The Effects of Stress and Gender on Nonverbal Decoding Accuracy in Kinesic and Vocalic Channels

Authors

  • MAUREEN KEELEY-DYRESON,

    1. Maureen Keeley-Dyreson is an Instructor at the University of Texas—Pan-American.
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  • WILLIAM BAILEY,

    1. Judee K. Burgoon is Professor and William Bailey is Lecturer of Communication at the University of Arizona. This article was based on Ms. Keeley-Dyreson's master's thesis and was presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, New Orleans, May 1988. Requests for reprints should be sent to Judee K. Burgoon, Communications Department, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721.
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  • JUDEE K. BURGOON

    1. Judee K. Burgoon is Professor and William Bailey is Lecturer of Communication at the University of Arizona. This article was based on Ms. Keeley-Dyreson's master's thesis and was presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, New Orleans, May 1988. Requests for reprints should be sent to Judee K. Burgoon, Communications Department, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721.
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Abstract

Stress has the potential to impair accurate decoding of others’ communication. This experiment tested the effects of stress, induced through the Stroop Color-Word Test, on the accurate decoding of kinesic and vocalic emotional expressions. Respondents (N =372) viewed or heard 30 emotional expressions interspersed with multichannel color stimuli that were redundant with one another (low stress) or conflicted with one another (high stress). Analyses of accuracy scores across three trials supported three of four hypotheses. Stress debilitated accuracy primarily in the vocalic channel and at the onset of stress. The kinesic facial channel also produced consistently higher accuracy than the vocalic channel, and females achieved higher accuracy than males, but this superiority dissipated by the third trial.

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