• Luca Brambilla

The three functions of the Non-Verbal Communication

Aggiornato il: 20 nov 2018

Reading time: 2 minutes

The NVC essentially has three functions that could be described as follow:

1. Strengthen: in this case our gestures will be necessary to clarify better the message we want to send. For example, think about a guy in love, that while saying to her girlfriend “I love you”, he mimes a kiss; or otherwise think about an angry man that while yelling “I’ll break your face” he puts his fist up threateningly. Obviously it should be done an infinite number of examples, but what has to be gathered (understood) in this first point is the complete assonance and harmony between what is been said and what the person “stages” with gestures or facial miming (or gesturing).

2. Contradict: in this case the body, in particular the part of the brain called amygdala, notices a contradiction between what is expressed verbally and the real sentiment experienced. A simple example is the one of the baby who cries and answers to the question “What is going on?” telling “Nothing!”. The same dynamic expressed in the example can be shown again with a different grade of internal contradiction, and the more it will be soft, or voluntary hidden, the more the eye of the one who sees has to be trained to understand (gather) it. Recall that, as long as a person is capable to tell lies, there will always be an outburst (drip) point on which the body will let off the steam created by the fact of telling a lie. A simple example of it is the one of a man that at an interview, even telling himself quiet, let off the steam tapping his foot on the floor, letting off from there the steam for the interview taken.

3. Substitute: in many cases non-verbal and para-verbal gestures are needed to substitute words. Here, again, there are a lot of example that can be done, like the one of a person that put a finger on his mouth to order unequivocally the silence, or someone who mime shooting on his head to declare (tell) that he’s bored to death.

Keeping in mind this simple subdivision of the non-verbal functions can be helpful to study it better and to understand by which nature the message communicated is made of.

Milan, 21st June 2017



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