A Lens-Mapping Framework for Understanding the Encoding and Decoding of Interpersonal Dispositions in Nonverbal Behavior

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Abstract

Recent reviewers have concluded that dispositions are not very reliably encoded in nonverbal behavior, although observers seem eager to use nonverbal information to decode the dispositions of others. A modified Brunswik lens model (E. Brunswik, 1956) and behavior mapping were used to examine the encoding and decoding of 8 interpersonal dispositions from nonverbal cues. First, 20 triads completed self-assessments and were videotaped during conversation. Next, 38 of their nonverbal behaviors were independently scored. Finally, 21 unacquainted peers rated all 60 conversers on the same dispositions. Across the 8 dispositions, encoding multiple correlations ranged from 0 to .62 and decoding ranged from .74 to .82. Achievement (self–other correlations) ranged from .18 to .45. Some implications of the results for interpersonal conflict and personality assessment are discussed.

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