Thesis Ideas on Nonverbal Language

Nonverbal language consists of the unspoken gestures and facial expressions that help convey what a person is feeling.
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So perhaps you're in a meeting and you notice that your client is silently drumming his pen against the table and he is gazing out the window. Would you assume that he is absolutely riveted with your presentation or that he is bored? You can read by his nonverbal language cues: the fiddling with the pen and the fact he is distracted that he is not currently interested in what is going on in the meeting. He did not need to say anything; you can tell just by looking at him that he is bored. Nonverbal language cues are motions, movements, or facial expressions that convey emotion or opinion without the use of spoken language.

1 Writing a Thesis on Nonverbal Communication

If you are a student of psychology, linguistics, sociology or various other fields of study, you may find that you will need to write a research paper on the subject of nonverbal communication. Topics may vary according to your class or the material you are currently studying. For example, if you are in a biology class, your thesis can focus on Charles Darwin's book "The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals" and how his text served as groundbreaking material for the study of nonverbal communication.

2 Thesis Ideas for a Psychology Course

A potential thesis in a psychology course could speak about how nonverbal communication helps discern autistic children from children who are not affected by the condition. The thesis could begin by introducing a study such as the one published in 2006 called "Defining the Social Deficits of Autism: The Contribution of Non-Verbal Communication Measures," and then speaking about how such theories affect therapies offered in the autistic community. Another thesis for a psychology course could be drawn from Julius Fast's book "Body Language," and focus on how certain actions and postures such as arm-crossing have come to be interpreted as defensive postures.

3 Thesis Ideas for a Linguistic Course

Since linguistics covers aspects of verbal and nonverbal communication, an interesting thesis to explore in a linguistics course could be the relationship of verbal to nonverbal communication in formal and informal exchanges. Another thesis could explore nonverbal cues in terms of language development, and how knowledge of nonverbal cues from babies constitutes a child's first attempts at communication. Yet another thesis could explore the role of nonverbal cues in sarcasm, where a funny or humorous statement is juxtaposed with a serious facial expression. The writer could explore how sarcasm is learned and if the components of sarcasm are culturally-specific.

4 Thesis Ideas for a Sociology Course

Sociology is the study of people and their behavior. An interesting thesis could explore the value of nonverbal communication in differing countries. For example, in Italy, nonverbal communication is highly valued and almost comprises an entirely separate language from spoken Italian. Another thesis could explore how a variety of nonverbal cues are interpreted differently in different cultures, such as how a smile is a sign of joy or invitation in America but how in Japan, a smile or a laugh could mean that a person is embarrassed or angry.

Megan Ritchie has been a writer for more than 10 years, and has been published in a number of journals and newspapers, including "The Daily Targum" (Rutgers University's daily newspaper) and "The Philadelphia Inquirer." She has a Master's degree in Education from the University of Pennsylvania.