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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Control of expressive movements under conditions of uncertainty and status differences Bryan, John Bernard,


The study of body motion in social settings is a relatively unexplored area of human behaviour. In this study an attempt was made to develop a rational model for information control under conditions of uncertainty which could be applied to gross body movement during interaction. The theory specified that body motion would be a function of the subject's perception of the probability that his behaviour might violate expectations and lead to punishments. It was hypothesized that subjects who experienced uncertainty about expectations of others when in the presence of important others would inhibit body motion. It was further hypothesized that the relative use of different body parts would be a function of the experimental condition. An experiment was designed in which subjects were photographed on motion picture film while being interviewed by a role player who assumed different statuses in different experimental conditions. The amount of uncertainty in a condition was manipulated by the selection of subjects and by the instructions given to them during the experiment. The first hypothesis was supported although the converse of the hypothesized relationship was not and in fact presented an anomalous difference. The second hypothesis was not supported although differences are considerable and. in the expected direction.

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