We conceptualize nonverbal communication along four dimensions: kinesics, haptics, proxemics, and paralinguistics. This assignment requires that you manipulate norms in at least three of these dimensions. How you manipulate them is up to you.

You must do 3 completely different experiments and you must manipulate your own non-verbal behavior–simply observing somebody else’s nonverbal behavior with no manipulation of your own behavior will not count as an experiment. Use the following guidelines to complete this assignment: (Follow this general pattern for each of the three dimensions chosen) 1. Write an introduction (for the whole assignment) defining nonverbal communication, identifying its components, and explaining its importance to the interpersonal communication process. (3/4 to 1 page in length) 2. (Write a paragraph or two defining/describing the particular nonverbal behavior you are investigating. Thoroughly define and explain the general area (say, proxemics) as well as the particular behavior of interest to you. Do not assume that I, the reader, am knowledgeable about the subject. Explain what would constitute normative behaviors for the situation (person, group) you will be testing. 3. Develop an experiment where you break with normative behavior in the chosen dimension of nonverbal communication. For example, devise a subtle and inventive way of invading someone’s space (proxemics). Explain in detail the intent of your experiment, the expected outcome, and how you will carry it out. 4. Carry out your experiment with an individual or small group of people. These people may not be relatives (i.e., don’t experiment with your family), and at least two of the three experiments may not be with intimate familiars (like roommates). Explain how you carried out your experiment and include contextual variables which had bearing on the situation (such as environmental noise, other people in the environment, other situational norms, etc.). Give the results of the experiment, in some detail, focusing on how the “victim” coped with this “breach” or made an effort to maintain social equilibrium. In your description of the results give a detailed description (be very specific) of your verbal (if there was any) and nonverbal communication as well as your subject’s verbal and nonverbal communications. 5. Provide a summary evaluation of the results of each experiment. Ponder some or all of the following as you write your thoughts: Why does the norm exist? How important is it? How uncomfortable did it make the person feel? What did the person do to address the breach? Is the norm relatively universal or is it situational/specific to the relationship? Did the person use primarily verbal or nonverbal tactics to deal with the situation? What did the person do to save “face?” Etc. 6. Perform these basic steps for all three of your chosen nonverbal breaching experiments. When you are finished write a summary (approximately one page) telling what you learned about nonverbal interpersonal communication through this. You are free to “debrief” the subject after the experiment, or not, as you feel it is appropriate. If you do debrief subjects, explain what you did and how they responded.

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