ERIC Number: ED192385
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980
Reference Count: 0
Brain Specialization Research and the Teaching of Nonverbal Communication.
Jensen, Marvin D.
Iowa Journal of Speech Communication, v12 n2 Fall 1980
The connectionist theory of brain functioning, which holds that specialization exists within the brain, has three implications for teachers of nonverbal communication. One implication involves the relative emphasis to be placed on linguistic/linear versus nonlinguistic/nonlinear mental processing. Teachers can shift emphasis to nonlinguistic processing by using John W. Weilgart's set of visual symbols to create images of abstract concepts instead of describing the concepts in words. Since verbal and nonverbal behaviors tend to be processed in different areas of the brain, another implication of connectionist theory is that nonverbal behaviors are not easily explained in linguistic terms, suggesting the need for less certainty in the interpretation of nonverbal behaviors. Teachers can demonstrate this by showing their classes videotapes of group discussions in which people display various moods through nonverbal characteristics. Students will probably confuse certain characteristics (tiredness-irritation, shyness-arrogance), thereby alerting them to the dangers of giving verbal labels to nonlinguistic behaviors. Finally, the connectionist theory implies a need to widen the definition of literacy. Teachers of nonverbal communication can offer experiences in visual literacy by using films, music, and tactile experiences to increase sensory awareness. These activities introduce students to the range of visual, aural, and sensory patterns that are integral parts of thinking and communicating. (RL)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Journal Articles; Guides - Classroom - Teacher
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A