Monday, August 03, 2009

Complete Fiction: 93% of Communication is nonverbal

Hey guys,

Here's a new feature on the blog that will be popping up from time to time.

In it I'm going to attempt to bring a real scientific and field tested perspective to some of the stupider ideas that are taught in the SUISC.

Today we're going to start with the ideal that 93% of communication is nonverbal.

If you've been studying dating for more than a minute, I'm sure you've heard the phrase "it's not what you say, it's how you say it." This is usually followed by a long diatribe about "Super Alpha Body Language", " Sexual State Projection", and ultimately the citing of a study by a man named Albert Mehrabian.

In the experiment, people listened to a couple of different words in a few voice tones and were then shown a few pictures before giving an opinion on liking.

The study concluded that

Total Liking = 7% Verbal Liking + 38% Vocal Liking + 55% Facial Liking

It was then generalized and distilled to the PUAs in the following formula.

  • 7% happens in spoken words.
  • 38% happens through voice tone.
  • 55% happens via general body language
However it's VERY well understood in the academic world that these statistics are not correct.

Check Out this site for more info: http://changingminds.org/explanations/behaviors/body_language/mehrabian.htm

I figured this out for myself by texting girls. I learned that I could meet a girl for 5 minutes in Chicago and through text and phone game convince her to fly herself across the country to spend the weekend in LA with me.

How could that happen if I was missing 55% of the communication? It couldn't.

Be careful of statistics quoted by PUAS and "Gurus" of all natures. With enough distortion, you can use studies to prove almost anything.

S

17 comments:

  1. Anonymous12:27 PM

    Best post ever! I always thought that this was bullshit.

    Sure, bodylanguage is very important. But not THAT important.

    Props!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous12:29 PM

    It's like all RSD retards saying that the verbals are completely irrelevant...RSD is completely full of shit.

    These articles are really helpful because they clean up some of the misconceptions that many guys have.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I once worked with THE most well-known and effective radio advertiser in the U.S. He's the largest single buyer of radio time.

    One of the first things he told me was that this 93% idea was a load of crap.

    There are a LOT of b.s. ideas in the community that need to be debunked.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I once worked with THE most well-known and effective radio advertiser in the U.S. He's the largest single buyer of radio time.

    One of the first things he told me was that this 93% idea was a load of crap.

    There are a LOT of b.s. ideas in the community that need to be debunked.

    ReplyDelete
  5. PUA! at the Disco2:30 PM

    Jon you're the fucking shit!

    If you ever come to my hood, I'll buy you a beer.

    ReplyDelete
  6. really good post.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Anonymous7:43 AM

    The real problem with that study is the instruction, and consequently the inference.

    The instruction to the participants was to determine the emotional content BEHIND the words, i.e. they were led to actively ignore the words. Is it any wonder then that the words had only 7% relevance, when they were asked to ignore them?

    Also the inference from this flawed starting point that it applies to all communication is obviously flawed as this was a very limited slice of communication that they were studying.

    Having said all that, watching a TV program in a foreign language, you can certainly get an idea of what is going on, though not very precise. I would say that non-verbals account for something like a third of all information communicated, certainly an important amount but not 93% like the original inference claimed.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Anonymous12:27 PM

    Go to:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Mehrabian

    ReplyDelete
  9. Anonymous1:27 PM

    Yeah i agree with you about the uncertainty of the statistics.
    But when it comes to "sexual state projection" it operates on whole other level. It uses the mirroring capacity of the brain.
    more information can be found in Daniel Goleman's book: Social intelligence.
    As for body language, there is no "alpha body language".
    Verbals are still important but still, you don't need to say fancy shit.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Here's something found on:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nonverbal_communication

    "Since then, other studies have analysed the relative contribution of verbal and nonverbal signals under more naturalistic situations. Argyle [20] , using video tapes shown to the subjects, analysed the communication of submissive/dominant attitude and found that non-verbal cues had 4.3 times the effect of verbal cues. The most important effect was that body posture communicated superior status in a very efficient way. On the other hand, a study by Hsee et al. [21] had subjects judge a person on the dimension happy/sad and found that words spoken with minimal variation in intonation had an impact about 4 times larger than face expressions seen in a film without sound. Thus, the relative importance of spoken words and facial expressions may be very different in studies using different set-ups."

    ReplyDelete
  11. To conclude the "gurus" talking about the statistic arn't completly wrong. Your situation when you were texting just had a different set-up.

    ReplyDelete
  12. fader4:23 PM

    http://www.amazon.com/How-Lie-Statistics-Darrell-Huff/dp/0393310728

    ReplyDelete
  13. Markus7:46 PM

    and to muddy the waters even more

    "submissive/dominant attitude and found that non-verbal cues had 4.3 times the effect of verbal cues."

    What kind of verbal cues? Was it coming from a strong or weak communicator? And what did the specific person in front of them respond to more. Words or actions?

    Why was it that I had a girl moaning when talking about 'energy' coming off of a stage and another one going "are you high?".

    So, it would be of use to know what kind of person you're dealing with right? Emotional? Physical? A blend leaning more right or left?
    A technique to find out what that girl responds to. "typing" people for example.

    Also,

    1) there can be non-verbal pu. Black guys in clubs...I've seen this. "Cavemanning"

    2) do NOT try the above on an art chick in a hipster cafe. Nope. More verbal.

    Any more examples??

    Personally, I'd just grab a camera and tape myself saying lines. Trust your instincts to guide you to the appropriate gestures for the lines you're saying.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Another cool thing i found:

    "Nonverbal behavior is sometimes used as the sole channel for communication of a message. People learn to identify facial expressions, body movements, and body positioning as corresponding with specific feelings and intentions. Nonverbal signals can be used without verbal communication to convey messages; when nonverbal behavior does not effectively communicate a message, verbal methods are used to enhance understanding.[25]"

    Verbal enhancement can vary and i haven't seen one single "guru" saying that you should be boring during the interaction.
    The 93% statistic is misleading,
    but when "gurus" say that words don't mean shit, what they mean is that the idea that in order to talk to girls in a fucking club, the holy torah must come out of your mouth is misleading too.
    Not being so boring that you send them to lullaby land, but not pumping various voodoo routines in the club either.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Anonymous2:54 PM

    I always knew instinctively that this was garbage - thank you Sinn!

    There is so much garbage out there thrown around by gurus and such. I just need to go with my instincts more.

    Heres another myth that needs to be debunked - Gunwitch made a valid point years ago stating that women do not have that great of an intuition. He sites Jeffrey Dahmer and so many bad choices made by women. Women make bad choices alot and their intuition is not that keen - no "spidey sense" - why? well they are emotion driven. Name me the last great business strategy book written by a woman. I will give you a $100 if you do. There are none. Men are more logic driven. Who is going to make a better decision and not eat the apple? I remember it to be Eve not Adam...decision making and intuition do go hand in hand at times so my point is that this needs to be looked at.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Anonymous6:41 PM

    Before this I've never seen a commercial seduction, self-help, or sales person dispute that fabricated 93% statistic.

    My respect for you just went up a few notches Sinn.

    But that claim of yours that you met a girl for five minutes and then convinced her to fly across the country to meet you.. if you want us to believe that you'll have to provide evidence.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Anonymous6:23 AM

    There's three kinds of lies.
    Lies.
    Damn lies.
    And statistics.

    ReplyDelete