Nonverbal Communication

Annu Rev Psychol. 2019 Jan 4;70:271-294. doi: 10.1146/annurev-psych-010418-103145. Epub 2018 Sep 26.


The field of nonverbal communication (NVC) has a long history involving many cue modalities, including face, voice, body, touch, and interpersonal space; different levels of analysis, including normative, group, and individual differences; and many substantive themes that cross from psychology into other disciplines. In this review, we focus on NVC as it pertains to individuals and social interaction. We concentrate specifically on ( a) the meanings and correlates of cues that are enacted (sent) by encoders and ( b) the perception of nonverbal cues and the accuracy of such perception. Frameworks are presented for conceptualizing and understanding the process of sending and receiving nonverbal cues. Measurement issues are discussed, and theoretical issues and new developments are covered briefly. Although our review is primarily oriented within social and personality psychology, the interdisciplinary nature of NVC is evident in the growing body of research on NVC across many areas of scientific inquiry.

Keywords: decoding; encoding; interpersonal accuracy; nonverbal behavior; nonverbal communication.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Nonverbal Communication* / psychology
  • Social Perception*