Concepts Relative to Status
Whether the learning setting be clinical or classroom,
the teacher is automatically ascribed a higher status than
students for the commonly accepted reasons of age, amount of
knowledge, maturity, academic degrees, and because of the
power to pass or fail a student. Regardless of whether the
status is ascribed by means of prestige or ranking, status
seems to always incorporate a social power component (Mach,
The concept of status is usually discussed in concert
with power and dominance. These three form a triptych of
authority. The greater the status, the greater the avail-
able power of dominance. By dictionary definition, status
refers to the relative rank of an individual; power refers
to possession of control, authority or command over others;
while dominance is defined as commanding, controlling, or
prevailing over all others (American College Dictionary,
It is status, with its accompanying power and dominance,
that gives the teacher authority but in so doing, it also
widens the psychological and usually the physical gap
between teacher and student. It is a thin line that the
teacher walks in trying to maintain status of self, while
simultaneously recognizing the rights and status of the
Power by itself is the legitimate or illegitimate
ability to control or dominate others (Bales, 1970). Con-
sidered this way, power might be seen as being a part of
the whole that is status. By comparison, power has less of
a class connotation attached to it than does status. Yet,
in the classroom, the teacher has status, with the ability
to wield power. In observing teacher status, according to
Bales (1970), the question is whether power is being
exerted in reinforcement of, or in opposition to, a normal
and conventional status.
Group dominance patterns affect the power component
within a group. In comparison with social power, dominance,
which is normally linked to status and power, holds less
interest as a component of status. "Power" is used more
today in comparative studies of human and animal behavior.
There is an implication of animal control in dominance.
Dominance may well represent status if we could strip status
of its socio-economic trappings (Mach, 1972). In discussing
power versus status, we are dealing with power which mani-
fests obvious displays, as contrasted with the hidden mean-
ings and behavioral subtleties of status. Yet, in observing
group interactions it is hard to ignore dominance patterns
that fluctuate continuously throughout the interaction.
Fluctuating dominance patterns can cause power shifts.
However, the individual who can wield the most power,
relative to rewards, usually wins any power competition
Status relative in this study will be considered a
composite of ranking, power, and dominance, given the fact
that educators enjoy rank, the power to pass or fail, and
in some instances physical dominance of the learning set-
ting. Also, it should be stated that, although student
status plays an important part in learning interactions,
this particular study is not designed to study student
nonverbal status displays. It is noteworthy that students'
actions reflect their own status. Students react to status
displays exhibited by professors relative to their own
status and such reactions can often trigger chain reactions
which contribute to the positive or negative atmosphere of
the learning setting. Thus, the interaction of status dis-
plays between professors and students can have a bearing on
the quality and type of communication that exists in a
classroom (Doyle, 1977).
In order to reduce negative interactions between students
and educators, there needs to be, for both groups, an increase
in self-awareness and self-esteem. Self and self-concept
have been areas of interest since the days of William James
(1914). Disciplines underlying the humanities, education,
and health professions have increasingly come to view the
self-concept as a basic central construct necessary for
people to understand themselves and others. A whole theore-
tical school known as "self theory" has developed through
the efforts of Rogers (1951), Wiley (1974), and others. The
concept of self-esteem, which is often used synonymously
with self-concept in the literature, was given a great deal
of exposure in Maslow's works (1959) involving self-
To obtain a view of oneself is to take the first step
toward remediating some of the negative perceptions of self,
thereby reducing insecurities that promote fear, threats
and other behaviors that emanate from a poor self-concept
or from egotism, and exaggerated sense of self-importance
(Fitts et al., 1971).
"High intention cannot coexist with a low self-image,"
and "When the ego is no longer running the show, we make
fewer value judgments about the status of the job at hand"
(Ferguson, 1980, p. 352, p. 345). In addition, "A person's
environment is constantly shifting, but the self is rela-
tively fixed and stable. Thus, the self-concept is a
powerful influence in behavior" (Fitts et al., 1971).
It has been stated "to the degree that a person's self-
concept is 'realistic,' he is said to have 'insight' into
himself" (Wiley, 1974, p. 5). These insights into self are
then translated into behaviors that are nonverbal and may
not be present in the consciousness (Rogers, 1951).
The concept of "style" in learning is comparatively
newly derived from multiple sources, one being Allport (1937)
who suggested the concept of "style" and defined it as the
consistency and pattern of expressive behaviors. In
ensuing years, this concept has been studied basically in
the context of personality and social variables (Broverman,
1960; Gardiner, 1953).
Style, related to cognitive processes, gradually found
its way into educational research upon the learning process
(Kagan et al., 1963). In the development of educational
sciences (Wasser, 1971), one of the constructs of the
sciences was determined as cognitive style. The educational
sciences focused upon learning itself as a science consisting
of seven constructs, which were to be scientifically
researched and measured. According to Hill, "The educational
sciences provide a conceptual framework and scientific
language for the applied field of knowledge called education.
These 'sciences' approach a level of precision that is found
in such other derivative fields as medicine, pharmacy,
engineering, and law" (Hill, 1968, p. 2).
Hill, former president of Oakland Community College,
Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, states "an individual's cognitive
style is determined by the way he takes note of his total
surroundings--how he seeks meaning, how he becomes informed"
(Hill, 1968, p. 3). One needs to know if a learner is a
reader or a listener; if decisions are made due to self-
viewpoint or by family and associates; and if the learner
reasons like a mathematician, a social scientist or an
Hill, in developing a cognitive style mapping test,
attempted to answer these needs by utilizing categories
which reflect a metatheory of facets as propounded by
Guttman (1954-55). Hill employed a modification of
Guttman's theory that evolved into the current concept of
cognitive style which is defined as the Cartesian product
of four sets:1. symbols and their meanings, 2. cultural
determinants, 3. modalities of inference, and 4. memory-
A student's cognitive map presents the educator with
an understanding of the student's preferred learning style
and the manner in which the student searches for meaning.
"Mapping an individual's cognitive style enables the
educator to consider the individual in terms that without
the map he might not have employed. Through this approach
it is possible to prescribe educational activities that
provide a better probability of successful accomplishment
by the individual than otherwise might be possible" (Hill,
1968, p. 9). This concept is basic to trends in persona-
lized, self-paced, self-instructional education.
It is the purpose of this study to employ preferred
learning style and self-concept as variables in an effort
to assess their relationship, if any, to the numbers of
nonverbal status displays demonstrated in a teaching
setting and observed by students and experts.
Given that every educator is ascribed status in the
teaching setting, the degree to which an educator's views
are compatible with the teaching environment and methodology
may be reflected in the numbers of status displays observed
by students and correlated with level of self-concept and
preferred learning style. Frequent use of status displays
may interfere in the communication process. However, it is
necessary first to ascertain that the nonverbal status dis-
play is observable and able to be quantified.
The population of this study is comprised of educators
and students and an expert team of seven individuals.
Twelve educators, convenience-selected by the Department
of Dental Education, comprise the educator population.
Convenience selection is used in that the only educational
staff people available are those teaching in the summer
semester. Also, there is a need to select from a group that
has historically proven to be willing to participate in
studies. Besides, there is the need to have a given number
of educators (three) represented in each of the four ranking
categories: full professor, associate professor, assistant
professor, and instructor.
Fifty dental students, convenience-selected from classes
representing all levels of the dental curriculum excepting
those first year students who have not been exposed to
clinical teaching, comprise the student population. Again,
these students were convenience-selected as opposed to
randomly selected because the populace was limited to those
students attending the summer semester of school. Thus it
was impossible to conduct a random selection where all dental
students would have had equal opportunity to be selected for
Five experts, trained in nonverbal communication, also
convenience-selected, comprise the expert populace.
The educators were given the Tennessee Self-Concept
Test and a cognitive style mapping test followed by video
taping each educator in interaction with students in a
clinical or laboratory setting. An edited tape was then
shown to the students and they noted their observations of
nonverbal status displays in the seven categories of non-
verbal codes. They also completed the Tennessee Self-Concept
Test. Cognitive style mapping scores for students were
already available since all students are tested upon entry
into the college. The team of nonverbal experts were then
shown the video tapes in the same manner as the students.
However, the expert team was not given the Tennessee Self-
Concept Test or the cognitive style mapping test. The
design of the study then called for a descriptive analysis
to be made relative to the variances between student and
expert observations, and student observations of educators,
relative to self-concept scores and cognitive mapping
scores of both students and educators.
A descriptive analysis formed the core of this study.
The dependent variable was nonverbal status displays with
self-concept and cognitive style as independent variables.
Each of the 12 educators was given a letter indicating
that this research project was involved generally with
aspects of teaching style and environment. More detailed
information regarding the research was not to be made avail-
able until the completion of the project due to the possi-
bility of confounding the data. Each educators was then
asked to sign a statement of participation.
