Verbal Communications as Indicators of Sociological Variables
It is probably not an exaggeration when we say that in social investigations the most important source of information about the facts and processes we are interested in are the verbal communications we ‘receive’ from other human beings, either directly or through the various ‘media of communication’: survey questionnaires, autobiographies, books, the press, radio and TV. This is certainly obvious to any specialist in public opinion polls and attitude’ studies for whom the questionnaire and interview have become standard tools of investigation of ‘verbal behaviors’ and who sometimes might even be inclined to identify the field of his study as the study of ‘verbal behavior’. The same is true for those sociologists for whom the personal document is the basic source of sociological data. It may be less obvious to a researcher for whom the observational technique applied to artificial (experimental) and natural social situations is a basic tool of investigation, and for whom ‘non-verbal behavior’ seems to be the basic object of scientific interest. But even in this kind of studies a great number of our inferences are based upon verbal comments people affix to their ‘non-verbal’ behaviors, i.e., on verbal communications from which we often infer the ‘meanings’ of their non-verbal behaviors.
KeywordsVerbal Behavior Expressive Function Verbal Communication Communicative Relation Descriptive Function
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