Do actions really speak louder than words? Exploring Nonverbal Communication at UCLA Through a Lens of Internationality, Identity Formation, and Socialization

Fanny Berger, Alyssa Cole, Helena Hu, Hunter Sarmiento, Makayla Smith

This article focuses on channels of nonverbal communication across different cultures; primarily, the study conducted aims to better understand differences in including, but not limited to, gestures, facial expressions, eye contact, touch, space, and posture across different cultures. A secondary focus was also shifted to understanding how people of different cultures interpret and perceive each other’s body language in a conversational context, and to the extent to which they feel comfortable understanding others’ nonverbal communication styles. The study was conducted in two rounds: preliminary data collection was performed across UCLA students of different cultural backgrounds, with a deeper dive into select respondents from different cultural backgrounds through extensive interviewing. Respondent data reflected that most nonverbal communication is influenced by cultural upbringing and interpreting body language from someone of a different culture proves to be a challenge for most, demonstrating the impact of culture, identity, and community on how one interacts with the world.

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