Sunday, September 30, 2012

Euro vs. Dollar

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November 18, 2000 In afternoon trading, the euro bought $1.155, its highest level ever against the U.S. currency. In early-morning trading, the euro was at $1.174. The dollar was fetching 108.05 yen, nearly a full yen weaker than its early-morning level of 10.08. (CNN/Money) Why did this happen?

At the time of introduction of Euro it was thought that it might not be able to make the desired impact to lessen the importance of US Dollars in the International Trade Market. Whereas the present scenario depicts a different situation in which we find Euro appreciating in value and US Dollar losing its value steadily.


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There are many reasons that can be attributed to the fall of the US dollar:

· The collapse of the dotcom market in March, 2000

· The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001

· A wave of stock market scandals, where senior management falsified financial statements of companies that were performing poorly, while selling off large portions of their stock. When the deception was discovered, the stock price fell, causing huge losses to the average shareholder who wasn’t in on the deception.

· Impact of the war with Iraq on consumer confidence.

These events precipitated an economic downturn for the United States, which had already gone through a mild recession - defined as two quarters of negative growth in a country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in early 2001. Consumer spending, which makes up over two-thirds of the US GDP, slowed during the recession, and then dropped significantly after the terrorist attacks. In 2000, they fell again due to concerns over the impending war with Iraq.

In the current climate of uncertainty, businesses are reluctant to invest in new projects, while consumers - many of whom borrowed heavily to invest in the stock market, only to suffer severe losses - are reluctant to spend. Production levels have fallen, while unemployment figures are rising. In March 2000, the United States had the second largest trade deficit on record. (The value in dollars of the goods and services the United States purchased exceeded the dollar value of the goods and services it sold abroad).

What does a falling dollar mean to you, the average consumer or investor, besides a rate of return on your hard earned, deep discounted bucks? Well, if you're planning to go to Europe, the lop sided exchange rate is going to sting a lot. If you're staying home, prices are relative, so the pain is not apparent. The sharp drop in the dollar, though, is an extremely bad sign for the broad picture and mark of judgment by the Europeans and the world on the current state of the American capitalism about six out of ten, and backtracking. Your mass of dollars in the bank, has lost about 15% of its total net worth over the last three years - on top of the crumby interest rates the bank is dropping on you.

A terribly weak dollar trading at a 0% to 5% discount (CNN/Money) to the other major world currency is a sign of severe economic distress not a prelude to any recovery. One of the few things that will strengthen the dollar is a growth in the economy, and a bump in the stock market.

GDP has risen higher then expected in the end of the third quarter of 2000. The dollar is not getting the lift that would be expected from data showing that the American economy grew very fast in the third quarter and is expected to have a good performance in the last three months of the year. That lift can act as a key stabilizer for the dollar, preventing it from falling too fast and too far.

Another reason to worry that the decline may pick up pace is that some European officials are now saying that a stronger euro is not a problem for them, a switch in recent sentiment. Wim Duisenberg, the outgoing president of the European Central Bank, made such a remark last week, saying he was not worried about the euro's current strength against the dollar, according to Bloomberg News. These kinds of comments are usually taken by foreign-exchange traders as openings to sell dollars.

The weakening currency helps U.S. businesses against foreign competitors by making U.S. goods cheaper in comparison. But it makes imports and foreign travel more expensive for Americans. Fears about the U.S. trade and budget deficits - factors that can undermine a countrys currency - continued to weigh on the dollar as they have for months.

So, will the dollar rise in 2004?

The US dollar has been extremely volatile against the euro over the last few months. After depreciating steadily from April 2000, dragged down by weak growth and a large current-account deficit, the dollar rose against the euro between May and September 2000 as financial market participants hoped for a strong US economic recovery. Then fears over the US current- account deficit took over again and the dollar dropped back, reaching US$1.18 euro1 by mid-October. Although the strong third-quarter GDP data may give the dollar yet another brief respite, I believe that the large current-account deficit, combined with the fact that investment returns in the US (while certainly improving) will remain well below those in the late 10s, will lead to the dollar dropping further, reaching US$1.5 euro1 by the first quarter of 2004. The currency should be able to appreciate gradually from this level from the second half of 2004 as the US economic recovery starts to look better balanced (with private-sector demand taking over from fiscal easing as the main source of growth).