Upon receipt of the signed affidavit, each educator was
given a Tennessee Self-Concept Test to complete and upon
completion of this test was then given a cognitive style
mapping test to complete. Some of the educators did not
have to take the cognitive style mapping test because they
had been required to take one upon entry into their position
in the college. However, six of the 12 educators had not
taken the test and completed it for this study.
Each educator was then video taped in the clinical or
laboratory setting. Time allotted for video taping each
educator was one hour. Only student interactions or
occurring faculty interactions were video taped. The numbers
of interactions varied with the type of clinic, day, and
time. The tape was then edited into three-minute segments
of each educator by a prescribed methodology to prevent bias
selection of behavior. This is described in Chapter III.
With the collection of the data, analyses were then
begun relative to the hypotheses of the study.
1. There will be significant differences between the
mean number of nonverbal status displays reported by
student and expert observers.
2. The number of nonverbal status displays reported
by a student will be significantly correlated with the
student's Tennessee Self-Concept Test scores.
3. The number of nonverbal status displays reported
by students for each professor will be significantly cor-
related with the professor's Tennessee Self-Concept Test
4. In a comparison of student and educator cognitive
style mapping scores, student scores will be matched with
educator scores and those students whose matched score is
similar to that of each educator will vary significantly in
the number of observed nonverbal status displays from those
students whose matched cognitive style mapping scores are
more disparate from those of each educator.
5. In comparing the observed number of nonverbal status
displays between educator categories, there will be a signi-
ficant difference in the frequency of observed displays
between higher professional rankings and lower professional
6. The nonverbal status displays observed most fre-
quently will vary significantly between higher professional
rankings and lower professional rankings.
The analyses for Hypothesis 1 which investigated the
differencess, if any, between expert- and student-reported
nonverbal status displays were by means of a two-factor
analysis of variance. Group was one factor and rank the
Pearson's product moment correlation was employed to
ascertain any correlation between student-observed non-
verbal status displays and the students' self-concept scores
for Hypothesis 2.
In correlating the number of nonverbal status displays
reported by students for each professor with the professor's
Tennessee Self-Concept Scores under Hypothesis 3, a repeated
measures regression analysis was used.
For Hypothesis 4 the comparison between student's and
educator's preferred learning styles was achieved by obtain-
ing the degree of match between each student's score and
each professor's score on the cognitive style mapping test.
Then a Pearson product moment correlation was employed to
ascertain if there is any correlation between the degree of
match and the number of nonverbal status displays reported
by the students.
Analysis for Hypothesis 5 involved the use of the same
two-factor analysis of variance employed in analyzing
Hypothesis 1, using the factors of group and rank to ascertain
any difference between the use of nonverbal status displays
between higher professional ranks and lower professional
To determine the nonverbal status displays observed most
frequently between the four professional ranks under Hypo-
thesis 6, a multivariate analysis of variance was employed.
This study is comprised of two well-defined groups,
educators and students. The educators were convenience-
selected from a small population of educators who were
teaching during a summer semester. The students were
convenience-selected from another relatively small popula-
tion of students taking clinical or laboratory practicums.
The fact that the college from which these students and
educators were selected is not representative of other dental
colleges also reflects that the participants in the study
are not representative of other dental academic communities.
However, they may well represent the educational populace of
the future when technological education is employed on a
wider basis throughout the entire educational system.
The educators in this study are not necessarily trained
teachers but trained specialists; however, in this era of
specialization, they may be representative of the greater
numbers of faculty members in higher education.
The value of this study may lie in the fact that all
teachers, trained or untrained, are confronted with insecuri-
ties that may be reflected in their self-concept and non-
verbal status displays. If an inordinate number of status
displays are used and impede communication, then this study
might be generalizable to other academic environments. The
findings in this study should be more readily generalizable
to other medically related disciplines such as medicine
where clinical practicums constitute a large part of the
The development of a limited behavioral observation chart
impedes the in-depth testing of participants relative to
their innate sensitivities to nonverbal communication. Time
limit and one-time exposure to the material also limit some
of the reaction responses. This, combined with the small
sample of educators, limits the overall amount of data in the
study. The group of educators is homogeneous; variations
within the group will more than likely exist but may not be
Nonverbal studies are today done more frequently in
concert with verbal interactions to better simulate normal
communication circumstances, but since the focus of this
study was on nonverbal status displays, it was felt that
inclusion of verbal components would cause confusion.
Nonverbal communication, in its larger, composite sense,
is difficult to quantify; yet, the interpretation of this
study is quantitative, but to a limited degree. The study
will be able to quantify the number of nonverbal status
displays observed and categorically denote some degree of
observational prowess. The study will also be able to
quantify similarities of responses and correlate the finding
relative to the covariants. However, the study will not be
able to truly measure the conscious awareness of students of
the nonverbal behaviors of educators. It will not be able
to measure the intensity of response or all of the nonverbal
subtleties of nonverbal status as displayed by the educators.
To measure meaning is still a difficult task even though
technical capabilities to quantify have improved immensely.
Organization of Dissertation
The subsequent four chapters of this dissertation address
the literature that pertains to this study, the design of
this study, the reported statistical and descriptive
analyses and finally the implications of the results of the
Chapter Two examines the literature that represents
studies, the nature of which may have some bearing on this
study, or bear some resemblance to the efforts intrinsic
to this research. Chapter Three consists of descriptions of
the participants, the method of selection, a discussion of
the methodology, validity and reliability, and the method
of analysis. Chapter Four reports the data acquired, the
descriptive and quantitative analyses and interpretation.
Chapter Five synthesizes the information, generalizing it
to any appropriate populations and in general reviewing
the implications of the study relative to the specific
community for which it was devised. It also addresses some
aspects of a prescriptive program and further investigations.
REVIEW OF LITERATURE
Nonverbal communication has captured the minds of
researchers in many different disciplines and the amount
of research reported in the area of nonverbal communication
since its upsurge in the 1950s is voluminous. However,
trends in research began to change toward the 1970s when
more scholarly and more definitive methodology began to be
employed in studying the various aspects of nonverbal com-
munication. Furthermore, research began to coalesce under
the concept that nonverbal codes studied and interpreted
in isolation did not represent the manner in which nonverbal
communication was read in the practice of everyday communi-
cations. Researchers began to combine and integrate studies
of nonverbal codes and studies of nonverbal and verbal
interactions. There was a maturational trend in approaching
research in these areas evidenced by studies that incorpor-
ated more in-depth approaches to the nonverbal codes, more
integrated verbal and nonverbal research, and more sophis-
ticated methods of quantifying research (Burgoon, 1980).
Knowledge of the organization of the information con-
tained in this chapter may facilitate reading. There are
three major areas: nonverbal communication research, status
and nonverbal communication research, and a summary of the
research. In the first part, nonverbal communication research
is an overview of nonverbal communication relative to the
types of research being conducted and examples of each.
This is followed by research in nonverbal communication as
conducted in education, nonverbal communication and the
health-related disciplines, and dental research in non-
verbal communication, and examples of each.
Overview of Nonverbal Communication Research
Burgoon defined the four major areas of investigation
in nonverbal communication in the seventies as intent,
awareness, shared meaning, and genre of units qualified as
meaningful (Burgoon, 1980).
With regard to intent there are three perspectives:
the source of the communication, the receiver, and the
message orientation. These three viewpoints reflect
differently on the question of whether nonverbal acts must
be intentionally committed by the source and perceived as
intentionally committed by the receiver. From the stand-
point of the communicator, only those acts that are intended
to communicate are valid, while from the receiver's stand-
point, only those messages to which the receiver ascribes
meaning are valid. The third point of view deals with
defining the message orientation and with the distinction
between nonverbal behavior and nonverbal communication,
"the latter being only those behaviors that are publicly
encoded" and these behaviors are ascribed to have "socially
shared meaning" (Burgoon, 1980, p. 179).
When the focus is shifted to message orientation, it
reduces the infiltration of idiosyncratic behaviors that
are not considered commonalities in communication activities.
But then arises the question as to awareness of the intent
to communicate. Does the source or the receiver have to be
aware of the intent to communicate? Message orientation
sidesteps the issue to some degree by relating value to the
message as determined by the culture rather than the immedi-
ate parties involved.
Of course, measuring intent or conscious awareness is
difficult, to say the least, but when one also considers
the possibility of unconscious awareness, it becomes a
virtual impossibility. Yet any acceptance of Freudian
psychology necessitates that unconscious awareness be a
consideration in researching nonverbal communication. The
concept of unconscious awareness applied to the construct
of shared meaning is reflected in some of the current
research now taking place at Stanford Research Center on
extrasensory perception, which is another form of nonverbal
communication (Targ & Puthoff, 1977).
Shared meaning is another interpretive aspect that
affects research efforts in nonverbal communication. The
breadth of the definition embraced by the researcher affects
the measurement of meaning. If shared meaning is restricted
to those meanings attributed as components of a purposeful
exchange between sender and receiver, then the definition is
narrowed and measurement enhanced (Harrison, 1974, pp. 23-33).
