THE BODILY ACTION RESEARCH OF RAY L. BIRDWHISTELL AND PAUL EKMAN: IMPLICATIONS FOR ORAL INTERPRETATION THEORY.
AuthorWHITE, KATHLEEN GILSON SNOW.
AdvisorWilliams, David A.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe purpose of this study was to compare the philosophical stance, terminology, methodology, and research findings of two representative and influential investigators in the field of nonverbal behavior, Ray L. Birdwhistell and Paul Ekman, drawing theoretical implications and practical applications for oral interpretation. The study found that while Birdwhistell has maintained that all nonverbal behavior is culturally learned and must be examined within the communication gestalt, Ekman has emphasized the innate, universal, and expressive elements of bodily movement, especially that of the face. Ekman has recognized the role of cultural learning, however. It was found that neither Birdwhistell's nor Ekman's research has rendered support for any of the theoretical approaches to nonverbal behavior which oral interpreters have entertained in the past. However, it was found that Birdwhistell's and Ekman's approaches to nonverbal behavior do justify a more deliberate training strategy in oral interpretation. It was found that Ekman's external variable research methodology which encompasses both indicative and communicative methods offers more chance of generating meaningful and useful research in oral interpretation than does Birdwhistell's structural approach. It was also found that Ekman's constructs of emblem, illustrator, regulator, adaptor, and affect display offer the most workable vocabulary with which to discuss and elucidate nonverbal behavior, and that Ekman's research which is continually updating and expanding these categories illuminates concepts with which oral interpretation scholars have been grappling for years.
Degree ProgramSpeech Communication