Economists are divided over the effect of the large U.S. deficits. Some say that a fundamentally strong U.S. economy will continue to attract investors from overseas. Those investors have to buy dollars to get into U.S. stocks and bonds - driving up the currency and, in theory, offsetting the effect of the deficits.

They also see the euros rise more as a story of dollar weakness than newfound confidence in the joint currency, since the dollar has fallen recently against the Swiss franc and the pound, which hit a five-year high Friday against the dollar at $1.740. In midday trading in New York, the pound was worth $1.70. (Newsday.com 11/8/0)

What are some of the advantages of US dollar depreciation?

The fall of the dollars had a positive effect on US manufacturers. The goods become cheaper to export and, therefore, easier to export. They are convinced a weaker currency will help them compete overseas and save US jobs. Already, import prices are beginning to rise - making it easier for US producers to compete with foreign goods in the domestic market.
While the manufacturing sector has begun to show signs of life after years of decline, analysts believe the real boost from the dollars decline will come in 2004, once export contracts roll over and new, lower prices are set for US goods overseas. US companies, meanwhile, are benefiting in two ways. First, the weaker dollar is making their products more competitive in foreign markets and boosting sales. And second, since foreign currencies buy more dollars, their revenues rise further when they convert foreign receipts into US cash. Also an advantage, foreign investment and travel become more accessible due to weak US currency.

When the Euro was first introduced in early 2001, investors were doubtful about its viability, forcing it down steadily. Meanwhile, the US dollar’s role as the world’s reserve currency strengthened. Central banks worldwide hold various currencies as reserve assets, but the US dollar climbed from 57% of total reserves in 15 to 68% in 2001.

Will the US continue with the Economic

Leadership ? Will it lose its domination to China? The world is watching.

One way to acheive that, are a drastic reduction in the deficits. Cutting income taxes is a nineteenth century prescription for a faltering economy. It is like a nineteenth century quack prescribing mercury and opium for a host of ailments. The opium killed the pain, and the mercury.

The dollar was remarkably stable against the yen while it was gyrating against the euro, largely because the Japanese authorities were intervening aggressively to hold the value of their currency down. However, after the G7 meeting in late September (after which a statement was issued making a vague call for more flexible exchange rates around the world), the Japanese authorities allowed the yen to surge.


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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Ethics in Accounting

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Many corporations judge the health of their finances based solely on the bottom-line. However, as one article shows, there is more to a company's financial health than the final net profit. According to Joseph T. Wells, in his article control cash-register thievery show your clients the importance of looking above the bottom-line, fraud does not always show up on balance sheets. This article was published in the June, 2000, issue of the Journal of Accountancy.

In this article, Wells discusses the problems a particular client had when it was found that there were suspicious return receipts on certain products. This was definite trouble for the company, which was named Discount Department Stores (most likely and assumed name in order to protect the real company that underwent this problem).

The first tip came when the companys internal auditor spotted sales for funds of exacting amounts -  and are dollars - $400 and so on. Knowing that refunds do not typically come in exact hybrid-dollar increments, the auditor worked with Wells, who headed up a fraud squad at the time. As Wells question the auditor, he learned that Discounts methods of financial accounting involved checking net sales and confirming that amount in the bank, rather than performing a horizontal analysis of income statements to determine if refunds were increasing as compared to sales.

After further analysis, the men were able to trace the potential criminal - a former store manager who had left the company. In trying to prove that the former manager was the culprit however, Wells needed access to his personal financial records. He noted there were three ways to obtain them call lawyer, call the police, or call both. Discounts CEO, wanting to save the legal costs, decided to call the police. Approaching the police department and Wells was able to obtain a subpoena to open the former managers bank account statements. When the statements were obtained, Wells and Discounts auditor were able to match the register receipts of exacting amounts with the sun unexplained cash deposits in the managers checking account. Shockingly, of the $800,000 that had been stolen over a three-year period, more than $600,000 had been deposited in this bank account. Unfortunately, because there was no eyewitness to the theft, and because the prosecutor was not interested in prosecuting a net-worst case, which this was, charges were not raised against the former manager. Although Discounts CEO filed a civil lawsuit against the former manager for fraud and theft and notified the IRS of possible tax fraud, Discount was unable to recover the money from the civil lawsuit and the IRS still has not caught up with the former manager. Although Discounts Fidelity insurer did not cover the company against losses of this type, the policy had a $500,000 deductible, meaning that amount had to be charged to discounts earnings.