But with reductionism comes isolationism which is the price
that is often paid to define measurable yet meaningful units.
Burgoon (1980) refers to "meaningful units" and states
that this "concerns whether nonverbal 'codes' should be
limited to symbolic acts . i.e., units may be linguistic
or nonlinguistic in character . ." (p. 180). Knapp (1972),
mentioned by Burgoon, limits the nonverbal codes much as is
described in the present study. Burgoon, referring to
Harrison (1974) and Leathers (1976),says that they include
"such units as olfaction, skin sensitivity to touch, plastic
surgery, the media, imagination, creativity, and animal and
insect communication within the nonverbal domain" (p. 180).
Running like some antediluvian current throughout all
these issues is the eternal research question, nature or
nurture? Does otogeny recapitulate phylogeny relative to
communication and especially nonverbal communication? How
much of our nonverbal skills are innate vs. learned?
(Tiger & Fox, 1971). Like Lenneberg and Chomsky, who used
comparative methods to determine universal rules of grammar,
so, Tiger and Fox seek a biogrammar linking man to his
biological and genetic past in the development of behavioral
communication. Although Tiger and Fox are linguistic
anthropologists, they combine their linguistic background
with an ethological approach to research in the area of
There have been many different discipline-related
approaches to communication research in the past decade
(Budd & Reubin, 1972). Burgoon and Saine (1978) have
identified at least 10 different approaches based on different
fields of endeavor ranging from anthropological to zoologi-
A recent study (Marcos, 1979) was based on the psycho-
logical approach to "Nonverbal Behavior and Thought
Processing." In his study, Marcos referred to relationships,
confirmed by Efron (1941), between nonverbal behavior and
culturally patterned content aspects of speech. Marcos'
study "addressed itself to the identification of nonverbal
activity, specifically hand movements, with no message
content value but with a function in the processing of
verbal encoding" (Marcos, 1979, p. 940). The background
of the study involved observations of Spanish-speaking
schizophrenic patients who, when interviewed in English,
displayed a marked increase in the use of nonverbal hand
motions, which indicated that the patient was using the
motions more to facilitate thought processing or verbal
encoding rather than for psychopathological reasons. The
study, carried out with bilingual subjects, but ones with
a definite language deficit, subjected them to a discussion
of high- and low-imagery topics in both languages. A
significant difference was proven to exist between the
amount of movement produced in the dominant language and
the nondominant one. The results of this study support
the idea that nonverbal behavior has a function in the
central processing of information and warns that clinicians
evaluating subordinate bilingual patients with a language
deficiency should be careful to distinguish nonverbal
movements that are representational from those that reflect
verbalization motor behaviors with expressive or inter-
personal meaning (Marcos, 1979).
Another interesting study, this one on the social-
psychological aspects of nonverbal communication, looks at
"The effects of cigarette smoking on the perception of
nonverbal communications" (Hertz, 1978). The basis for
this research is that smoking increases heart rate and by
so doing affects the perceptions of the individual. Hertz
hypothesized that cigarette smoking would result in a
decreased sensitivity in observing nonverbal cues in still
pictures of the human face; a decrease in sensitivity to
content-free speech; and a reduction in stress by increas-
ing accuracy of perception resulting in a decrease in
Hertz found that increases in heart rate due to
cigarette smoking led to a decrease in accuracy of per-
ception of visually presented nonverbal cues, still or
moving. He found that smokers in the smoking and no-
smoking conditions did not differ significantly in their
accuracy of perception of content-free speech. Relative
to reducing stress and thereby decreasing the smoking
rate which is aided by increasing the accuracy of percep-
tion, the researcher found a suggestion of the possibility
that "smoking decreases the sensitivity to all stimuli,
both positive and negative. The findings suggest that
the smoker is an individual who is generally cautious and
who prefers experiencing events in the environment on a
generally subdued level in order to assure that there is
always a cushion of protection from either unexpected or
anticipated threat" (Hertz, 1978, p. 81).
In yet another vein there is the study dealing with
nonverbal behaviors and the outcome of selection interview,
by Forbes and Jackson (1980). Their study quotes research
by Kennan and Wedderburn (1975) who found "interviewer's
communication style (operationalized in terms of head nods,
smiling,and eye contact) affects both the perception of the
interviewer and the performance of the candidate" (p. 404).
However, Forbes and Jackson too note that the Kennan-
Wedderburn study, like many others, was conducted by
"constructed video recordings" and their findings were
based on judgments made by observers. The Forbes-Jackson
study was based, therefore, on "real-life" interviews,
with the purpose of relating the "non-verbal behavior" of
candidates in selection interviews to the decisions made
in those interviews. They expected more "head nodding,
smiling, direct eye contact, and leaning forward behavior
in the 'accept' interviews, and more frowning and gaze
avoidance in the 'reject' interviews" (Forbes & Jackson,
1980, p. 407).
In their study they charted the behavior in 101
interviews of job candidates. The interviewers were four
specialists in engineering who were screening applicants
for positions as trainee technical apprentices.
The researchers noted that direct eye contact occurs
more frequently in the "accept" interviews, gaze avoidance
in "reject" interviews, and shaking or nodding of the head
occurs much more frequently in the "accept" interviews than
the "reject" interviews. They also concluded that "inter-
viewers tend to make their selection decisions soon after
the start of the interview, then they may give positive
reinforcement to those candidates whom they have decided to
accept and negative reinforcement to those whom they have
decided to reject" (Forbes & Jackson, 1980, p. 410).
Just as Burgoon defined the major issues of investi-
gation in the seventies, so the past decade has seen
research development in three distinctive discipline-related
categories: communication systems, biological-neurophysio-
logical, and social-psychological. Although there are
categorical differences, there have been similarities in
the thrust of research in each of these three groups.
The endeavors can be categorized in five areas of research:
1. variable-analytic, 2. structural research on encoder,
message, and decoder, 3. research relative to functional
aspects of nonverbal communication, 4. research based on
context, and 5. development of nonverbal skills.
Research and Nonverbal Communication in Education
In surveying nonverbal communication research in educa-
tion it is possible to classify studies into six categories
of content, namely those which 1. involve student and
teacher interactions, 2. address teacher nonverbal behavior
or student nonverbal behavior, 3. relate to methods of
observing or evaluating teacher or student nonverbal behavior
or communication, 4. deal with observation and/or quantifi-
cation of variables that affect nonverbal communication,
5. examine the affective realm of nonverbal communication,
and 6. consider the effect of nonverbal communication on
the general teaching environment.
Efforts to evaluate teacher-student interactions have
become more prevalent, but due to the difficulty in separa-
ting out the variables, and the problem of measuring such
amorphic aspects of interactions as the teacher's warmth
(Della & Gage, 1955) these studies have proven to be contra-
dictory. The lack of consistency has been attributed to
researchers investigating concepts that need to be better
refined and defined before further investigation takes place,
and to researchers oversimplifying the relationship or
interaction between student and teacher (Nussbaum & Scott,
With this in mind, these workers designed a study to
assess the relationship between student learning and varying
levels of teacher-student solidarity, as well as the rela-
tionship between varying levels of solidarity and a teacher's
communication style. They measured student-teacher solidarity
with 323 university students and 10 graduate assistant in-
structors ranging from 22 to 25 years of age. The measure-
ment was effected by means of a Likert-type instrument
developed by Wheeless (1975) to measure impersonal solidarity.
The instrument was modified by Nussbaum (1983) to measure
student/teacher solidarity. To measure the communicator
style, they used a 51-item scale which computed variations
of style such as friendly, dramatic, animated, contentious,
impression-leaving, attentive, open, relaxed, etc. Affec-
tive and behavioral learning were measured by employing
eight seven-point evaluative semantic differential scales
and four seven-point differential scales respectively
(Osgood, Suci, & Tannenbaum, 1957). To measure the cog-
nitive learning parameters of the study, the scores on the
second of three examinations were used as measures of
Nussbaum and Scott (1980) reported findings that "point
to the significance of a moderately close relationship
existing between a student and his teacher" (p. 561). They
also report, that teachers rated as enjoying a high level
of solidarity with their students differ from those with a
low level of solidarity across the four variables of open,
friendly, impression-leaving, and dramatic. They emphasize
the idea that the relationship between an instructor's com-
municative behavior and student learning may be mediated by
Nussbaum and Scott's study calls attention to the areas
of ineffectiveness or inappropriateness of other studies.
The question needs to be raised as to whether this study is
realistically conducted when it makes use of graduate student
assistants as instructors with a populace of students whose
age would vary from the instructors as little as from five
to seven years. Contrasting this with a more normal situa-
tion where the teacher would exhibit greater differences in
both age and experience presents some question as to the
generalizability of the study. The psychological distancing,
as mentioned in the study, might well be congruent with the
lack of distancing or difference between age and experience.
