Archive for February, 2011

#4 – Interacting with the Bachelor

February 27, 2011 14 comments

The best show to observe interpersonal communication (two-person, face-to-face interaction) would be the reality show The Bachelor or The Bachelorette. This reality game show revolves around a bachelor (or bachelorette) surrounded by a pool or love interest. Ultimately, the show aims to pair up the single man (or lady) with one of the contestants, who successfully managed to woo him (or her) and escape being eliminated.

In order to pursue the bachelor the contestants have to go through the first contact to a richer interpersonal communication, through engagement. Take a look at the video from the latest season (season 15) of the Bachelor.

Human form relationships based on various reasons; one can become friends with another due to similarities or proximity. Similarly, relationships can be formed based on various reasons. In the video above, the contestants are trying to form a relationship with Brad Womack through highlighting exchange, and reciprocity and liking.

Exchange is when relationships are formed based on perceptions of the costs and rewards of the relationship. Here, the relational benefits play a role in forming a relationship. As seen in the video (between 44s-47s), one of the contestant is using, in this case, the disadvantage Brad would encounter by being with another contestant. The statement, “If you end up with Chantal, it will be a huge mistake,” shows that Brad would have more to gain by being with her.

Reciprocity and liking, is the tendency to form relationships with those who reciprocate our communication. This is crucial at the developmental stage where it serves as self-disclosure. In this video, this can be seen when one of the contestants confessed to Brad that she has indeed fallen in love with him (between 48s-51s). Later in the video, Brad then reciprocate the mutual feelings (between 1m12s to 1m17s).

I think these factors are crucial to the formation of relationship especially on this show. Given the nature of the show where 10 girls fight it out to win Brad’s heart, it is only understandable that one would go to extreme ways to form relationships such as exchange. However, the game would eventually change when several girls are eliminated leaving a smaller group of 3 or 4 girls in the competition. At this stage, relationship maintenance would then play a bigger role for Brad to see if the candidates of girls he narrowed down are suitable for him. Factors such as self-disclosure (sharing of information about self that other person in unlikely to know), conflict and relational needs help Brad decide his ‘ideal’ girl.

As much as I detest the Bachelor, somehow I could not stop myself from following this show occasionally. So which stage do you think requires more effort, forming a relationship or maintaining one?


#3 – Coca-cola advertisement

February 20, 2011 14 comments

We use non-verbal communication on a daily basis, be it to complement our verbal communication, to illustrate a point or even to replace verbal communication, such as shaking our head to disagree.

In the advertisement below released by Coca-cola, the advertisement revolves around non-verbal communication between 2 people.


The advertisement shows that non-verbal communication here is universal, understood by 2 different people from different cultures. The hand gestures and facial expressions were able to transcend culture and basic communication can occur, even replacing the verbal communication (use of language in this case).

In the advertisement, emotional expression and non-verbal codes are expressed clearly, working together to bring out the message. Mostly, kinesics (also known as body language) specifically emblems (similar to the idea of silent words), affect displays (body movement that convey emotional states) and oculesics (non-verbal meaning s associated with the eyes) were used to communicate.

At the start of the advertisement, various emotional expressions were displayed to show hostility between the 2 border guards. Frowning, eyes opened wide and eventually staring at each other established the air of hostility. The act of which the Coca-cola guard in blue using his sword to remove a tiny piece of paper that flew accidentally into his territory further emphasized this.

However when the guard in brown decided to open a bottle of Coca-cola, the guard in blue stopped walking when he heard the sound. This could either display curiosity to the source of sound or even familiarity to it. He then turned to face the guard in brown and seemed even more curious, as if telling the guard of his interest to drink too, all just through his facial expression.

When the guard in brown offered the other a bottle of Coca-cola, the guard in blue turned his head left and right checking if the coast is clear to accept it. Since they are enemies, accepting a drink seemed unacceptable. Therefore in order to receive the drink, the guard in brown used his sword and extended the territory line just so his enemy could accept a bottle of Coca-cola. At the brief moment where both of them seemed refreshed after drinking, they were enjoying something in common, in contrast to the hostile environment earlier. The advertisement is trying to show that despite the differences between people, Coca-cola is the one similar thing that everyone can share and understand.

I find it interesting how Coca-cola replaced verbal communication with non-verbal communication throughout the whole advertisement. When producing the advertisement, the main concern would have to be, ensuring that the non-verbal communication is universal, understood easily by anyone.

So what did you think of the advertisement? What are some of the non-verbal communication that you adopt to replace verbal communication?

#2 – Diet Pepsi ‘Skinny’ Can Controversy

February 13, 2011 14 comments

Stereotyping is defined as a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing.

Advertisements usually features stereotypes in it, to allow their target audience to be able to relate with the character. In this case, it is Pepsi’s new Diet Pepsi Skinny Can, released during Fashion Week in New York.


screen shot from:

Why the whole controversy behind this new can design? It is using stereotype and perception to sell the product, in which fashion is related to being skinny and that being skinny is beautiful. So what do you think is the main reason for stereotyping?

Perception is defined as the process of selecting, organizing and interpreting information to give personal meaning to the communication we receive. Ultimately perception is about how make sense of the information we received.

When forming perception, we go through the process of selection – how we single out information in our environment for processing. We select information based on frequency (quantity), contrast (how a certain stimuli stands out because it is different), intensity (the magnitude of a certain stimuli) and novel stimuli (things that are new to us).

Our selection process is also influenced from various sources such as mass media, environment, individual characteristics (e.g. past experiences, cultural background etc), psychological state and social network.

In my opinion, influences of selection and the qualities of selection work hand in hand. Take for example; a girl being constantly exposed to media portrayal of beauty as being skinny mixed with the environment that stresses on outer appearance as beauty. This affects her selection of what beauty is all about. With inaccurate selection of information, it ultimately affects how she organized and interprets the information. Inevitably, it leads to the distortion of perception of beauty.

The mainstream media has the power to affect people’s perception. The media is a tool that can be used to communicate from one person to many. It is up to how a person makes sense of the information. However, with this distortion of perception being used to sell a product, it is delivering the wrong message of what beauty is, not only to the youths who are so easily influenced, but also to the mass.

I think the main problem when it comes to perception, is selection of information. We tend to avoid certain stimuli (selective exposure), filter of unwanted stimuli (selective attention) and/or we only store information we have processed (selective retention). Distortion of perception leads to the existence of stereotyping.

The best way to improve our perception is to keep an open mind when selecting information and distinguish facts from inferences. Most importantly, be prepared to change our perception.

When it all comes down to it, do you really think it is the media’s fault for projecting beauty as being skinny, or do you think it is the natural characteristic in human nature to see what is pleasing to the eyes?