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date: 20 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The goal of the present chapter is to provide an overview of the existing literature on nonverbal communication in the medical encounter. After introducing the different functions of nonverbal behavior and its importance in the medical context, we present empirical evidence showing how physician nonverbal behavior relates to different patient outcomes such as satisfaction, trust, or adherence. We then present different models and assessment tools with which nonverbal behavior in the medical encounter can be studied. The physician’s ability to pick up and correctly interpret the patient’s nonverbal cues (interpersonal sensitivity) and its impact on patient outcomes will be reviewed. We close the chapter by providing a summary of the main results and an outlook on open questions in the field.

Keywords: nonverbal behavior, nonverbal communication, physician-patient interaction, interpersonal sensitivity

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