Nonverbal communication is the nonlinguistic transmission of information through visual, auditory and kinesthetic channels. It includes the use of visual cues such as body language and physical environments/appearance, of voice and of touch, it can include the use of time and eye contact and the actions of looking while talking and listening, frequency of glances, patterns of fixation, pupil dilation, blink rate. Just as speech contains nonverbal elements known as paralanguage, including voice quality, pitch and speaking style, as well as prosodic features such as rhythm and stress, so written texts have nonverbal elements such as handwriting style, spatial arrangement of words, or the physical layout of a page. However, much of the study of nonverbal communication has focused on interaction between individuals, where it can be classified into three principal areas: environmental conditions where communication takes place, physical characteristics of the communicators, behaviors of communicators during interaction.
Nonverbal communication involves the unconscious processes of encoding and decoding. Encoding is the act of generating information such as facial expressions and postures. Encoding information utilizes signals. Decoding is the interpretation of information from received sensations given by the encoder. Decoding information utilizes knowledge one may have of certain received sensations. For example, refer to the picture provided above; the encode holds up two fingers and the decoder may know from previous experience that this means two. The Nonverbal encoding sequence includes facial expressions, posture, tone of voice, tactile stimulation such as touch, body movements, like when someone moves closer to communicate or steps away due to spacial boundaries; the Decoding processes involves the use of received sensations combined with previous experience with understanding the meaning of communications with others. Culture plays an important role in nonverbal communication, it is one aspect that helps to influence how learning activities are organized.
In many Indigenous American Communities, for example, there is an emphasis on nonverbal communication, which acts as a valued means by which children learn. In this sense, learning is not dependent on verbal communication. Nonverbal communication represents two-thirds of all communications. Nonverbal communication can portray a message both vocally and with the correct body signals or gestures. Body signals comprise physical features and unconscious gestures and signals, the mediation of personal space; the wrong message can be established if the body language conveyed does not match a verbal message. Nonverbal communication strengthens a first impression in common situations like attracting a partner or in a business interview: impressions are on average formed within the first four seconds of contact. First encounters or interactions with another person affect a person's perception; when the other person or group is absorbing the message, they are focused on the entire environment around them, meaning the other person uses all five senses in the interaction: 83% sight, 11% hearing, 3% smell, 2% touch and 1% taste.
Many indigenous cultures use nonverbal communication in the integration of children at a young age into their cultural practices. Children in these communities learn through observing and pitching in through which nonverbal communication is a key aspect of observation. Scientific research on nonverbal communication and behavior was started in 1872 with the publication of Charles Darwin's book The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. In the book, Darwin argued that all mammals, both humans and animals, showed emotion through facial expressions, he posed questions such as: "Why do our facial expressions of emotions take the particular forms they do?" and "Why do we wrinkle our nose when we are disgusted and bare our teeth when we are enraged?" Darwin attributed these facial expressions to serviceable associated habits, which are behaviors that earlier in our evolutionary history had specific and direct functions. For example, a species that attacked by biting, baring the teeth was a necessary act before an assault and wrinkling the nose reduced the inhalation of foul odors.
In response to the question asking why facial expressions persist when they no longer serve their original purposes, Darwin's predecessors have developed a valued explanation. According to Darwin, humans continue to make facial expressions because they have acquired communicative value throughout evolutionary history. In other words, humans utilize facial expressions as external evidence of their internal state. Although The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals was not one of Darwin's most successful books in terms of its quality and overall impact in the field, his initial ideas started the abundance of research on the types and expressions of nonverbal communication and behavior. Despite the introduction of nonverbal communication in the 1800s, the emergence of behaviorism in the 1920s paused further research on nonverbal communication. Behaviorism is defined as the theory of learning that describes people's behavior as acquired through conditioning. Behaviorists such as B. F. Skinner trained pigeons to engage in various behaviors to demonstrate how animals engage in behaviors with rewards.
While most psychology researchers were ex