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Artifacts and Physical Appearance

Artifacts include an individual’s clothing, lipstick, wedding ring, eyeglasses, and personal possessions like an attaché case or an expensive sports car. The clothing that one wears is an important message in a communication situation. For instance, individuals often ask, when invited to a party or some other event, whether they should dress casually or formally. In this instance, people want to know how other guests will be dressed.

Sometimes artifacts are selected for the opposite effect. Younger generations often choose clothing specifically because their parents find it inappropriate. Artifacts make statements. They can communicate belonging or independence. The most uniform dress, conforming precisely with one culture’s norms, might be considered outlandish or inappropriate in another culture. Body ornamentation – including tattoos, piercing, or painting – is culturally or co-culturally based.

Physical appearance is another type of nonverbal communication. Rule-governed cultural preferences dictate the elements of appearance that are considered physically attractive. Physical beauty is more important to U.S. men in dating situations than is male physical attractiveness to women, who prefer intelligence, an outgoing personality, and a man who is considerate. For either gender, however, physical attractiveness is an advantage in interpersonal communication. Physically attractive individuals, particularly women, have higher self-esteem. In the United States, youth is valued over age. Cosmetics can mask the effects of the aging process and have a positive effect on self-image. Physical appearance is especially important during first impressions between strangers.


Date: 2015-01-02; view: 2874

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