Verbal and Non-verbal communication video

1The video I decided to watch is an old sitcom that I have never come across or even watched before and it is called “Still Standing” I watched Season 1 and the very first episode. Upon watching this episode without sound, I was amazed as to how much one could read about people by looking at their non-verbal communication and this sitcom was about a family that consisted of parents, older son and daughter and younger daughter. The relationships seemed both happy, yet sarcastic, I saw a lot of masking that took place, where it looked like the oldest daughter in the beginning was overly kind to her mother and the mother looked at her with a smile but you could see, she knew her daughter was up to something. The relationship between the parents and the older children, looked like a typical teenage and parent relationship of ups, downs and distance, however the relationship with the younger daughter with her parents, was warm and loving, which the oldest daughter seemed jealous, as at one stage she towered over her little sister and pointed her finger.

When I watched the video with sound I did not assume too many things incorrectly, however I did assume incorrectly a part of the video, when they had visitors over, I thought they were friends, however it was the mothers sister who brought over her new boyfriend. I could see the relationship between the husband and the sister in law was strained and there was a lot of bantering back and forth between them. I did assume correctly that the relationship between the father and older son was strained and that the son was a bit of a ‘nerd’ and the father battled to identify with him, as the father seemed rough around the edges ‘a man’s man’.

To conclude I certainly thought this was an interesting experiment. If it was a sitcom that I watched often, I would obviously know the characters a bit more and assumed a lot more correctly if the sound was off. I was reminded that you can certainly tell a lot by looking at people’s body language and facial expressions, yet I also became empathetic, as I knew I was not assuming everything correctly and wondered how a person who has no hearing must feel. As perhaps they too assume things incorrectly and wondered how they must feel when they realise their assumptions are incorrect and may hurt someone in the process. I would not say I had an ‘aha’ moment as currently living in a country that does not speak English, I believe I have become better at watching non-verbal communication, as many of the children I teach are Chinese and I have had to learn to gauge their interactions relatively well without understanding them verbally.

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4 thoughts on “Verbal and Non-verbal communication video

  1. Justine,
    You mentioned “I was reminded that you can certainly tell a lot by looking at people’s body language and facial expressions.” It is also very easy to assume the worst when the visual is very different. You say that when you thought friends were invited over yet it was a relative. things are not always what they seem.

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  2. This a sitcom I’ve seen a few times back when it used to be on as new episodes. Without even knowing which episode you watched, I knew that your assumptions were going to be pretty correct before I even read your comments on watching it with the sound on. I did not have any “aha” moments when watching the show I picked either. I think observing a real life situation on video (watching with no sound and then sound) would give me more “aha” moments than a tv show. Watching a tv show, a lot of things I feel are given away by the colors that are used, the way the characters are dressed and the settings they are in (in my case, I could tell a lot just from the house the characters lived in).

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  3. I can truly say that this was very interesting assignment, I had never done one like this before. I actually enjoyed trying to figure things out without sound. It had taught me to focus more and pay attention to nonverbal cues more.

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  4. Hello Justine, I believe it would be easier to determine communication without sound in a sit-com. This is because these shows are often very exaggerated. Facial expressions and body movements share a lot about the message attempting to be communicated. I wonder if it is as easy to read people based on non-verbal communication in real life scenarios? Perhaps watching the news or people from a distance (so as not to hear sound) would have helped answer these questions. What are your feelings?

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