Daly and Korinek (1980) reviewed studies of classroom
interaction and found that "a large number of studies
indicate that the nature of teacher and student communica-
tion affects both the quality and quantity of what is learned
in the classroom" (p. 516). They state, "For most children
the majority of their 'communicative lives' is spent in the
classroom. The classroom represents a setting where the
nature, functions, and outcomes of communication can be clearly
observed with only limited artificiality" (p. 516).
Daly and Korinek describe many studies which demon-
strate the importance of classroom interaction. They state
"student self-esteem and intellectual responsibility are
positively related to classroom academic talk while social
desirability tendencies and social-communicative anxiety
are inversely related" (p. 521).
They conclude that research on teacher characteristics
suggests "(1) More experienced teachers are more control-
oriented, offering greater criticism of students, more humor
and permitting more student-initiated talk (Hoy, 1967, 1969;
Moskowitz & Hayman, 1974). (2) The sex of both teacher and
student affects interaction. .. .Female instructors praise
students more and criticize them less than do male instruc-
tors" (p. 521). The research suggests that male instructors
are also likely to praise and criticize male students more
than female students (Daly & Korinek, 1980, p. 521; Good,
Sikes & Brophy, 1973; Karp & Yoels, 1976).
Probably the most outstanding aspect of this overview by
Daly and Korinek is that, in dealing with research relative
to classroom interaction, they did not cite a single instance
where nonverbal communication was an integral part of the
interaction research. The focus of the studies cited was on
the verbal discourse that takes place in classroom interactions.
Since nonverbal communication takes place in most interactions
and is particularly observable in the classroom, it would seem
that there might be a flaw in the structure of some of the
research done on interaction in the classroom.
Nonverbal Behavior Studies
Nonverbal studies normally fall into two classifications,
those that focus on the nonverbal to the exclusion of the
verbal and those that study the nonverbal in conjunction with
the verbal. It would seem that the latter type of study
would give the more realistic evaluation of classroom inter-
action because it includes both categories of communication.
However, sometimes, due to the complexity of the components
of both verbal and nonverbal communications, there are diffi-
culties in interrelating and correlating verbal and nonverbal.
On the other hand, those studies conducted with the exclusion
of verbal communication may be flawed in not presenting the
whole communication picture. Similarly, there are some non-
verbal studies that focus entirely on some variable or code
within the constructs of nonverbal. Many such studies were
conducted in the sixties and early seventies, but in recent
years, the need to integrate the nonverbal codes has been
demonstrated. The codes are usually read as a unit, either
supportive of each other or disparate. Thus, assessing the
nonverbal codes as a component of a specific nonverbal
message is more in keeping with the realistic use of non-
verbal in any given situation. Two studies exemplary of
research that focuses on the nonverbal aspects of educa-
tion are "Nonverbal behavior in teaching: another dimension
to classroom communication" (Credell, 1977), and "A descrip-
tive analysis of nonverbal behaviors of college teachers"
In Credell's study, both the perceptions of selected
teachers and students were utilized to ascertain the use
of positive or negative nonverbal behavior by twelve
teachers who were video taped in their normal teaching
setting. Ten nonverbal codes were designated: physical
appearance, facial expression, gestures, voice, proxemics,
body expression, use of time, expression of eyes, actions,
and expression of mouth.
Teacher observers were divided into two panels, A and
B. Panel A teachers had been designated by principals as
teachers whose communication practices were identified as
producing a positive effect and image with students,
colleagues, and parents. Panel B teachers consisted of
those identified by principals as using communication
practices that resulted in their not being liked or
respected by the majority of students, colleagues and parents.
When the two panels observed the video tapes and a comparison
was made on each of the 10 codes, there were no significant
differences; however, in comparing the overall ability to
perceive negative behaviors, there was a significant differ-
ence between Panel A and B. Members of Panel B apparently
lacked the skills with which to identify negative behaviors.
Students selected for this study were from a group known
to be having difficulty in school. Thus, the populace does
not represent the normal populace. But findings of this
study show that these students become confused when verbal
messages given by the teachers on the video tape were then
contradicted by their nonverbal behavior. The example given
in the study was that when a teacher said to a group of
students that she wanted to give them as much help as possible,
this was confounded by her behavior of eye contact avoidance
with those same students (Credall, 1977).
Willett's study (1977), although entitled "A descriptive
analysis of nonverbal behaviors," etc., does not exclusively
investigate nonverbal behaviors. Five out of nine hypo-
theses investigate the combination of verbal and nonverbal
behaviors in the classroom. Four of the hypotheses examine
nonverbal communication to the exclusion of verbal components.
Willett used observations made by students and an expert
group to assess teacher behavior. There was significant
agreement at the 0.05 level between experts' and students'
findings when they observed a teacher's encouraging or
restrictive nonverbal behavior. But observations did not
determine that teachers who use predominately encouraging
nonverbal behavior are any more effective than teachers who
use predominately restrictive nonverbal behavior as indicated
by results from a Fisher Exact Probably Test. One of the
hypotheses stated that female students would achieve a high
degree of agreement with experts relative to observing
teachers' encouraging and/or restrictive nonverbal behavior,
and this hypothesis was rejected. Willett's intent in this
study was to show that studying teacher behavior, especially
nonverbal behavior, is an entree to encouraging developmental
improvement in teaching styles or techniques. He cited many
studies, among them Elbe (1972), that support the idea that
college teachers have a good knowledge of their subject but
are not really prepared to teach.
Combined Verbal and Nonverbal Studies
Walsh (1977) conducted a study similar to Willett's,
the difference being that the title of Willett's study
implied that it dealt solely with nonverbal behaviors when
in reality it involved both verbal and nonverbal, while
Walsh's study clearly stated the research involved the
interaction of both verbal and nonverbal. Like Willett's,
Walsh's study was "intended to find whether there was a
significant degree of consistency between trained teacher
observers and students in determining the influence of a
teachers verbal and nonverbal communication in the teaching
process" (p. 1).
Walsh's study was developmental in its approach in that
he sought to create a program whereby teachers could learn
more about nonverbal methods and thereby increase their
effectiveness in the classroom. He cited a study by
Christiansen (1960) which explored the relationship between
achievement of fourth and fifth grade students, pupil
affect-need and perceived teacher warmth. The study revealed
that teachers perceived by students high on the dimension of
warmth had significantly higher student scores in arithmetic
and vocabulary measures. Such findings, according to Walsh,
imply that "a teacher's actions can affect both the cognitive
and the affective dimensions of learning" (Walsh, 1977, p. 15).
Walsh used the French-Galloway instrument to make his
observations. He concluded that effective teachers had to
use fewer dominance displays than average teachers, they were
more responsive to the student than average teachers and they
were less involved in being pleasant than average teachers.
Re (1978), in conducting her research for her doctoral
dissertation, took into consideration the ecological com-
munication environment one finds in the classroom. She
illustrated how quickly this environment is changing with
the addition of new technology: video, video disk, and
personal computers. Re directed her research toward the
area of nonverbal and verbal interactive behavior. Two
groups were observed: Group I, five elementary school
teachers who were judged best, and Group II, five elementary
school teachers who were not judged best. Five hundred high
school students completed a questionnaire which asked "Who
was your best elementary school teacher?" The five most
mentioned names were selected for Group I; the five names
mentioned only once or not at all comprised Group II.
Re observed each of the ten teachers in discussion
activities on five separate occasions for a minimum of 20
minutes each time. She used the French-Galloway adaptation
of the Flanders System for Interaction Analysis. Re hypo-
teachers judged best would 1. behave more
indirectly. 2. talk less, 3. be more
indirect in their response to student talk,
4. be less direct in their response to
students, 5. be more indirect even after
eliminating questions and lecturing
behavior, 6. use more verbally and non-
verbally congruent behavior, 7. be more
concerned with positive pupil personal
development, 8. be more congruent,
9. spend more time in an effort to elicit
student talk, and 10. be more successful
at eliciting student response. (Re, 1978
Nine of her 10 hypotheses were supported. Her overall
results indicated "that teachers who were judged best by
their previous students established significantly different
verbal and nonverbal communication patterns from teachers
who were not judged best by their previous students"
(p. 157). Those teachers judged best (Group I), "verbally
and nonverbally encouraged students to participate
while teachers in Group II spent less time on these
activities." Re states "Teachers in Group II spent more
of their time verbally and nonverbally inhibiting student
participation and in this way dominated classroom acti-
vities" (Re, 1978, p. 157).
