Nonverbal Behaviors “Speak” Relational Messages of Dominance, Trust, and Composure

Judee K. Burgoon, Xinran Wang, Xunyu Chen, Steven J. Pentland, Norah E. Dunbar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Nonverbal signals color the meanings of interpersonal relationships. Humans rely on facial, head, postural, and vocal signals to express relational messages along continua. Three of relevance are dominance-submission, composure-nervousness and trust-distrust. Machine learning and new automated analysis tools are making possible a deeper understanding of the dynamics of relational communication. These are explored in the context of group interactions during a game entailing deception. The “messiness” of studying communication under naturalistic conditions creates many measurement and design obstacles that are discussed here. Possibilities for their mitigation are considered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number624177
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
StatePublished - Jan 26 2021


  • deception
  • dominance
  • nervousness
  • nonverbal communication
  • relational messages
  • trust

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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