For effective and meaningful communication about emotions, these three parts of the message need to support each other - they have to be "congruent". In case of any incongruence, the receiver of the message might be irritated by two messages coming from two different channels, giving cues in two different directions. The following example should help illustrate incongruence in verbal and non-verbal communication. Verbal: "I do not have a problem with you! It is important to say that in the respective study, Mehrabian conducted experiments dealing with communications of feelings and attitudes i.
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Your use of this content is subject to the terms and conditions of this portal Image supplied rights-cleared by the Chartered Management Institute, Professor Mehrabian believes that there are three core elements in the effective face-to-face communication of emotions or attitudes: nonverbal behaviour facial expressions, for example , tone of voice, and the literal meaning of the spoken word.
These three essential elements, Mehrabian argues, account for how we convey our liking, or disliking, of another person. Mehrabian developed his early theories on this subject during the s. Biography Building upon his early discoveries, Mehrabian has gone on to develop numerous complex theories, ideas and measures over the course of the last 40 years, making a significant contribution to the discipline of psychology. During this period, he has written and researched extensively, continuing his interest in and commitment to the study of nonverbal communication.
He has expanded his field of interest from nonverbal communication in relation to the expression of emotions and attitudes, to its application in areas such as human response, temperament and traits, and the impact of the emotional workplace environment on performance, to name but a few.
He has applied his findings to fields as diverse as marital relations, drug use, and voter behaviour.
Similarly, his research and theories have been adopted and applied by others in a variety of fields including consumer behaviour and marketing.
Life and career Born in Iran, Mehrabian began his academic studies in the discipline of engineering. Entering the discipline of psychology from an engineering background would prove to stand Mehrabian in good stead. Schooled in a subject grounded in hard evidence and testable theories, Mehrabian understood the importance of substantiating his theories and experiments with trusted formulae and measures. Consequently, he has spent much of his career developing scales to quantify and describe complex psychological data.
This was the culmination of two pioneering studies conducted in The first, in which Mehrabian teamed up with fellow researcher Morton Wiener, was entitled Decoding of inconsistent communications.
The second study, which built upon the conclusions from the first and which he undertook with Susan R. Ferris, was entitled Inference of attitudes to nonverbal communication in two channels. In particular, they were keen to discover the impact of inconsistencies between the meaning conveyed by the spoken word and that expressed by nonverbal means. The study focused solely on the conveying of attitudes and emotions.
At the same time, the subjects were shown three black and white photographs of three female faces each attempting to express one of the three emotional states liking, disliking or neutrality. As a result of this experiment, Mehrabian ascertained that the visual clues facial expressions gave a more accurate result than the audio clues by a ratio of Building on the findings of their first study, Mehrabian and his co-researcher Ferris pursued their interest in the expression of liking and disliking by looking at two different modes of communication — tone of voice and the spoken word.
They attempted to discover which channel best communicated these emotions and what the implications for nonverbal communication might be. To test their hypothesis, they gathered a sample of 30 undergraduate students from UCLA and asked them to listen to an audio recording of nine words. Each word was spoken using a different tone of voice. The sample was divided into three groups. The first were asked to ignore the meaning of the word and focus purely on tone; the second set were asked to ignore the tone and focus solely on the word; and the final group were asked to use both tone and word to discern the emotion the speaker was trying to convey.
From their answers, it was concluded that tone of voice is a stronger indicator of emotion than the actual meaning of the word itself. Criticisms and limitations It is clear that these studies are limited — as far as both the validity of the findings as well as their practical application is concerned.
Indeed, even Mehrabian himself admits that his equation is only applicable in certain contexts, conceding that the findings could only be applied where no additional information was available about the relationship between the communicator and the recipient. Its application is also limited to cases when the communicator is expressing attitudes or emotions, and when body language and tone of voice contradict the meaning of the spoken word. Yet despite his own caveats as to the limitations of his findings, his research has been widely misused and misunderstood.
