The Role of Nonverbal Decoding Ability and Social Anxiety in Interpersonal Attraction During the Initial Stages of Relationship Formation Open Access

Rothman, Michael Tyler (2008)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/gh93gz729?locale=en
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Abstract

The Role of Nonverbal Decoding Ability and Social Anxiety in Interpersonal Attraction During the Initial Stages of Relationship Formation
By Michael T. Rothman

The present study investigated the role of nonverbal decoding ability and interpersonal attraction in the beginning relationships of undergraduate women and examined whether social anxiety affected the decoding ability-interpersonal attraction association. Women with poor decoding skills were predicted to be less well liked by fellow women. In addition, social anxiety was predicted to strengthen the decoding ability-interpersonal attraction relationship, such that women with poor decoding skills and high social anxiety would be even less well liked than those with poor decoding skills alone. Undergraduate women (n = 62), in small groups ranging in size from 3-5 students, met once per week for three consecutive weeks. Before engaging one another in the three sessions, they completed measures of nonverbal decoding ability and social anxiety. At the conclusion of each session, the women rated the interpersonal attractiveness of their fellow group members. Both nonverbal decoding ability and social anxiety were significantly associated with interpersonal attraction in the initial group session. Women who were less able to read sad and angry facial expressions or who endorsed higher social anxiety were less well liked by fellow group members. However, social anxiety did not moderate the decoding ability-interpersonal attraction association. Identifying emotion in facial expressions but not in paralanguage was important in the initial stages of women's relationships.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Introduction...1

Nonverbal Communication...1
Receptive Nonverbal Skill...3

Receptive Nonverbal Skill in Clinical Populations...4
Receptive Nonverbal Skill and Social Competence in Non-Clinical Populations...8

Receptive Nonverbal Skill and Social Competence in Children...8
Receptive Nonverbal Skill and Social Competence in Married Adults...10
Receptive Nonverbal Skill and Social Competence in College Students...13

Social Anxiety and Social Success...18

Social Anxiety: Definition and Explanation...18
Research Supporting the Social Anxiety-Social Success Association...19
Research Supporting the Nonverbal Decoding Ability-Social Success Association...21

The Present Study...25
Method...25

Participants...25
Measures...26

Nonverbal Communication Skills...26
Social Anxiety...31
Interpersonal Attraction...32

Apparatus...33
Procedure...33

Initial Session...33
Individual Sessions...33
Discussion Topics and Activities...34
Debriefing...35

Results...35

Hypothesis 1: The Association between Decoding Ability and Interpersonal Attraction...35
Hypothesis 2: The Relationship between Social Anxiety and Interpersonal Attraction...37
Hypothesis 3: Social Anxiety's Moderation of the Decoding Ability-Interpersonal Attraction Relationship...38
The Relationship between Nonverbal Decoding Ability and Social Anxiety...39

Discussion...39

Nonverbal Decoding Ability...40

Facial Expressions...40
Paralanguage...43

Social Anxiety...47

Limitations...51
References...59
Tables...68-70
Appendices...71-85

Appendix A: The Relationship between Nonverbal Decoding Ability and Social Anxiety...71
Appendix B: Spearman Correlations between the Diagnostic Analysis of Nonverbal Accuracy - II (DANVA2) Faces Indices and Social Anxiety...73
Appendix C: Spearman Correlations between DANVA2 Voices Indices and Social Anxiety...74
Appendix D: Social Avoidance and Distress Scale...75
Appendix E: Personal Report of Communication Apprehension...77
Appendix F: Fear of Negative Evaluation Scale...79
Appendix G: Interpersonal Judgment Scale...81
Appendix H: Lost at Sea Individual Worksheet...84


List of Tables
Table 1

Spearman Correlations between the Diagnostic Analysis of Nonverbal Accuracy - II (DANVA2) Faces Indices and Interpersonal Attraction at Times 1, 2 and 3 (N = 62)...68

Table 2

Spearman Correlations between the Diagnostic Analysis of Nonverbal Accuracy - II (DANVA2) Voices Indices and Interpersonal Attraction at Times 1, 2, and 3 (N=62)...69

Table 3

Pearson Correlations between Social Anxiety Variables and Interpersonal Attraction at Times 1, 2, 3 (N=62)...70

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