Perceived Messages: What do they mean? By Andrea R. Lemen

     ImageMessages are transmitted through non-verbal cues such as leaning, touching, smiling, and eye contact, to name a few.  These non-verbal cues then signal such indicators as intimacy, attraction, trust, and/or dominance as well as many others.  This study delved further to analyze how these indicators were used through behavior, to identify, in this case, the relational message, and how they were perceived by the receiver.  As a result, the study concluded that non-verbal cues are not interpreted individually, but in conjunction with one another and that they can convey both, positive and negative perceptions in an intimate as well as non-intimate relationship.  To go a step further, alongside relational messages, the study analyzed interpersonal communication motives which, basically, identify the need to communicate with one another.  According to Schutz (1996), this is done through control, inclusion, and affection.  We use control when we want to dominate. We use inclusion when we are lonely and want to include ourselves, which conversely takes on a more intimate role.  We also use affection, to show concern but incorporate touch and body position.

     In short, according to the study, we use non-verbal cues with varying communication motives.  The two combined allows the sender to convey messages appropriately to the receiver and in turn allows the receiver to receive the right message.  Concluding that every interaction between intimate and/or non-intimate relationships require to existence of both non-verbal and verbal components to complete a message.  This study was validated by using a focus group to view and analyze scenes from various foreign films which identified the three motives.

     This study is in line with what I read in the textbook in reference to communication (p.13) but more specifically message orientations.  In that, when we interact with another individual or group, we use non verbal behavior or codes such as body movements, olfatics and proxemics to name a few to send routinely recognized messages.  The key being that the message has to be received and intentionally interpreted by the other person otherwise it proves that the shared coding system is flawed and creates confusion.  Looking back on a variety of conversations that I have had with others, the material was sound and true.  I personally can relate and think back to a number of conversations where my behavior didn’t match with my message, creating confusion and embarrassment.  I learned a valuable lesson that the appropriate signals, whether positive or negative, must accompany the verbal message in order to get your message across.


Burgoon, J., Guerrero, L., & Floyd, K. (2010). Nonverbal communication. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc..         343 – 346.

Hullman, G., Goodnight, A. & Mougeotte, J. (2012) An examination of perceived messages that accompany interpersonal communication motivations. Retrieved from

Image Source:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s