Interest and Boredom, Our Perceptions


By Rachel Arellano

The purpose of the article was to report on a study done over indicating interest/ noninterest through verbal and nonverbal cues. The article described the methods and participants used for the study. The researchers wanted to study schemata concerning expression of interest and boredom in “everyday interactions”. The study was also interested in comparing self focused and other focused schemata. There were three hypotheses stated in the article. The first was that they “expected subjects to be more likely to report decoding others’ behaviorally specific signals but expressing intangible and vaguely defined communication cues”. Next they expected “expressing relatively more verbal cues and decoding relatively more nonverbal signals.” And finally “richer verbal self-focused schemata and richer nonverbal other-focused schemata”. The researchers determined that while their research was not conclusive, it was a good starting point. Their finding are listed as bullet points

  • Self vs. other focused information processing of verbal and nonverbal cues varied in important ways. (However these ways are not really discussed to my satisfaction.)
  • During phone conversations subjects compensated for nonverbal cues by attending more to the verbal cues.
  • The type of interaction (mundane vs. dating situations) influenced cue usage.
  • Both male and female subjects reported using the same type of cues in the above mentioned context.
  • Subjects reported more lack-of-interest cues from another than from themselves.
  • Participants tended to be vague about their own behavioral cues and more specific about others’ cues.

The article said that we are probably better at remembering others’ actions than our own. We are also better at remembering and attending to our own words and less able to decode and remember others’ words. The researchers thought this was because we have to think about our words in order to say them. Thus we are not thinking about our nonverbal cues as much. In addition we sub-consciously know that because we don’t naturally attend to our own nonverbal cues these types of cues must be more honest and trust worthy.

The article talks about how because sending a message verbal cue requires more attention that our self focused reports tend to revolve around those more than our nonverbal cues. The book goes into more depth about this in chapter 8. Burgoon talks about how there are three parts to message production. The text book talks about message generation, semantic encoding and phonological encoding (Burgoon 216).

Another thing that I thought was interesting from the article as well as the book was that credibility people give nonverbal cues. The article talked about how people tend to pay more attention to others’ nonverbals more than to their verbals. The article seems to hint at the fact that we see nonverbals as more trustworthy. That fact can be explored more in the text book in chapter 9. “Sometimes people have trouble hiding their true emotions from other because they cannot control some of the nonverbal cues, such as giggling of furrowing an eyebrow, that occur automatically in response to an emotion” (Burgoon 294).

Work Cited:

Burgoon J.K., Floyd K., Guerrero L.K., (2010). Nonverbal Communication. Pearson Education, Inc


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