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On the surface, it seems as though a loss of $100,000 would raise erect flag for almost any corporate auditor. However, for whatever reasons, and the internal auditor had not designed controls or systems that would detect/deter fraud. Such systems are straightforward - and involve the before-mentioned horizontal analysis of the balance sheet. The auditor however, had focused on the net, rather than the gross sales. There were other red flags as well in this case - such as the trend involving increasing refunds.

The CEO had failed in this case as well. Although the CEO and auditor had been kept in the dark about this issue, most of the stores employees knew was going on. Unfortunately, the company had no confidential hotline or other means for transmission of confidential information that would guarantee safety from reprisal. Furthermore, Discount did not have a specific, written ethics policy, it boarded the Company provide managers and employees anti-fraud training. In addition, although the CEO didn't receive detailed financial statements for each store (which indicated increasing refunds and no one store), he acknowledged that his only concerned had been the bottom-line.

Finally, Wells blamed himself for not providing a more clear-cut case to the District Attorney's office. When he had made the initial presentation, the prosecutor had been bored with the numbers in did not want to deal with the case. Because Wells’ experience had been more with federal prosecutors and defense attorneys who were familiar with net-worst calculations, he had assumed that this prosecutor would also be familiar with this particular form of evidence. Wells notes that he could have made his presentation much simpler and more visually interesting - such as taking pictures of the new car, home and bait, shop in the former store manager had purchased with the money he had stolen. In addition, Wells said he would have been better off preparing visual aids such as charts and graphics that outline the scheme, rather than showing complex spreadsheets and bank statements. Finally, Wells said he should have interviewed the managers former employees before presenting the case. He acknowledged however, that he believed he had enough information to go to a grand jury.

In this article, Joseph Wells outlines what can happen when assumptions are made and when things are not better studied below the surface. If the auditor and CEO had analyzed the gross sales as opposed to the net sales, the store manager likely would not have gotten away with embezzling the funds in the manner in which he did. In addition, if Wells had not made certain assumptions himself, this embezzlement situation could have been brought to trial, and Discount could at least have counted on receiving its lost revenue back again.

Wells J., (2000). Journal of Accountancy. Control Cash- Register.


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Dell Corporation

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Dell Computer is a provider of everything from PCs to high-end enterprise servers and storage, and the Dell brand is familiar around the world. As one of the world’s premier providers of computer products and services, Dell designs and manufactures a comprehensive family of desktop, notebook, workstation, server, and data storage solutions for virtually every computing need. Dell’s competitive advantage is its direct customer focus. Constant interaction with its customers gives Dell the ability to understand unique computing needs that drive individual and enterprise productivity.

However, the company is probably as well known for its innovative business model as it is for its products. Dell sells directly to customers, without intermediaries, offering custom-configured, built-to-order systems at competitive prices. This innovative formula has allowed the company to grow rapidly to become the top server vendor in terms of U.S. market share. And in 2000, customers ranked Dell No. 1 in service and customer satisfaction in nearly every leading industry survey. The company implements JIT system, which allows the company to hold a minimum of inventory and yet responds quickly to customer orders, which are typically filled in just a few days. The company carefully coordinates customer orders and a network of suppliers to ensure that products are produced on time, to customer specifications.

Since 1997, Dell has grown from $7 billion in revenues to more than $100 billion, and the company continues to expand in its current products and regions, and also into new markets. This growth places extensive demands on the information infrastructure needed to support the company’s global operations. Dell must manage millions of Internet exchanges daily, from product orders to e-mail correspondences to information detailing the manufacturing of Dell products and the delivery of complex services. Dell’s distribution facilities demand nonstop availability, instant access to data to ensure on-time customer deliveries and bulletproof disaster recovery capabilities. Add to this the complexities of communicating across corporate, sales and manufacturing sites worldwide, and it is clear that state-of-the-art performance and reliability are crucial to Dell’s IT infrastructure - the lifeline of the company’s business. To handle the increasing demand and operate efficiently, over the last several years, Dell has consolidated a wide range of legacy systems to its own industry standard platforms - allowing the company to realize dramatic financial and operational efficiencies. It has improved the manageability and availability of equipment, saved resources, improved skill utilization and service levels, simplified the computing environment, and increased overall organizational flexibility.

