Nonverbal Messages and Intercultural Communication

Document Type: Research Paper


Alzahra University


Intercultural communication takes place when individuals influenced by different cultural communities negotiate shared meanings in interaction. As every country has its own cultural value system; consequently, nonverbal communication is different from country to country. Therefore, having knowledge about the similarities and differences of nonverbal communication in different cultures increases the possibility of being understood and reduces the risk of being misunderstood and misinterpreted by people from different cultural backgrounds. The current paper aims to investigate and compare the interpretations of nonverbal messages between the findings of Pease and Pease (2004), two prominent figures in the field of nonverbal communication in Western societies and the Iranian students of English and non-English major as an example of an Eastern society. In this study, 32 body gestures were selected from among 170 pictures used by Pease and Pease (2004) and the Iranian students’ interpretations of those body gestures were investigated. The results showed that the interpretations were significantly different across Western and Iranian students; however, there was no significant difference between English and non-English major students’ interpretations.


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