Moulton Lava

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Location: New England, United States

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Four-Channel Communication

Here is an essay I wrote back in 1986 ...

On Four-Channel Communication

In spoken communication, it is well-known that there are two channels operating simultaneously — the semantic content of speech (the ordinary meaning of the words) and the emotional tone of voice which conveys such feelings as sincerity, sarcasm, anger, fear, humor, etc. Additional nonverbal channels are mediated through body language (facial expression, body position and motion, hand movements). Internal body language (pulsing of the heart, skin temperature and moisture, muscle tightness or trembling, knotting of the stomach, teeth clenching, migraine headaches) also convey emotional messages.

In four-channel communication, all four channels are employed to provide complete and instantaneous feedback. By looking directly at the other person's face, by holding their hand or arm, or by putting your arm around their shoulders, the visual and tactile channels are added to the two audio channels.

In particular, the tactile channel is most important, for it enables the speaker to tell if he or she is making the other person uncomfortable during a discussion. If the goal is to reach an agreement, the tactile feedback channel can sometimes be used to obtain instantaneous and continuous feedback on a word by word basis. A very sensitive person can easily tell if his or her words are upsetting to the other party by tying into the visual and tactile feedback channels.

(Incidentally, by holding hands, the fight/flight behaviors are also arrested.)
Hold hands when fighting with your lover.



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