Re also notes that there was a difference in the teach-
ing patterns of teachers in Group I and Group II. Group I
teachers usually began a discussion by asking broad questions
which students might answer by expressing themselves in
"unanticipated" answers which served as a catalyst to initiate
further student participation. Group II teachers usually
began discussion by asking a narrow question with a
"predictable" answer. Students responded with the expected
answer. Then the teacher asked another narrow question and
then "the teacher praises and encourages the students and
moves on to another question" (Re, 1978, p. 158). Group I
teachers praised the students also but used nonverbal praise
more in isolation rather than in concert with verbal praise
as compared to the teachers in Group II who used less non-
verbal praise. Teachers in "Group I used about double the
nonverbal communication without verbal accompaniment than
did teachers in Group II" (p. 154). Students answering
teachers in Group I answered the broad questions with replies
that usually lasted longer than three seconds. Afterwards,
the students were praised and encouraged. Then the teacher
would often use the student contributions to act as a
catalyst to motivate additional student participation. While
narrower questions with predictable answers were asked by
teachers in Group II, they elicited responses like those of
Group I, lasting three seconds in length or longer. Similarly,
they praised and encouraged students and then went on to the
next question which often took more than three seconds to ask
even though the question was narrower in scope and more
clearly defined. Group II teachers however did not incorporate
student ideas and student initiated responses in their teaching
Some interactive studies involve not only the students
in the classroom or teaching setting, but external observers
also. Such a study is one that was executed by Clark (1977)
which compared participant and nonparticipant observations
of selected classroom interactions. Five ninth grade
teachers were video taped in their normal classroom settings.
Then, observations made by seven randomly selected students
of each teacher were compared to the observations by seven
doctoral students in education. The students had been
participants in the classroom interaction; the doctoral
students had not been participants. An instrument was
developed for data collection entitled Teacher Nonverbal
Behavior Rating Scale (TNBRS).
Clark's intentions were to 1. determine whether
observations of teacher nonverbal behavior differed when
perceived by participants and nonparticipants, and 2.
determine what nonverbal cues are identified by parti-
cipants and nonparticipants as indicators of the affective
quality of teacher nonverbal behavior.
It is difficult to determine why the design did not
also include a group of observers of the same age as the
participant observers (seventh graders) who had never been
exposed to the particular teachers involved in the study.
To compare the perceptions of teenage students who are
observing their own teachers with those of adult students
who are doctoral students with apparently no background in
nonverbal communication seems to place an abnormally wide
variance between the two groups without the mediation of
an unbiased, teenage group to represent an unbiased norm.
However, Clark did find a difference between the observa-
tions of the participants and nonparticipants at the 0.001
level and also found a significant difference between the
variances accounted for by participant and nonparticipant
ratings of nonverbal cues. Participants rated the first
five nonverbal cues as 1. facial expression, 2. hand
motion, 3. tone of voice, 4. illustrates at board, and
5. walks around. The nonparticipants rated the first five
nonverbal cues as 1. hand motion, 2. tone of voice,
3. walks around, 4. facial expression, and 5. stands over.
These variances might possibly be accounted for by the
development of more sophisticated perceptions in the non-
participants or by the difference between adult and child
Clark related in summary that it is important for
teachers to be made aware of the importance of nonverbal
communication and how and what they are transmitting to
students, both verbally and nonverbally. She also states
that nonparticipant observers should become more familiar
with how participants tend to perceive nonverbal communi-
cation acts. She suggests that one way to learn more
about participant perceptions of nonverbal behavior would
be to study participants' self-concept and the environment
in which learning takes place.
Affective Characteristics of Nonverbal Communication
Some researchers are beginning to examine affective
aspects of nonverbal communication. Affective education is
becoming more important than ever with the influx of high
technology into the learning scene. Miller (1971), in
introducing George Isaac Brown's book, Human Teaching for
Human Learning, discussed the need to return to our "central
educational tradition" but not using the out-dated methods
employed before Sputnik. "Instead, we must reinvent the
great tradition by renewing it. One of the primary ways for
such renewal is the concept of 'affective education,' that
is, the identification for specific educational concern of
the nonintellective side of learning: the side having to do
with emotions, feelings, interests, values, and character"
(Brown, 1971, p. XVI).
Brown's book introduces the concept of confluent
education which he defines "as the integration or flowing
together of the affective and cognitive elements in
individual and group learning--sometimes called humanistic
or psychological education" (p. 3). He further states,
"there is no society within our knowledge that is not in
dramatic need of emotional education" (p. 17).
Emotions and passions, whether concerned with human
interaction or the acquisition of knowledge, are expressed
by means of nonverbal behaviors. So in order to measure the
components of affective education, nonverbal behavior has
to be observed and quantified.
An example of a study which attempted to quantify affec-
tive nonverbal and verbal behaviors is that by Thomas (1980)
where measurements were made of teachers' perceptions of
their own affective characteristics as compared to students'
perceptions of teachers' affective characteristics.
The purpose of the Thomas study was to determine if
there was a significant difference between verbal and non-
verbal behaviors as exhibited by high-affect and low-affect
physical education teachers and between male and female
physical education teachers. The teachers were given a
list of adjectives and were asked to check those that applied
to them. Students of these teachers were given the same
list and asked to check off those adjectives that best
described the teacher. The five male and five female
teachers whose self-perception scores were more congruent
with the positive perceptions of the students' formed the
"high-affect" group while the five males and five females
whose self-perception scores were congruent with the low
scores of students' formed the "low-affect" group. In
addition, the Cheffers and Rogers Adaptation of Flanders
Interaction Analysis System was used to observe the teachers
in the study for the purpose of identifying verbal and non-
verbal behaviors. Thomas found a significant difference in
nonverbal and verbal behaviors at the 0.008 level between the
"high-affect" and "low-affect" groups. There was also a
significant difference between males and females in the
verbal category indicating that females provided more
verbal behavior than males.
The Cheffers and Rogers Adaptation of the Flanders
System (Cheffers, Amidon, & Rogers, 1974) attempts to
rectify the absence of nonverbal observations in the
original Flanders System. The Cheffers and Rogers System
identifies 53 nonverbal behaviors that supposedly parallel
the verbal behaviors that were identified in the Flanders
System. Out of the 53 nonverbal behaviors in the Cheffers
and Rogers, only six deal with vocalics, only three with
touch and only one with time. The remaining 43 behaviors
fall into the category of kinesics or body language. Such
important nonverbal codes as appearance or artifacts,
environment, and proxemics are not even taken into considera-
The affective realm is not easy to measure and yet it
is an area in much need of exploration. Smith-Hanen (1977)
reported a study designed to measure the effects of non-
verbal behaviors on judged levels of counselor warmth and
empathy. In this study she used experimental and control
groups of 20 subjects each. The subjects were to judge
video tapes of simulated nonverbal behaviors to ascertain,
on the Truax and Carkhuff (1967) five-level scale, the degree
of nonpossessive warmth and empathy demonstrated.
Smith-Hanen paraphrased Merabian and Ferris (1967) by
stating that studies indicate that nonverbal communication
accounts for one and one-half times as much variance in
message transfer as verbal messages. She emphasized that
there needs to be greater focus on nonverbal behaviors in
the training of counselors.
The Smith-Hanen study is exemplary of those studies
that examine one aspect of nonverbal communication. Although
the title of the study would imply that the study involves
all nonverbal behaviors, the singular focus of the study is
on kinesics, and even excludes some areas of kinesics. This
study pinpoints leg and arm behaviors as indicators of
warmth and empathy. The control group was shown video tapes
of behaviors that involved only head and neck movements,
while the experimental group was shown the same interaction
but was exposed only to leg and arm movements. The control
group judged the subjects generally colder than the experi-
mental group, which may bear out the belief that nonverbal
behaviors must be read in conjunction with each other and
as total messages. The study showed that certain arm
positions and leg positions do affect the judged levels
of counselor warmth and empathy. Smith-Hanen also stated
that "clients are aware of nonverbal behaviors of the
counselor and use these cues to judge the counselor's
warmth and empathy" (p. 91).
Measurement of Nonverbal Behaviors
Measurement of nonverbal behaviors is likened to mea-
suring the scent of a rose. There are many variables that
would cause the measurement and its value to vary with the
quantifier, the quantifier's nose, history of olfactory
experience, and even heredity factors. It is apparent that,
in evaluating behavior, the establishment of values has to
include affects of behavior or motivators of behavior that
are difficult to verbalize much less to quantify.
In his essay, The Science of Value, Robert S. Hartman
(1959) stated: "the science of value is to value as the
science of botany, for example, is to a rose: it does not
smell. . .The science of value is an intellectual, not
a valuational, enterprise. The value analyst does not value
but analyzes value . ." (p. 13). Hartman's essay is but
one of many in a book dedicated to the concept that man's
narrow focus of science has placed him in a state of value-
lessness and that something has to be done to recognize and
scientifically analyze values (Maslow, 1959).
When behavioral theorists developed the stimulus-
response concept and the little black box, a degree of
measurement could be achieved relative to the degree of
response or success. "That 'little black box' in psycho-
logical theorizing--the one we call 'meaning'--is held by
common consent to be the most elusive. Yet . is one
of the most important determinants of human behavior"
(Osgood, Suci, & Tannenbaum, 1957, p. 10).
