Social Sciences

Start Free Trial

Discuss the meaning of the following statement. Human beings are always communicating, whether they are conscious of it or not. Do you agree or disagree with this statement.  

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Absolutely. Speech is not the only form of communication. Body language for example, is another form of communication that takes place between individuals, often on a subconscious level. We can infer many ideas about an individual based upon how they act around us and the type of body language they have. Even when we speak, our tone of voice, our assertiveness and our facial expressions can send many messages about our opinions of one another. If you speak to a friend in person, face to face, and then chat with them on the computer, you will notice that sometimes the discussions on the computer are confusing or vague. This is because you are unable to see your friend's facial expression (which emoticons resolve only to a certain degree) and you cannot hear his or her voice. So whether your friend is happy or upset can be confusing at times.

Another interesting notion about communication is the communication that takes place between individuals using what doctors call "pheromones." Although the existence of pheromones are not proven, they are theorized to be chemicals produced by the brain. And some scientists and doctors believe that individuals subconsciously recognize and react to one another's pheromones without even realizing. So we are talking about a communication that literally occurs between two people's DNA and cells. It is theorized that our brain can "read" these pheromones to identify the other person. For example, our brain can recognize a familiar DNA (that is, a family member) with the use of pheromones. Some doctors also explain the concept of "attraction" or "love at first sight" using this theory.

So communication between individuals occurs at many different levels. Some of them we are aware of and in control of. Others occur at a subconscious level and are not controlled.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Agreement with this statement:

Human relationships are based upon many constructs and language is only one of these. First of all, the human baby does not cling to the mother as, for example, the primates do, a relationship that allows the mother to communicate with the social group rather than the baby which becomes, in a sense, just an extension of herself. But, human babies interact with their mothers by voice and by facial expression from birth. 

Perhaps, then, because of this bifurcation of communication from birth, humans watch others in order to perceive their reactions and communications, whether through language or action and inaction. Thus the old adage proves true--"Actions speak louder than words"--in many cases; in other situations, action may not speak louder, but they still communicate. For example, the manner in which someone walks conveys something about the person's self-image. For, a person who slouches his/her shoulders while walking may communicate a lower self-esteem than one who stands erect when walking. A raised eyebrow often suggests disapproval or doubt. The turning of one's back upon someone who is speaking is often perceived as an insult or act of disrespect, and an act of ignoring someone is also felt to be insulting to the person who desires the attention. A look, a touch can often say much more than words even if its perceived meaning is not intended.

Certainly, much is made of body language during the job interview. In fact, according to Career Cast, studies have revealed that a person's body language produces a greater impact on a person's success in the interview than anything else. 

...body language accounts for a full 55% of any response, while what you actually say accounts for just 7%. The remaining 38% is taken up by "paralanguage," or the intonation, pauses and sighs you give off when answering a question.

Sometimes--even inadvertently--non-verbal messages contradict verbal ones. When, for instance, someone in a job interview is nervous or anxious from having been unemployed for a while, he will appear as not being a confident person. Because people do not always tell the truth, interviewers, then, will "read" the body language and assume that the nervous person lacks confidence or has something to hide. So, while the person being interviewed wishes to convey competence, his/her nervousness belies what is being said.

Within marriages, there are many non-verbal communications that hold significance. A common complaint of wives is often "Why does my husband say one thing and act totally different?" Sometimes husbands are stressed at work and do not mean to seem abrupt with their wives, but their actions are misinterpreted. Likewise, when they simply want attention wives' actions may be interpreted in a number of different ways by their husbands, depending upon their personalities.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team