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Effects of Brain Laterality on Decoding Accuracy for Facial Displays of Emotion
Unformatted Document Text:  Effects of Brain 6 and the decoder’s own attitudes (Fernandez-Dols, Wallbott, & Sanchez, 1991; McHugo, Lanzetta, & Bush, 1991) influence the ability to accurately decode facial affect displays. We do not question the validity of these findings. Rather, in the current study, we investigate the extent to which decoding ability is resident in neurological processing tendencies. That is, we examine whether particular people are “hard-wired” neurologically in ways that make them better than others at decoding facial affect displays accurately. The discovery of such differences could have important implications not only for how communication skills are taught but also for how they are studied, drawing greater attention to the biological bases of communicative behavior. Our investigation is grounded in the principles of communibiology, in general, and of neurological hemispheric dominance, in particular. We discuss these principles subsequently and use them to formulate the specific research questions we address in the present study. Communibiology Beatty and McCroskey proposed communibiology as a paradigm rather than as a specific theory (Beatty & McCroskey, 1997, 1998, 2000a, b; Beatty, McCroskey, & Heisel, 1998; Beatty, McCroskey, & Valencic, 2001). The fundamental premise of this paradigm is that all human activity—whether kinesic, cognitive, or emotional—depends on physiological activity in general, and neurological activity in particular. Because humans are living organisms, neither their thoughts, feelings, nor behaviors can be separate from the activity of their bodies; therefore, all thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are, in a very real sense, biologically based. Whereas the field of psychobiology applies this principle to the study of psychological characteristics, communibiology applies it to the study of human communication behavior.

Authors: Floyd, Kory. and Mikkelson, Alan.
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Effects of Brain 6
and the decoder’s own attitudes (Fernandez-Dols, Wallbott, & Sanchez, 1991; McHugo,
Lanzetta, & Bush, 1991) influence the ability to accurately decode facial affect displays.
We do not question the validity of these findings. Rather, in the current study, we
investigate the extent to which decoding ability is resident in neurological processing tendencies.
That is, we examine whether particular people are “hard-wired” neurologically in ways that
make them better than others at decoding facial affect displays accurately. The discovery of such
differences could have important implications not only for how communication skills are taught
but also for how they are studied, drawing greater attention to the biological bases of
communicative behavior. Our investigation is grounded in the principles of communibiology, in
general, and of neurological hemispheric dominance, in particular. We discuss these principles
subsequently and use them to formulate the specific research questions we address in the present
study.
Communibiology
Beatty and McCroskey proposed communibiology as a paradigm rather than as a specific
theory (Beatty & McCroskey, 1997, 1998, 2000a, b; Beatty, McCroskey, & Heisel, 1998; Beatty,
McCroskey, & Valencic, 2001). The fundamental premise of this paradigm is that all human
activity—whether kinesic, cognitive, or emotional—depends on physiological activity in general,
and neurological activity in particular. Because humans are living organisms, neither their
thoughts, feelings, nor behaviors can be separate from the activity of their bodies; therefore, all
thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are, in a very real sense, biologically based. Whereas the field
of psychobiology applies this principle to the study of psychological characteristics,
communibiology applies it to the study of human communication behavior.


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