Heart and soul: Thinking modes and nonverbal sending and receiving ability

Date of Completion

January 2001


Psychology, Cognitive|Mass Communications




This research examined the relationship between thinking styles and nonverbal sending and receiving ability. An experimental design using the slide viewing technique developed by Buck, Savin, Miller, and Caul (1972) was utilized to test participants' nonverbal communication accuracy. Sixty-eight participants (senders) viewed a series of ten slides from five different categories and rated their emotional reactions to each image. While participants were viewing the slides their spontaneous facial displays were secretly videotaped. The videotapes of the senders were then edited and shown to other participants, receivers (N = 167) who each rated six senders on several dimensions. The receivers rated the senders' expressiveness, tried to determine what type of slide the sender viewed, and rated their perceptions of each person's emotional reaction to each of the slides on the dimensions of happy, sad, afraid, angry, surprise, disgust, and pleasant. Participants' rational and experiential thinking styles were measured using Pacini & Epstein's (1999) Rational Experiential Inventory. Participants' extraversion was also measured. The experiential thinking measure did not relate to the encoding and decoding of spontaneous communication displays, however, it was positively correlated with expressiveness and extraversion. Communication accuracy was high overall and women were more proficient than men at encoding and decoding. This research found a similar pattern of communication accuracy to those reported by Buck et al. (1972). The limitations of using a written measure of syncretic (experiential) cognition are discussed. ^