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The concurrence of so many related constructs suggests the importance of change in the relational context and provides epistemological backing for further investigation.
Researchers who study turning points in relationships have been concerned primarily with identifying the types of events (e.g., an argument, a change in marital status) that create marked changes within particular relationship types, such as romantic (Dailey, Rossetto, Mc Cracken, Jin, & Green, 2012), family (Poulos, 2012), friendships (Becker et al., 2009), and teacher-student relationships (Docan-Morgan, 2011; Docan-Morgan & Manusov, 2009).
Our analyses revealed that judgments of the behavior/event’s valence correlated positively with judgments of their relationship, the other person, and themselves, suggesting that the affective judgment of a nonverbal turning point event may have strong implications for other important judgments.
Vocal cues seemed to be involved in events that were labeled more negatively, and touch was a cue in events labeled more positively.
Using the constant comparative approach, we found four large categories of changes the participants reported as resulting from these nonverbal cues and provide examples of these change types from our data corpus.
We labeled these “relational,” “perceptual,” “affective,” and “behavior”.
Nonverbal communication is also a potent means for showing affection, expressing positive emotions, and otherwise maintaining satisfying relationships (pp. Perhaps most notably, however, nonverbal cues are a primary mode through which people reflect the current nature of a relationship to one another and to others around them.
In support of this, Chartrand and Bargh (1999), for example, found that synchrony of two people’s nonverbal cues can create more liking for one another.
Likewise, brief and appropriate touches tend to increase positive affect between interactants (Hornik, 1992).
Previous research (e.g., Manusov, 1990, 2002) has found that negative and/or unusual behaviors tend to instigate more conscious attributions, for instance.
Of particular interest to the current study are those nonverbal cues that may work as recognizable triggers for change within relationships.