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Toward Democratic and Compassionate Conversations


           How we address people, where we sit, what we disclose about ourselves, how we make eye contact, and where and when we touch are signs of attitudes and emotions. Because we may not be conscious of the social or psychological significance of these signs, they are the stealth aspect of conversation. One goal of this book is to demonstrate that address, self-disclosure, seating, eye-contact, and touch are the five vital signs of conversation. Another is to increase the reader's awareness of the fact that whatever the topic of a conversation, interlocutors are also expressing their attitudes and emotions by means of these five vital signs. A final goal is to show the reader that the use of these signs varies with ethnicity, gender, and relationship. To accomplish these goals, this book provides relevant scientific information in a popular style that makes it accessible to a broad spectrum of readers concerned with interpersonal communication.

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           Semiotic Psychology: Speech as an Index of Emotions and Attitudes is a special and selective history that focuses on naturally occurring language and its meanings. A review of classic studies from the 1930s through the 1950s shows how content analysis can examine discourse as diverse as plays and psychiatric interviews. This book provides the foundations of semiotic psychology, including its methodological and theoretical origins in psychology and anthropological linguistics, and illuminates the impact of cultural forces on thinking, emotion, attitude, and communication. It draws together the major threads underlying classic studies in the field, integrating theories that may never have appeared together previously. Semiotic Psychology will be of interest to semioticians, sociologists, social and clinical psychologists, linguistic anthropologists, cognitivists, and social scientists utilizing content analysis.

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An Introduction to the Study of Speech and Personality


           There is at present no single source that provides a comprehensive background for the study of Speech and Personality. This book of readings is intended to fill this need by providing under one cover all the assumptions research techniques and research results which make an “ology” of the study of speech and personality.

           Section I (“Introduction”) provides an overview of the entire book and establishes the study of speech and personality in its historical context in relation to closely related fields of study. Chapter 1 introduces the reader to the terminology and assumptions to follow. Chapter 2 reviews the history of psychology of language research and indicates the major subdivisions within this field of study. Chapter 3 is the Speech and Personality hypothesis.

           Section II (“The Speech Aspect of Speech and Personality”) has 2 parts. The first, “linguistic analysis.” Starts with a general definition of language and moves through various procedures that are used to analyze language and the vocal phenomena that accompany language as it is spoken. There is no mention of Noam Chomsky or the research he has inspired because the transformational level linguistic analysis, which is of great relevance to the study of learning and cognition, is of little relevance to the study of emotional states and personality traits.

           The second part of Section II, “Content Analysis,” contains three chapters dealing with “linguametric” procedures. Each chapter indicates one or more procedures for scoring, counting, or classifying the units arrived at by the procedures described under “linguistic analysis.” Each of the procedures described is either a commonly used procedure in Speech and Personality research (e.g., the semantic differential procedure described in chapter 8); an example of a commonly used procedure (e.g., the scoring of content described in Chapter 9, although developed for specific tests, can be applied to any verbal production is a good example of the various methods used to classify content); or a procedure that has been shown to be of value for analyzing non-speech communication which can be applied to speech (e.g., the measures used to analyze readability in chapter 10).

           Section III ( “The Personality Aspect of Speech and Personality”) is an introduction to the study of personality traits and emotional states. The orientation is “social psychological” because social psychological theories of personality are the background, either implicit or explicit, of research and theory in the study of speech and personality.

           Section IV (“Surveys of Research in Speech and Personality”) is a review of the research literature and provides an extensive list of references for the study of speech and personality. Each of the chapters of Section IV, was originally written with the assumption that the reader would have some background in the study of speech and/or personality. All of the readings in Section IV have been selected to provide this background.

           When I first taught a course called “Psycholinguistics” I had completed two research projects, my dissertation on Aphasia and a study of PhoneticSymbolism. I have continued to teach and do research, and as I look over my course outlines for the years since I first taught this course, I find that what I teach as “Psycholinguistics” is a function of my research interest. My current research is focused primarily on the relationship between voice qualities and personality.

Norman Markel

Gainesville, Florida

July, 1969

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