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Jessica L. Lakin

In: The SAGE Handbook of Nonverbal Communication

Chapter 4: Automatic Cognitive Processes and Nonverbal Communication

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Automatic Cognitive Processes and Nonverbal Communication
Automatic cognitive processes and nonverbal communication

Nonverbal behavior is arguably one of the most powerful methods of communication; it conveys important information about a person's likes and dislikes, emotions, personal characteristics, and relationships (e.g., intimacy, dominance, trust, similarity). Whereas no one would be surprised that verbal communication of this type of information has a cognitive basis, messages conveyed and received nonverbally also have their basis in cognitive processes, although not always in conscious, controlled ones. Thus, understanding nonverbal communication relies, to some extent, on appreciating its cognitive foundation. This cognition refers to the mental activities and processes in which humans (and other animals) engage. Cognitive activities include, but are not limited to, learning, receiving, storing, processing, judging, and using information ...

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