Dell broadened the competitive advantages of its direct model by applying the efficiencies of the Internet to its entire business. It led commercial migration to the Internet, launching Dell.com in 1994 and adding e-Commerce capabilities in 1996. The following year, Dell became the first company to record $1 million in online sales. Today, Dell operates one of the highest volume; most frequently visited e-Commerce Web sites in the world, with approximately half of the company’s $1.6 billion in annual revenue being generated online. The company receives an average of million page views per day at 80 country sites written in 7 languages/dialects. It manages 400,000 customer transactions a month in 40 different currencies. An infinite number of computer systems can be custom-configured on Dell.com, and the site is organized so users are presented choices in a logical way according to their needs, whether consumer, small business or large enterprise, educational or government organization.


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Users can easily take “Virtual tours” to view side-by-side comparisons and suggested configurations that are easily modified. In addition to computer systems, the site offers customers more than 55,000 software and peripheral computer products. Once a purchase is made, customers can access up-to-the minute status of their order - a function that alone generates nearly two million page requests per month.

Online service and support for both consumer and business customers is another major feature of Dell’s Web presence. Through “Support.Dell.com”, customers have access to options like Dell Talk, an online users’ forum; Ask Dudley, a natural language search engine; and Remote Assistant for self-diagnosis and resolution.  

With manufacturing facilities and sales offices throughout North America, Europe, Asia, and South America, Dell keeps its 6,000 employees close to the customer through an efficient manufacturing and supply chain process that allows the company to produce more than 50,000 computers per day. With approximately one-half of its business done over the Internet, an integrated supply chain and manufacturing process is essential to allowing Dell to maintain its competitive edge. Developing a system that delivers these benefits meant that Dell needed a proven enterprise hardware platform that offered the high reliability, serviceability and availability necessary for 7x4 supply chain management. Dell turned to its own industry-standard PowerEdge servers for high performance, maximum uptime, serviceability, and ease of management. By using Dell industry standard enterprise systems to power DSi, Dell’s supply chain has the reliability and performance needed to drive current and future Dell volumes, while supporting the ongoing growth as demand for Dell products continues to increase. By transforming its supply chain process with interoperable, standards-based technology, Dell has the best of both world's massive performance without massive hardware costs, allowing the company to maximize operational efficiency and customer satisfaction while responding immediately to changes in the marketplace.

Through the reliance on industry standard hardware and software, Dell continues to set the benchmark for selling and supporting computers online. This approach has allowed Dell to maintain its lead as the lowest-cost provider of advanced computing systems for large and small enterprises and consumers.



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Saturday, September 8, 2012

Motivation

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· Do not forget to write why you want to take part in exactly this activity and show clearly your interest in the topic. Also, if you already have got some knowledge applicable to this course, let them know;

· Write something about your hobbies, related to your study or not (student union, sports, etc.);

· The course is not about lectures alone. What is in fact much more important, it is the social part. Make some jokes in your letter, but be careful humour is not universal! Do not try to show off in your letter;

· Most important of all is to write an original letter that is even more important than just a good story. Those who are responsible for the selection usually have to read a couple of hundred of letters, and then most of them are going to look the same. Therefore, try to stand out of the crowd and write an alternative letter;


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· Do not be unnecessarily polite - your letter is being read by students;

· If you think the course can contribute very well to your development or to your study, do mention it;

· Make sure your letter is neither too long nor too short. A very long letter will be put aside and will not be read, and a short one (a few lines) will not be taken seriously;

· Perhaps the most important one take your time to write a good letter. It is a good investment!


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Thursday, September 6, 2012

How Useful is Nonverbal Communication?

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How Useful is the study of Nonverbal Communication?

Many people believe that nonverbal behavior represents more true characteristics, attitudes, and feelings about people than does verbal behavior, and that one can determine secret feelings about others from their actions (Patterson). Scholars and researchers, however, disagree exactly how much one can learn from observing kinesic actions.