Nonverbal communication can be viewed by means of the
stimulus-response criterion; however, it is this author's
contention that much of its value is lost by not including
such variables and variations as time, background, envir-
onment etc. Thus, because of its complexity and its
susceptibility to non-objective analysis, nonverbal com-
munication has created problems for researchers seeking an
objective index by which to measure all the values of
One of the most frequently mentioned explorers in the
nonverbal realm of research in education is Charles Galloway.
His 1962 doctoral dissertation "An exploratory study of
observational procedures for determining teacher nonverbal
communication" has been cited in any number of studies,
including those mentioned in this chapter.
Galloway explored three methods of observing the non-
verbal communication of teachers. The first method required
trained observers to use specific categories for making
inferences regarding teacher communications. The second
method also utilized trained observers who narratively
described the nonverbal communication of teachers. Their
narrative observation records were given to judges for the
purpose of making some definitive statement as to the
teachers' communicative behavior. The third procedure
Galloway employed was to secure three experts to make global
assessments of the teacher-subjects on a continuum ranging
from encouraging to inhibiting communication.
The categorical and narrative aspects of Galloway's
index dealt on a continuum with such global activities as
1. enthusiastic support, 2. helping, 3. receptivity,
4. performance, 5. inattentive, 6. unresponsive, and
7. disapproval. Any of these behaviors would involve any
number of nonverbal codes and such nonverbal components
were not addressed in the study. Instead, the study was
more of an exploration of the effects of nonverbal communi-
cation. Those who judged the behaviors were experts in the
realm of education and communication but not in the area
of nonverbal communication, and they, too, were asked to
make definitive evaluations on the basis of a global con-
tinuum of encouraging to inhibiting behaviors.
But this at least was a beginning. Galloway himself
recognized a need for a more objective and refined instru-
ment. He cited an example: "in one instance a teacher
frowned at a pupil, but the pupil responded by smiling back
and by generally indicating that he understood. In such
instances making a decision about an appropriate category
was difficult" (p. 7).
If Galloway had known more about nonverbal cues, and
the observers had been experts in nonverbal communication,
they might have detected the nonverbal message that the
pupil was very secure, the teacher insecure, and the smile
of the student was indeed a status display to counter the
frown of the teacher. But such an analysis cannot be
ascribed if many nonverbal codes, supportive of each other,
have not been observed and recognized. However, in 1962,
very little was known about the composites of nonverbal
behavior and there is still a great deal of conjecture as
to what should comprise the total body of nonverbal cues
Galloway found that those who judged teachers cate-
gorically proved to be in agreement, among themselves, to
a significant degree. However, the three experts he used
failed to agree among themselves regarding the ranking of
the teachers. Concerning the experts, one was an expert
in curriculum, one an expert in educational leadership,
and the third an expert in communication. The curriculum
expert's assessment of the teachers' nonverbal communica-
tion yielded a coefficient that was significantly related
to tests of pupil rankings of the teachers. However, the
leadership and communication experts' rankings fell short
of any significance.
Some 10 years after Galloway's innovative exploration,
the BYTES project (Beginning Teacher Evaluation Study),
done at the University of California by Sandoval (1973-74),
utilized a more extensive list of categorical behaviors
and interjected into the study the use of video taping.
The categories utilized by Sandoval were much like those
of Flanders. Sandoval did, however, incorporate such
behaviors as "teacher movement" and "teacher gestures"
The movement toward understanding nonverbal behavior
in the classroom owes much of its beginnings to Galloway's
gallant efforts and to those who were motivated to explore
even further. Galloway said, "The nonverbal is indeed the
language of sensitivity" (Galloway, 1970, p. 227). He
emphasized that nonverbal communication "often plays a
more significant role in student learning than the formal
teaching which takes place" (p. 397).
Much of the findings by researchers (Galloway, 1970;
Grant & Hennings, 1974; Koch, 1974) are relative to teacher
behavior in the classroom. They indicate 1. teachers
employ relatively few nonverbal behaviors from the rich
repertoire of responses available to them, 2. most teacher's
nonverbal messages are for the purpose of controlling and
directing rather than for encouraging and supporting, and
3. interaction between teachers and students is usually
formal rather than intimate.
Nonverbal Communication and the Health-Related Disciplines
Health communication systems have become complex
information systems facilitated with computer print-outs
of diagnoses, laboratory tests, and even, in some instances,
suggested treatments (Brenner & Logan, 1980). The health
care disciplines may well be the most exemplary of those
professions who will need high touch to counteract the high
technology that is permeating the field.
According to Shealy (1979),
Before 1900 the extended family supplied the
experience and support needed by the average
person. The radical uprooting of families
and the increasing number of working mothers
and single parents have led to a vacuum and a
craving for something to fill this void
generated by the disappearance of the ex-
tended family . superspecialization--is
symptomatic of the general disease spreading
through the country and also contributed to
that disease. . .The loss of family
physicians has led to the impersonal quality
of medicine today. (p. 1294)
Shealy refers to a time when the health professional,
whether physician, nurse, or dentist, went to the home.
Or, if visited in the office by the patient, the professional
spent time talking to the patient. But time has become money
and those communication skills apparently are on the wane.
Cassata (1978) states,
The state of the art of health communication
is embryonic, to say the least. . .By
applying communication theory and research,
as well as interpersonal and group skills,
communication specialists can enhance inter-
actions in medicine, the health care delivery
system and health care in general. (p. 50)
As is evident, Cassata looks to the communication
specialist to make changes in the health communication
systems. He points to an area of behavioral medicine which
would, in effect incorporate, in an interdisciplinary manner,
psychology, psychiatry, social work, allied health services,
medical sociology, medical anthropology, education, and
However, behavioral science has been making some in-
roads regarding communication in the health-related fields.
Pattishall (1976) has developed a body of knowledge and a
curriculum to aid in teaching medical students the skills
for good communication and good doctor-patient relationships.
Pattishall's objectives are broad, encompassing such areas
as 1. extending medical orientation into the field of human
behavior, 2. teaching physicians to generalize the pattern-
ing of human behavior, 3. identifying psychological, socio-
cultural, and biological factors, 4. developing skills in
identifying behaviors that are disease-specific, 5. making
the physician aware of how his or her own personality or
feelings affect the patient, and 6. recognizing the role
research plays in observing and validating behavior.
Such attention to interpersonal relations and health
communications has been apparent only in recent years.
According to a survey by Kahn et al. (1979), 68 percent of
all medical schools had a specific course to teach inter-
personal skills but at the time of the survey 22 percent of
those programs were one year old or less. Most of the topics
listed as being taught in the programs were information-
giving skills and acquisition of information skills. "The
authors suspect, however, that some of the responses are
inflated. When dealing with a prepared list of options,
a respondent has a natural tendency to be over-inclusive."
From the author's own direct observation, for example, they
suspect that such skills as "'responding' and 'demonstrating
empathy' are taught less frequently than indicated" (p. 34).
In surveying literature of the health professions it
is difficult to find research that specifically involves
nonverbal communication. What is available is directed
toward one patient in an effort to maintain control or
direct the patient, much like the teacher in the classroom.
Seldom if ever does one find nonverbal skills defined or
exemplified as a humanistic type of communication that
reduces stress or status. Nursing seems to be aware of
the nonverbal aspects of the healing process. The book for
nurses Nonverbal Communication With Patients by Blondis
and Jackson (1977) is an effective introduction to the uses
of nonverbal communication in the various aspects of nursing.
Watson (1975) writes about the meanings of touch in geriatric
nusring. It is interesting to note that most people writing
or and doing research on communication in the health profes-
sions are not members of the professions themselves. For
example, Watson is an assistant professor of sociology.
In exploring the human side of information, Dervin,
Harlock, Atwood, and Garzona (1980) emphasized the burden
on the doctor of communicating with the patient. They
describe the doctor as a mass communicator, since he or she
has to talk to so many people in one day and yet deal with
each one uniquely. The physicians' communication burden
is amplified by having to give instructions. According
to Harlock et al., surveys show that compliance with
doctors' orders ranges from 10 to 50 percent which is
also reflected in the malpractice rates.
Two studies that relate to nonverbal communication in
medicine and incorporate the skills of Ph.D.s and a
physician were conducted by Dimatteo and associates. The
studies shared similar designs. The first, by Dimatteo,
Friedman, Taranta, and Prince (1980)(Study I), was general
in nature. The second, by DiMatteo, Friedman, and Taranta
(1980)(Study II), utilized information obtained in the
first one. These studies looked at both the ability of the
physician to read or decode patients' nonverbal communica-
tion and his ability to encode or communicate empathy and
supportiveness to the patients.
