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Miles L. Patterson

In: The SAGE Handbook of Nonverbal Communication

Chapter 2: The Evolution of Theories of Interactive Behavior

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The Evolution of Theories of Interactive Behavior
The evolution of theories of interactive behavior

Speculation about the role and impact of nonverbal behavior in the human condition has been present for centuries in philosophy, science, and literature (see Knapp, this volume). Nevertheless, the development of systematic and focused empirical research on nonverbal behavior is a relatively recent phenomenon, growing rapidly from the late 1950s through the present day. Although the vast majority of this work consists of empirical research, theoretical scholarship has also been important, not only in developing a broader understanding of nonverbal communication but also in shaping subsequent empirical work. This chapter focuses on some of this theoretical development. In particular, I discuss theories of interactional nonverbal behavior (i.e., patterned cues in face-to-face contexts).

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