Nonverbal Behavior Norms

Publication: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticles for encyclopediaResearch


The term ‘nonverbal behavior’ encompasses a vast variety of human behavior that signals information to observers beyond verbal communication. The most important categories of nonverbal behavior include facial actions, vocalizations, eye contact, body movement, and the occupation and perception of interpersonal space. On a colloquial level, nonverbal behavior 195Neuropsychology Nonverbal Behavior Norms is often referred to as body language. However, this term can be considered misleading as body language misses defining features of a language (e.g., grammar). The field of nonverbal behavior research has emerged from the influential research on facial expressions pioneered by Sylvain Tomkins (1962) and Paul Ekman and their collaborators (e.g., Ekman & Friesen, 1975). These researchers provided evidence that some forms of nonverbal behavior—facial expressions of basic emotions—can be considered innate and are shown and understood universally regardless of a person’s learning experience and cultural background.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDictionary of Sport Psychology : Sport, Exercise, and Performing Arts
EditorsDieter Hackfort, Robert J. Schinke, Bernd Strauss
Number of pages2
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherAcademic press
Publication date2019
ISBN (Print)978-0-12-813150-3
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-12-813151-0
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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