Additional aspects of the studies are questionable. The fact that his sample consisted solely of female participants begs the question: would an all-male group have responded differently? The subjects were expected to make judgements based upon very little other than an unseen female speaking into a tape recorder.
Furthermore the words spoken were limited to just nine different and unconnected words. The language was also very restricted, weighted heavily to either negative or positive.
Other types of body language such as posture or gesture were not taken into account or measured in these experiments either. However, despite such limitations and the criticisms levelled at Mehrabian, he was instrumental in successfully highlighting the vital role that nonverbal communication plays in the expression of feelings and emotional states. Its purpose was to measure and describe a series of differing emotional conditions. To achieve this, the PAD model consists of three scales: The pleasure-displeasure scale: which measures how pleasant an emotion is.
The arousal-non arousal scale: which measures intensity of emotion. The dominance-submissiveness scale: which measures the dominant nature of an emotion. As well as being applied within the context of body language and communication, the PAD scale is also effective for measuring differences in the temperaments of individuals.
This makes it a useful tool for measuring consumer behaviour and responses to marketing and advertising campaigns, amongst other applications. Yet the implications of his research extend far beyond this rather limited finding. Indeed, his findings have been used to articulate power, influence and social attractiveness, to name but a few applications. Similarly, his emotional scales have a widespread application. His measures have been applied in the field of consumer behaviour to assess consumer reactions to products, services and different shopping environments.
Equally, the scales are used in areas as diverse as assessing the emotional impact of a workplace environment, the effects of an advertisement on its recipients, or a reaction to a drug. Additional applications of his research have led to the realisation that the choice of a name, whether that be for a child, a product or a business, influences how that person, product or organisation is perceived by others and the impression they gain of them.
His research has led to conclusions about the impact of emotional climate on employee morale and productivity. Indeed, his interest in human response and the importance of temperament, personality traits and emotional environments is in evidence throughout his studies with conclusions that can be applied in many different contexts. His work on personal characteristics and traits has covered top performers such as elite athletes, for example. He has developed numerous psychometric scales which have been used both nationally and internationally to help identify individuals with high levels of success, emotional intelligence and good communication and social interaction skills.
Despite facing criticisms along the way, his theories and models continue to be applied to great effect in many different arenas. Future Alongside his ongoing psychology studies, in recent times Mehrabian has developed an interest in alternatives to fossil fuels.
Details of his investigations into this topic area are provided on his website. His interest and passion for research appear to have waned little over the years, with his ideas developing and evolving as time has passed to lend currency and relevance to his work today. Piscataway, NJ, Aldine Transaction, Silent messages: implicit communication of emotions and attitudes. Belmont, Calif. Training Journal, November , p. Current Psychology, 14 4 Winter , pp. How to say no. Training Journal, November , pp.
Mehrabian’s 7-38-55 Communication Model
Summary by The World of Work Project The Communication Model We are often told that tone and body language play a huge role in the our communications. This is part of the reason that emails are less effective that telephone calls, which are less effective than video calls which are in turn less effective than face to face meetings. The clear lessons from this research is that we need face to face communications, at least some of the time, if we are to communicate effectively together. The World of Work Project View We are slightly wary of the numbers within this model from a work context, and even Professor Mehrabian called out words of caution around the absolute accuracy of these percentage in his work. He noted that his research focused on the communication of emotions and feeling, and acknowledged that contributing factors will be quite different when different topics are being discussed. Regardless of the exact accuracy of the model, or the specific topics of conversation that it relates to, we like it. Many individuals and leaders fail to appreciate the importance of other means of communication.
Der Mehrabian-Mythos: Die 7-38-55-Regel
Professor Albert Mehrabian has pioneered the understanding of communications since the s. He received his PhD from Clark University and in l commenced an extended career of teaching and research at the University of California, Los Angeles. As a minimum you must state that the formula applies to communications of feelings and attitudes. Where you see or use it, qualify it, in proper context. Other important contextual and qualifying details are: Mehrabian did not intend the statistic to be used or applied freely to all communications and meaning.