In the first, 40 members of a medical housestaff parti-
cipated, 28 males and 12 females. The patient sample
numbered more than 400. The second study was similar to
that of the first, and involved 291 patients and 29
physicians. To test the decoding skill of the medical staff
the PONS test (Profile of Non-Verbal Sensitivity Test,
Rosenthal et al., 1978), was administered in both of the
studies. To test encoding skills, physicians were video
taped along with an experimenter who was simulating a
patient. The physician was given three verbally neutral
sentences to communicate expressing happiness, sadness,
anger, and surprise. This was done in both studies and
trained judges either looked at the video tape or merely
listened to the sound track and determined which emotion the
physician was expressing. Finally, in both studies, patients
were randomly assigned staff people who interacted on a con-
tinuous basis with the same patients. Interviews were then
conducted by trained interviewers who obtained information
relative to patient satisfaction with their physician.
On the PONS test the only nonverbal cues that correlated
significantly were those dealing with the body channel and
those of voice-tone encoding. As to patient satisfaction,
higher ratings were given to physicians who were skilled at
decoding body movements and postures. DiMatteo et al.
stated "the hypothesis that sensitivity to others' emotions
communicated through body movements and postures is a
physician skill that has consequence for patient satis-
faction" (p. 383). Relative to encoding, physicians "who
were better able to communicate emotion nonverbally tended
to be somewhat more successful at satisfying patients'
socioemotional needs than were physicians who lacked
sensitivity and emotional expressiveness" (p. 384).
Study II (DiMatteo, Friedman, & Taranta, 1980) focused
on whether body channel or voice was the predominant pre-
dictor of patient satisfaction. The project was designed
much like that of the first and the results pointed to the
body channel (through the PONS test) as the best predictor
of patient satisfaction.
The researchers concluded:
In addition, these studies of the relationship
between physicians' nonverbal sensitivity and
patient satisfaction may have direct relevance
to other helping professions. .. .For example,
training in decoding nonverbal cues might
eventually be a valuable addition to teaching
physicians about patient care. Furthermore,
it seems possible that sensitivity to non-
verbal communication, especially bodily cues,
will be shown to be important to all helping
professions. (p. 25)
A literature review revealed one article on teaching
of communication skills to medical undergraduates (Knox,
Alexander, Morrison, & Bennett, 1979). This was a survey
at the Department of General Practice, University of Dundee,
and merely dwelled on the methods by which a medical student
should introduce him or herself to a patient, the questions
that should be asked in obtaining a history and the method
to be used to bring an interview to closure.
Dental Literature and Nonverbal Communication
A study accomplished by two members of the dental pro-
fession, Brockhouse and Pinkham (1980) attempted to identify
the differences in ability among dental clinicians to assess
nonverbal communication in children and to investigate whether
dental students and experienced clinicians improve with
experience and formal education in assessing nonverbal
The nonverbal behaviors were not specifically identified.
They were referred to as "appropriate and inappropriate
behaviors" and the behaviors were exhibited by 22 segments
of video tape of children's faces. The age range of the
children was from 23 to 60 months. Brockhouse and Pinkham
tested 11 different categories of practitioners: 1. freshman
dental students, 2. sophomores, 3. preclinical juniors,
4. postclinical juniors, 5. pedodontic dental assistants,
6. general practitioners, 7. first year pedodontic
graduate students, 8. second year pedodontic graduate
students, 9. pedodontists, 10. diplomats, American Board
of Pedodontics, and 11. others.
The findings show that the pedodontists were signifi-
cantly better in assessing nonverbal communication than
those from other experience-levels. The pedodontic dental
assistants were significantly poorer than those from all
other groups. The researchers comment: "it is possible
that the ability to assess nonverbal communication is
related to educational level" (p. 44).
Status and Nonverbal Communication
In a country that pays tribute, at least in words,
to the equality of individuals, there would seem to be
little reason to research areas of status. The paucity
of research literature seems to bear this out. But then
one has to ask the question whether the lack of research
is due to a lack of status or social hierarchy or whether
it is due to avoidance behavior. There is an adage that
denigrates the person who "blows his own horn," thereby
casting aspersions on those who blatantly display status,
whether actual or fantasized. So the display of status
may well then become covert behavior in the form of non-
verbal status displays.
All the nonverbal codes have component behaviors that
denote status (Burgoon & Saine, 1978). Kinesic behaviors
seem to receive most of the attention when it comes to
research. Specific posture and gestural activity influ-
ence status, but the eyes seem to have it when it comes
to any prolific research studies.
Fugita (1974) attempted to extend the research of Efran
and Broughton (1966) which presented evidence that people look
more at others from whom they expect approval and that the
effect is influenced by status differences. Fugita hypo-
thesized that when a low-status person was made to inter-
act with two high-status people, one approving and one
disapproving, the low-status person would engage in more
eye contact with the approving person. In this situation,
a high level of anxiety was expected to be felt by the low-
status person. Fugita further visualized a contradictory
situation wherein one high-status person was to interact
with two low-status persons, one approving the other dis-
approving. He hypothesized that the high-status person
would avoid contact with the approving person and engage
in eye contact with the disapproving person. Confederates
were used with the subjects to carry out the high-status
positions. For example, the subjects who were students were
told to introduce themselves and tell the interviewers
(confederates) about themselves and their major. If the
students were juniors with a history major, the confederates
were told to be graduate students with 3.5 to 4.0 GPAs and
a major in history. After the interaction the student was
given a questionnaire to fill out. The results showed that
subjects tended to have greater respect only for the high-
status as opposed to the low-status confederates. There
was no significant difference between status conditions and
the anxiety of the subjects. Subjects indicated they had
more respect for the approved than the nonapprover. The
subjects' visual behavior was analyzed by examining the
amount of time they spent looking at the approved versus the
nonapprover. However, only in the high-status situation did
the subject look more at the approved than the disapprover.
In other words, they did not look more at the approved in the
low-status situation. Then, the length of time spent in eye
contact was examined. The subjects did not increase the
number of times they made eye contact with the approving
confederates, but over a period of time the glances became
more prolonged. On the other hand, the subjects perceiving
the nonapprover reduced the amount of time they maintained
eye contact and reduced the number of glances they gave him.
Tessler and Sushelsky (1978) did a study on effects of
eye contact and social status on the perception of a job
applicant in an employment interviewing situation. The
design drew upon the talents of some 60 student subjects who
were told they were to be video taped for a seminar and they
were to play the role of an interviewer. They would inter-
view an applicant who really needed a job. The applicant
was a confederate who manipulated body, eye contact, and
social status. Eye contact was either prolonged, moderate,
or absent. The social status was manipulated as to low or
high. Low status was portrayed by the applicant as his
having graduated from high school, been drafted in the army
and now in need of a job. The high status was portrayed by
the applicant as having graduated from the same school,
received an ROTC commission, earned a B.A. at Stanford,
and attended graduate school at Yale. In this study, the
applicant was perceived as having no self-confidence in the
no-eye-contact situation even in the high-status condition.
In general the applicant was perceived as having more self-
confidence when he presented a high-status background than
when he presented a low-status background. Eye contact had
no visible effect on self-confidence rating when the appli-
cant presented himself as low in social status. The subjects
were questioned as to whether the behaviors of the applicant
would affect the type of job and the opportunity to get a job.
The social status manipulation significantly affected three
out of four of the situations and subjects rated the high
social status applicant higher as compared to the low-status
applicant in the white collar category.
The Tessler and Sushelsky study suggests how self-
confidence, and its underlying constructs of self-concept,
might well be affected in status situations. And if people's
attitudes can be changed by using approving behaviors,
behavior that gives status to others who need it, then their
behaviors can be changed and even their self-concept
(Burgoon & Saine, 1978).
Posture can provide insights into status. Part of the
social construct of status emanates from formalism and
exactitude so prevalent in the military where rigidity and
upright posture is indicative of alertness and attention
(Mach, 1972). Companion to rigidity is tension. Tension is
often seen even in high-status situations, but Argyle (1975)
points out that there is the person who is high-status but
uncomfortable with that position, yet struggles to maintain
it, and then there is the person who is quite comfortable
with the high-status position and accepts it as his or her
due. There is the "possibility that the relationship between
relaxation or bodily tension and status is modified, depend-
ing on whether status differentials have been firmly estab-
lished rather than just being maintained" (p. 49). If the
status is well established then greater relaxation is
demonstrated and the nonverbal message is that "I have
nothing to fear" (p. 49).
Status is also portrayed through facial gestures. The
lowering of eyebrows has always been suggestive of a status
display as well as mouth movements (Darwin, 1872/1965).
Keating, Mazur, and Segall (1977) found for each of 12 models
who varied brow positions that the greater proportion of
observers judged the model dominant when the brows were
lowered rather than raised. This makes sense in the light
of ethological studies where the frown or drawn together
brow bespeaks a formidable foe, and the raised brow is indi-
cative of surprise (Lorenz, 1966). But brows were perceived
to be more dominant than unsmiling mouths.
Voices,too, affect impressions of status and power. A
person of status maintains calmness in the voice, slow
speech, low volume without intensity (Burgoon & Saine, 1978).