In his book Silent Messages, Albert Mehrabian suggests that people communicate through media other than our words much more than we do through the words we choose. He concluded, through a series of experiments, that total feeling = 7% verbal feeling + 8% vocal feeling + 55% facial feeling (Mehrabian). While this empirical percentage seems somewhat hard to swallow, it surely points out trends about the meaning we place on nonverbal communication, especially considering that he only focuses on facial cues and movements. Similarly, Ekman and Friesen examined nonverbal cues regarding emotional attitudes towards people. They suggested that stationary facial expressions and postures - tightness of face, general frowns or smiles - are more likely to communicate general emotional attitudes than facial and body movements, which seem more likely to communicate specific emotions.

Patterson, however, disagrees with Mehrabian, suggesting that no one behavior is particularly useful in determining meaning. He maintains that so many factors influence our body movements, we cannot distinguish the meaningful actions with accuracy. He suggests, however, that correlated groups of behaviors - stance, posture, facial patterns, and arm movements, for example - can combine to provide us with a much more accurate hypothesis about a persons meaning. Zunin agrees that kinesic behavior is most useful for supporting other evidence, such as verbal messages, rather than as an indicator of mood or intent all on its own. It seems that inferences made about specific actions are not all that reliable, but that groups of actions, or action/word combinations, are much more so.


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What is nonverbal communication used for?

Patterson reported multiple theories on what we use nonverbal gestures to communicate. According to Harrison, nonverbal behavior defines and constrains communication between people, regulating the flow of interaction and providing feedback to each communicator. Zunin will use this idea in his theories regarding interaction stability in conversations. Harrison also suggests that kinesic gestures communicate the same content as verbal gestures in order to reinforce or flavor them.

On the other hand, Patterson developed his own model of the uses of nonverbal communication. He divides our interpretations about nonverbal communication into two groups, which he labels molecular and molar, in reference to chemical measure. The molecular group is descriptive of isolated patterns of behavior, and is used to provide information or to regulate interaction. When providing information - which Patterson theorizes is the most basic function of kinesic gestures - the face is the primary actor. Using the face, one can infer information about someones current disposition, fleeting reactions, or particular exchanges. When regulating interactions, other standing features, such as distance, orientation and posture, help define the basic course of conversation and remain relatively stable throughout that conversation. More specifically, these standing features are what help define and smooth the distinctions between romantic dates and business lunches.

The molar category of interaction-observation combines observations of extended exchanges. These groups of nonverbal behaviors refer to the specific course an interaction will take throughout the interaction. Molar groups of gestures express intimacy, exercise social control, and facilitate task goals in an interaction. These more complex conclusions must be supported by groups of behaviors instead of single instances.

To illustrate molar groups of interactions more clearly, one might highlight the relationships between a doctor and patient, or barber and customer. In both of these cases, one party touches another in a way normally reserved for intimate interactions. However, due to the more formal behaviors associated with these types of relationships - shaking hands, sitting in waiting rooms, wearing special uniforms - the seemingly unusual behavior is allowed. Patterson notes that these interpretations can exist in tandem; for example, particular gestures could be described as regulatory within the framework of social control.

How do we communicate with those we don't know?

In his book The First Four Minutes, Leonard Zunin suggests that we communicate with those we don't know mostly through our eyes. We pay great attention to eyes in our culture, he says, as evidenced by the great amounts of eye-care products available makeup, contact lenses, eyelashes, glasses, etcetera. He also notes three very common behaviors observed when passing by a stranger. In a narrow path, we often practice the which side of the path look, in which we make eye contact and then look at the path where we intend to walk. The other is supposed to move the other way. Another look associated more with slight acquaintances is the I acknowledge you look, when eye contact is made, but no words are exchanged. It communicates to both parties that each is aware of the other, and choosing not to speak. Finally, Zunin describes the Look-away priority, a norm which guides a stranger who is looking at someone to look away after eye contact is made. Slightly prolonging the look-away, of course, is seen as a sign of attraction or of dominance.

How do we meet each other?

