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date: 05 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Nonverbal cues are read signals from changes in another’s behavior that do not involve speech or verbalization. We evaluate visual nonverbal cues, such as facial, head, hand, or body movements, as well as auditory, tactile, or olfactory cues. Nonverbal cues can be evaluated consciously or unconsciously, with chemosensory signals perhaps playing an important role in this process and not available to conscious awareness. Brain regions selectively responsive to nonverbal cues in others can be activated when we ourselves have similar affective or social experiences—this may include autonomic nervous system responses and electromyographic activity in facial muscles appropriate to the emotion being viewed. Nonverbal cues or signals can be intentional or unintentional on the part of the sender, and an intentional cue can be sent to deceive another. Ambiguities in received input might be caused by conflicting information sent across nonverbal and verbal dimensions. Similarly, anomalous or socially inappropriate cues might be received from individuals who have disorders of social cognition who may themselves be unable to evaluate social cues from others. This chapter discusses these various aspects of nonverbal cue perception and, at the end of the chapter, addresses some of the many unanswered questions in this exciting new area in social neuroscience.

Keywords: nonverbal cues, gaze, facial motion, hand actions, body motion, vocalizations, chemosensory signaling, pupil size, unconscious awareness

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