All year we have focused on nonverbal communication and have learned how important it is in many different areas. Two of those areas are punishment and control. I am going to talk about the importance of these across interpersonal, propaganda, and mediated communication.
As I have found there are many forms of punishment that do not involve any form of verbal communication. I can go back to my childhood and remember having all of my toys taken away for a period of time because I did not do all of my work prior to playing with them. I had never even talked to my parents but their message had been clear. I was being punished for not doing my work.
In interpersonal communication I think non-verbal punishment can be displayed in the form of a teacher student relationship. It is a teachers job to maintain order in the classroom and many times that includes having to provide punishment fro students who are misbehaving. Nonverbal cues are important in this process because they save class time and are effective (pbisworld.com). Even things like raising eyebrows or raising a finger can be forms of punishment to younger students that don’t take up time.
Mediated communication also sees its share of non-verbal punishment. The most common and most painful is the silent treatment. In fact, research shows that the silent treatment actually activates the same part of the brain that is activated by physical pain. However, the silent treatment may not always be as effective at finding a solution to the problem as it is at punishing the person. In fact, Kipling Williams, a psychology professor at Purdue University says, “Excluding and ignoring people, such as giving them the cold shoulder or silent treatment, are used to punish or manipulate, and people may not realize the emotional or physical harm that is being done.” (heysigmund.com, 2016)
In propaganda things get a little bit trickier. People do however use propaganda as a form of non-verbal punishment. Just like any other form of punishment this comes most often after someone has done something that the other does not approve of. This was the case when prisonplanet.com released the following propaganda about Homeland Security.
They were attempting to punish the program by hurting their reputation and their name all through propaganda.
In interpersonal communication there are many ways to exhibit control over a situation without using verbals. One of the best ways is to simply get closer to the individual or group that you are trying to show control over. Another example of this is to maintain eye contact. Just getting closer to someone gains his or her attention, as it is a way to control the level of intimacy. Eye contact is a nonverbal that, in interpersonal communication, can make someone increase or decrease his or her trust in you. (Skillsyouneed.com)
When it comes to mediated communication there are other ways to maintain control. Lets use the example of texting in a relationship. According to loveisrespect.org, most of the time when someone is losing control in a relationship it is because they are not giving their significant other enough attention. Of course this sends a message to the other that they do not care enough. Simply by sending the other person timely text messages or pictures on Snapchat, it gives the sort of illusion of control. You send non-verbal cues that you do care about the other person and are thinking about them, that is why you are constantly sending them messages. (loveisrespect.org, 2014)
Another example of non-verbal communication is the way that the government uses propaganda to gain control. According to Lawrence Davidson, a professor of history at West Chester University, simply censoring the material that Americans see is a non-verbal form of propaganda control. The government has the ability to hide things that they don’t want seen and show those that they do to gain control over America with propaganda (Davidson, 2014). One example of one of those pieces that they loved for Americans to see is this poster.
It encourages the American people to save their food for soldiers and even places a bomb explosion on the right side of the poster to add dramatics to it. However, if this would have been piece of propaganda that displayed the dangers of joining the army, the government would not have supported it and tried to keep it from running.
In conclusion, non-verbal communication sends messages in countless ways that are powerful and picked up by many. Being able to hone these skills will increase your ability to show punishment and control over all of the different types of non-verbal communication.
Non-Verbal Cues & Signals. (n.d.). Retrieved December 12, 2016, from http://www.pbisworld.com/tier-2/non-verbal-cues-signals/
Butler, A. (2015, June 30). Effects of Nonverbal Communication. Retrieved December 12, 2016, from http://www.livestrong.com/article/134086-effects-nonverbal-communication/
Young, K. (2015, October 16). The Surprising Truth About The Silent Treatment – Hey Sigmund – Karen Young. Retrieved December 12, 2016, from http://www.heysigmund.com/the-silent-treatment/
Show Your Respect: Texting in a Relationship – http://www.loveisrespect.org. (2015, February 12). Retrieved December 13, 2016, from http://www.loveisrespect.org/content/show-your-respect-texting-relationship/
Hall, J. (n.d.). Political Propaganda Is Cult Brainwashing. Retrieved December 12, 2016, from http://www.prisonplanet.com/analysis_hall_011503_propaganda.html
Davidson, L. (2014, May 9). How the US Propaganda System Works. Retrieved December 12, 2016, from https://consortiumnews.com/2014/05/09/how-the-us-propaganda-system-works/