Zunin divides interaction into three phases contact, midterm, and ending. These phases are informally characterized as the hello, continuance, and goodbye phases. These phases apply equally to impersonal and intimate contacts. He suggests that contact is the most important of these three phases, as it defines the boundaries, roles and flavor of an interaction.

When referring to the first phase, Zunin explains that in any given interaction, contact last for about four minutes. Others estimate this interval at between three and six minutes; here, we will use four as a convenient average. It is during this stage that parties in an interaction elect either to continue or terminate conversation.

In essence, getting through the four-minute barrier can be compared to a supersonic aircraft breakingt the sound barrier after the initial turbulence (of the psyche in the human frame of reference), the chance of smoother progress is predictably improved.

Zunin cites many examples of this four-minute barrier, and I have corroborated some of them. When meeting someone in the Merrill quad, acquaintances tend to speak to each other for less than three minutes before moving on, and in fact, often never speak for more than thirty seconds. Even friends rarely speak for the full four minutes before moving on, unless they are clearly together. Perhaps this Hampshire norm helps explain complaints of no community at Hampshire.

Methods of dividing body movements

In Nonverbal Behavior A Functional Perspective, Miles L. Patterson explains the most common division of body movements used in discussions of nonverbal communication. These are corroborated by Morris as well. He divides interactive kinesic behavior into the following categories:

• interpersonal distance gaze

• direction touch

• body lean body orientation

• facial expressions

• pupillary dilation/constriction gestures

• hand movements

• foot or leg movements

• grooming behaviors

• self- and object manipulations

• posture and postural adjustments

The items marked with stars are ones he finds especially important; the items marked in parenthesis, he finds less so.

Zunin, however, divides kinesic movements into different types of groups, using larger areas of the body. Though this approach makes more difficult the combining of seemingly unrelated cues, it also allows us to recognize some types of cues much more easily. Based on the premise that large areas of the body tend to work together in order to send a coordinated message, Zunin created groups such as head and included they eyes, eyebrows, mouth, nose, and head position into one category. His categories also include shouders/trunk and extremities, though the previous example is given the most attention.

Specific Areas and Rules

The head provides a great deal of communicative data. In one study reporteed on by Kleinke, K. A. Nichols and B. G. Champness found acorrelation between receiving gaze and galvanic skin response, a common index of emotional arousal. Morris places so much importance on the eyes that he suggests that the whites of our eyes (which chimpanzees and other primates do not have) developed specifically to make our eyes gaze more noticeable. He theorizes that this is due to the relatively high amounts of verbal, face-to-face encounters humans have. Below are just a few of the most common and most useful rules regarding parts of the head.

When engaged in conversation, it is most common for the listening party to gaze at the speaker in order to show attention and interest. The speaker, on the other hand, avoids a staring contest by looking elsewhere, with occasional glances, until ready to finish. Doing otherwise changes the rules a listener may look away to indicate confusion or disbelief, or a speaker may prolong mutual gaze in order to emphasize a point (Zunin). It is possible that they eyebrows help flavor and accentuate the messages created by this gaze-priority in conversation.

In less comfortable situations, however, gaze plays a different role. One study performed by R. V. Exline, D. Gray and D. Schuette mentioned by Kleinke found that students gazed at interviewer much more when asked nonembarrassing questions, and much less when answering questions on more personal topics. Similarly, a study by A. Modigliani found that praise by an experiments interviewer increases eye contact and vice versa.

Nods can have a variety of different meanings as well, and like the eyes, are subject to drastic changes in meaning with only the most minute alteration. For example, the speed at which one nods yes could indicate I understand, move on (fast shake); I understand and agree with you (moderate nod); or I think I understand, but I am a little confused or even I understand, but disagree (slow bob). Similarly, head tilts show interest of some sort, depending on the angle and direction of tilt a tilt to the front and side could mean I'm listening to you (by putting my ear closer), and a tilt to the side and back could mean I am thinking about your question, while a straight tilt to the side might mean I am interested and possibly attracted.

