Key findings

Mehrabian & Williams, 1969



Participants were addressed by a speaker displaying a variety of verbal and non-verbal behaviour variations.

Participants perceived the speaker as more persuasive if more speech intonation, volume, rate, greater facial activity, greater rate of gesticulation and more eye contact.

La Crosse, 1975



Participants were shown 2 speakers using different affiliative mannerisms, and then rated their persuasiveness and attractiveness.

Participants had greater perceived attractiveness and persuasion of affiliative speakers using smiles, positive head nods, gesticulations, eye contact, direct shoulder orientation and a forward body lean.

Ridgeway, 1987



A female speaker displayed dominant or submissive non-verbal behaviour, and high-task or low-task cues to a group of three female judges, who rated the speakers influence.

Speakers were rated more influential when displaying non-verbal high-task cues. Dominant non-verbal behaviour did not affect ratings of influence.

Burgoon, Birk, & Pfau, 1990



Videotapes of speakers displaying different vocal, kinesic and proxemic behaviours were displayed to the participants. Participants rated speakers with measures of credibility and persuasiveness.

Participants perceived greater competence and composure in speakers with greater vocal and facial pleasantness and expressiveness, and greater sociability ratings for greater kinesic/proxemics immediacy, dominance, and relaxation with vocal pleasantness. Greater perceived persuasiveness was found in speakers with greater vocal pleasantness (esp. fluency and pitch), kinesic/proxemics immediacy, facial expressiveness, and kinesic relaxation (esp. random movement, little tension).

Colleau et al., 1990



Participants presented with fictitious political candidates differing by race (skin colour), and then rated the candidates.

Black candidates were consistently evaluated more highly than either Caucasian or control candidates.

Cox & Nkomo, 1992



Meta-analysis of age upon perceived performance ratings.

For the effect of age upon supervisory ratings of performance, r = −0.14. For the effect of age upon objective measures of performance, r = 0.27.

Patterson et al., 1992



Participants were presented with videotape clips of Ronald Reagan and Walter Mondale from the 1984 Presidential debate, displayed in a format that was audiovisual or visual. Participants rated the candidates expressiveness and physical attractiveness. Non-verbal behaviour of the candidates in the videotapes was analysed.

Participants rated Mondale as less attractive and expressive than Reagan in both videotape formats. This appeared to be due to Mondale displaying more frequent blinking, fewer gaze changes and head movements than Reagan.

Raign & Sims, 1993



Observational qualitative study of four proposal developers for a telecommunications company. Authors assessed the effect of gender on persuasiveness and collaboration of proposal developers.

Mixed effects for gender upon persuasion. No effect upon collaboration.

Terkildsen, 1993



Participants presented with fictitious political candidates differing by race (skin colour), and then rated the candidates.

Black candidates were penalised more frequently by Caucasian Participants.

Carli, LaFleur, & Loeber, 1995



Videotapes of either male or female speakers displaying high task, social, submissive or dominant non-verbal behaviors were played to Participants. Participants then rated likeableness, competence and influence of the speakers.

Participants had greater ratings of likeableness for task and social speakers than dominant speakers, and submissive speakers were rated less competent. Both likeableness and competence predict influence ratings, however likeabless was a greater predictor of influence for female speakers when the participant was male.

Aguinis & Henle, 2001



Participants viewed female actors displaying different non-verbal behaviour (facial expression, visual behaviour, and body posture) on perceptions of power bases (reward, coercion, legitimacy, referent, expertise and credibility).

Direct eye contact increased perceptions of coercive power, and a relaxed facial expression decreased perceptions of all power bases (coercive, referent, reward, legitimacy, expertise and credibility) ratings of a female speaker.