Proxemics and haptics also communicate status and power.
People of high status are given more space and keep others
at a distance. People with status control the spatiality
of the situation. As to touch, or haptics, the person who
initiates the touch is the person of status and that person
decides who should touch and what forms of touch are accept-
able and where that touch should be. The relationships of
time and spaces in time, like silences, are also status indi-
cators. When a person is made to wait for another, status
is added to the person being awaited. Teachers who call
for silence in the classroom are calling for attention to
their status and dominance (Burgoon & Saine, 1978).
Needless to say, environment can evoke status situa-
tions. For example when a desk is placed between the inter-
viewer and interviewee, there is little doubt as to who holds
the greater status. Artifacts can also be effective indica-
tors of status. The uniform of the health professional
exemplifies artifactual display of status (Burgoon & Saine,
Leadership qualities are reflected by physiognomic cues
that could be termed status displays. In the field of
psychology of leadership there is evidence of relationships
between physical characteristics, temperament, peer status,
and achievement. In one study (Mason, 1957) students were
given head and shoulder pictures of people and also full
length pictures of people and asked to judge the leader-
ship qualities of those people pictured.
The mean rank difference correlation between
the rankings assigned by the students on the
bases of the two different sets of photos was
0.80. The correlation suggests that the same
set of clues were used to judge both sets of
pictures. Furthermore, the mean coefficient
of concordance for the 16 groups of full
figure pictures was 0.30 and 14 of these were
statistically significant at or beyond the
0.05 level. Thus students have a common
conception of what a leader looks like.
Leadership, with a conscious awareness of the status it
encumbers, is a needed commodity in education today. The
implication according to Mason is that leaders may be able
to tap into the nonverbal domain and thereby increase their
flexibility as people-oriented, humanistic teachers, without
sacrificing their success as task-oriented leaders. But the
would-be leaders who rely on nonverbal status displays to
project an image of position and power may be creating only a
superficial image that in truth reflects an ailing self-
Relationship of Preceding Research
to Present Study
Classification of research, its approach and focus, is
particularly important when surveying a field as broad as
nonverbal communication. This overview has attempted to
clarify the major issues of research in nonverbal communi-
cation, elucidate the various disciplinary approaches, and
focus on the types of research being conducted in the area
of education, especially health-related education.
In relating this overview to the present study, it is
necessary to first categorize the study. Concurrent with
Burgoon's classifications (1980), the present study investi-
gates the combined areas of awareness and shared meaning.
Its focus is directed toward nonlinguistic acts and its
efforts are directed toward a functional behavioral approach
with an emphasis on educational practice. This study is
concerned with teacher nonverbal behavior as it relates to
such variables as self-concept and preferred learning style.
New high technology calls for more humanistic communi-
cation to maintain an important balance between interactions
of human beings with machines. Such a challenge requires new
leaders in every discipline, leaders who understand the need
for quality communication that includes emotion and feeling.
It also demands leaders who can demonstrate quality skills in
According to the study by Mason (1957) on leadership
qualities as they are reflected in physiognomic cues, his
students did "have a common conception of what a leader looks
like" (p. 273). He utilized still pictures of the subjects
who were to be ranked by students as to their leadership
It is necessary that leadership in communication be a
moving commentary, a series of behaviors that communicate
the emotion that can and does exist between beings. It is
equally important to recognize that the language that best
communicates human nature and feelings is nonverbal. Further-
more it is essential that barriers which impede or impair
communication be removed, especially in an era where new
information and knowledge are forthcoming more rapidly than
at any other time in the history of mankind. It is out of
consideration for this new electronic era and experimentation
with new interactive media that the need and design for this
study have grown.
This study explored the possibility of associations)
between nonverbal status displays and self-concept and also
between nonverbal displays and preferred learning styles.
The setting was a college of dentistry. The populace
involved dental educators whose nonverbal behaviors were
observed by dental students. A group of expert observers
of nonverbal communication was also included.
The dependent variable in this study is nonverbal status
as displayed by dental educators and as observed by dental
students. The two independent variables are self-concept
and preferred learning style. Comparisons and correlations
were made in an effort to ascertain if there were any
association between variables.
To understand the methods used to obtain the data for
this study it is necessary to comprehend the uniqueness of
the college where the study took place. Furthermore, it
should be understood that this school, although novel among
dental schools today, may exemplify the norm of dental
colleges in the next twenty years. It is also plausible
that the dental college in this study may represent most
educational institutions in the future if the tendency to
mediate education in a more technological vein continues.
The Chairman of Dental Education convenience-selected
12 dental educators, teaching in the summer semester of
1984, as being likely to participate in the study. Three
educators filled each of the four professional ranks of
instructor, assistant professor, associate professor, and
full professor. The researcher contacted and informed each
of the educators about the subject of the study. Each
educator was told that the study concerned teaching methods
and that additional information could not be provided with-
out compromising the investigation. Participant acceptance
was formalized by means of a signed affidavit (Appendix A).
The student sample of 53 dental students was convenience-
selected. Random selection could not be made from the total
dental student populace since first year students had not
been given the cognitive style mapping test which formed a
part of this research design.
As this study evolved, there was concern that a halo
effect might be present in the observations of the dental
students since the educators they were evaluating were known
to all the students in the study. To ascertain if a halo
effect was present, a control group of 27 pharmacy students,
convenience-selected, were given the same orientation and
testing as the dental students with the exception of being
given a cognitive style mapping test.
The sample of experts was derived by means of conveni-
ence selection since the prospect of finding expert observers
in the area of nonverbal communication is limited. Seven
experts comprised this sample, five males and two females.
They represented various disciplines:1. education, professor;
2. pharmacy, assistant dean and professor; 3. communication
sciences, professor; 4. broadcast journalism, professor;
5. psychology, professor; 6. dentistry, professor; and
7. speech pathologist, Ph.D. with a private practice.
A single, JVC KY 2000 color camera was utilized to pro-
duce the video tape which was recorded on a Sony 4800
recorder. A unidirectional Sennheiser microphone was used
to record the conversations. A single camera operator who
had been informed of the interest in recording nonverbal
behavior operated the equipment. Only available lighting
was used in order not to complicate the production or draw
attention to the procedure.
In most instances educators being video taped under
similar circumstances would exhibit nervous behaviors.
However, the educators in this dental school are used to
being video taped both to provide curriculum material and
also as a part of a micro-teaching program developed to
improve teaching techniques.
Each educator was video taped over a period of one hour.
The number of student-teacher interactions varied with each
educator due to such factors as the time of day or the
students' schedules and the nature of the work in the clinic.
Upon completion of video taping, the tapes were
edited to form one composite tape. The 12 original tapes
were edited for one minute of behavior at five minutes into
the tape, at 10 minutes and finally at 15 minutes into the
tape. On the composite tape, the three-minute segments of
educator behavior were consolidated into a random arrange-
ment with 30-second numerical labels separating each three-
minute segment i.e., El, E2, E3, etc.
Since educators were not involved in the testing for
nonverbal status displays,no orientation was given them.
In a separate session, one week removed from the actual
testing session, the dental students were given a half hour
orientation regarding nonverbal status displays as they
might appear within each of the seven nonverbal codes
Figures 1, 2, and 3 (see Appendix B).
Orientation relative to the expert group was accomplished
on an individual basis. It usually involved the verification
of nonverbal terms, degrees of behavior or questions relative
to the enumerating of occurrences of status displays.
NONVERBAL STATUS DISPLAYS
/ Haptics Touch
Figure 1. Environment and Nonverbal Status Displays.
Artifacts Personal Appearance
1 7T Kinesics Body & Eye Movement
Figure 2. Artifacts, Vocalics, and Kinesics as Nonverbal
Proxemlcs Spatial Relations
Chronemlcs Waiting Time
Figure 3. Proxemics and Chronemics as Nonverbal Status Displays.
Educators were given the Tennessee Self-Concept Test and
asked to follow the printed directions. They were to take
the test on their own time, returning it to the researcher
when completed. All of the educators returned the test.
They had previously been given the cognitive style mapping
Students were given an envelope containing the Tennessee
Self-Concept Test and the grid for denoting nonverbal status
displays while they watched the video tape. Meeting at a
designated classroom, the students were first given the
Tennessee Self-Concept Test followed by viewing the video
tape and noting nonverbal status displays (Appendix C).
Experts were tested on an individual basis in order to
accommodate their time schedules. Experts were not given
the Tennessee Self-Concept Test or the cognitive style
Tennessee Self-Concept Test
Developed by William Fitts (1970), the Tennessee Self-
Concept Test consists of 100 questions the answers to which
comprise a self-concept matrix. The matrix is structured with
six columns addressing 1. physical self, 2. moral-ethical
self, 3. personal self, 4. family self, 5. social self,
6. self-criticism. Three rows complete the matrix which