The case of the mouth highlights a strong distinction that of inborn actions. Humans all over the world smile when they are happy and frown when they are sad. Other actions seem learned, such as pursed lips. This phenomenon is partial only to a few cultures. Compared to the eyes, ones shoulders and trunk communicate much less about momentary emotions and much more about control and self-esteem (Zunin). This idea is corroborated by both Patterson and Davis. Shrunken chests are equated with fear and self-conciousness in both men and women (though possibly for different reasons). Conversely, expanded chests can communicate high self-worth in the case of men, and attraction or openness in the case of women. Men in our culture, Zunin notes, show signs of personality or disposition primarily through orientation and display of the trunk. For women, this message can be doubly communicated when other surface features are added, such as clothing types. Touch is widely agreed to be a powerful, but often confusing tool. According to Zunin, the message sent is most often one of good feeling I like you, you're ok, I agree. The message received is often different and can provoke surprising reactions. Zunin reports on a book by Desmond Morris, Intimate Behavior, that touch is avoided in impersonal relationships in order to avoid sexual implications. The frequency of touch seems clearly culturally mandated, as well Zunin also mentions a study performed by Jourard in which the number of touches performed by parties of two at a cafe differed greatly from city to city around the globe. In Paris, partners touched 110 times per hour, while in London, they touched no times at all.

Personal Airspace, or proxemics, can provide information regarding the nature of relationships. Anthropologist E. T. Hall defined four zones which persons keep around themselves. The first and closest of these is the intimate zone, defined as our bodies plus a few inches. This is the zone only invaded by close partners or ourselves. Next is the personal zone, ranging from about four to eighteen inches, which implies a conversation between confidantes or close friends. The social zone extends to about four feet, and is used for most interactions, followed by the public zone, in which one is aware of, but not necessarily overtly interacting with, people. Zunin suggests another type of zone, called the ambivalent zone, which is characterized by disputed areas of personal airspace. This includes choice spots like movie armrests. To help learn this theory, I created and manipulated a few ambivalent zones between myself and other people and watched the effects. In one case at a meal, I slowly moved my plate, my glass and my body across the table toward my comrade. She became visibly uncomfortable, though when I questioned her, she could not say why.

Theories of Meeting-Interaction

Argyle and Dean presented a theoretical approach to nonverbal behavior Equilibrium theory. In any given interaction, they hypothesized, a level of intimacy is decided on between individuals. This is manifested in terms of distance, eye contact, smiling, and other verbal and nonverbal gestures. Once this level is set, a force to keep it at that same level is generated, e.g. if I move closer to you (increase involvement), you will make less eye-contact, thus restoring determined equilibrium. This force is only counteracted, they wrote, by a strong desire on the part of both participants.

Since later research found that the equilibrium model was not entirely accurate (although certainly better than before), Patterson created better approach a better approach (M.L. Patterson) an Arousal model. It is best explained using a flowchart, but operates something like this (it is still in some use today) If A changes involvement, monitor Bs arousal. If Bs arousal change is positive, then As change is reciprocated; if negative, As change is compensated for. If Bs shows no arousal change, then As change was not great enough to produce change.

In a slightly different pattern, Mehrabian divided nonverbal actions into three dimensions immediacy, power, and responsiveness. Each dimension is represented by several types of gesture that correlate with one of these three general messages. The first metaphor, immediacy, relates to proxemics. It is based on the principle that people are attracted to things they like and repulsed by things they don't. Thus, Mehrabian theorizes, we make gestures intended to symbolically or literally bring the things we like closer to us. This includes grasping gestures, body lean, open posture and other similar movements. The power metaphor is characterized by sweeping, expansive movements of greater size, such as a proud-chested, strong walk. These types of gestures establish dominance over others. The last dimension - the responsiveness dimension - establishes the severity of the feelings associated with the immediacy and power dimensions clearly, whether we react a little or a lot correlates closely with the strength of our feelings on a subject.

Conclusion

Clearly, nonverbal behavior provides much of the information which we process and utilize in our interactions. Much of this processing seems unconscious and can be unlearned only with serious effort. The same is true with our own patterns of behavior. How, then, can we sum up the theories and facts regarding nonverbal communication into a neat, useful package for impersonal contact? Patterson does so by providing a simple rule for first-impression management. He suggests that providing a fairly high, but not overwhelming, amount of interest toward a person will garner the best results most of the time. This safe 75% involvement will bother very few people and flatter most - which, as noted, people crave more than anything else in the world.



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