ABSTRACT Defensive individuals have been shown to differ from non-defensive individuals on a number of physiological and behavioral measures. We report two studies on observers' inferences of defensiveness, and the contribution of communication channels in the inference of defensiveness. Observers judged high and low state anxious segments of high and low trait anxious defensive and nondefensive individuals. Accurate assessments were made of (a) defensiveness, (b) state anxiety, and (c) trait anxiety: Individuals with higher levels of each variable were perceived as more anxious compared with the lower level. Effects for defensiveness and state anxiety were greater in audio-only segments, while effects for trait anxiety were greater in video-only segments. Inferences of defensiveness were greater at higher levels of state anxiety and trait anxiety. Low trait anxious defensive individuals were perceived as more anxious than the true low trait anxious. Results for defensiveness and trait anxiety were replicated in Study 2, and observers' perceptions of state anxiety matched individuals' self-reports: Defensive individuals with maximal differences between high and low state anxiety were seen as more anxious in high state anxiety, while defensive individuals with minimal differences between high and low state anxiety were regarded as less anxious in high state anxiety.