Culture and Nonverbal Communication
This video explores nonverbal communication from cultures around
the world. Members of a culture typically know ONLY the gestures
from their own society. For example, Americans know gestures for
such as "OK", "Shame on You", and "Crazy", but
are tend to be ignorant
about gestures from all other societies. Similarly, most Iranians
have no idea that their most obscene gesture (the "thumbs up"
actually means "good luck" in the U.S. and many European
The video A WORLD OF GESTURES provides fascinating
cross-cultural examples of "nonverbal" communication.
In A WORLD OF GESTURES, we see people from dozens of nations
performing gestures that are powerful, poignant,
subtle, and sometimes outrageous. Different types of
gestures are shown, including those for
beauty, sexual behavior, suicide, aggression, and love.
Since gestures often involve powerful emotions, many of
these sequences are provocative, humorous, and entertaining.
The meaning and function of gestures are also explored.
For example, why is it that while some cultures
have a huge number of obscene gestures, other cultures
have not a single one? How old are some gestures?
How are new gestures created in a society?
A WORLD OF GESTURES also explores the origin
of gestures and examines how "fluency" in gestures is acquired as
children develop. Famous instances of "gesture controversy"
are described--for example, when the Prime Minister of England
unwittingly gave an obscene gesture to large crowds of
AUDIENCES--This videotape will be perfect for classes in
psychology, anthropology, sociology, communication, linguistics,
international relations, folklore and multi-cultural studies.
A WORLD OF GESTURES brings into provocative focus the silent
language of gesture. Anyone who sees this video will emerge
with a greatly enhanced sense of the diversity and richness
of other cultures, and of the power of nonverbal communication.
- A WORLD OF GESTURES is available with an INSTRUCTOR'S GUIDE
- (a) suggested uses of the video,
- (b) classroom demonstrations designed to show the power of gestures, and
- (c) background and reference materials on gestures and
What reviewers are saying about "A WORLD OF
- "Archer's tape is a wonderful, eye-opening demonstration
of cultural variation in gestural usage. From now on I
will always use A WORLD OF GESTURES in my
- ---Judith A. Hall, Professor of Psychology, Northeastern University,
Editor of THE JOURNAL OF NONVERBAL BEHAVIOR
- "A WORLD OF GESTURES is fascinating and informative. It's both
cross-cultural and sensitive to gender issues. Students
will love it, and it will serve as an excellent stimulus
- ---Nancy Henley, Professor of Psychology, UCLA, author of BODY
- "A WORLD OF GESTURES is a thoroughly delightful piece of
serious but unconventional scholarship. Humorous and
accessible to viewers of all ages and educational backgrounds,
it will also have enormous value as a supplement to
college courses in linguistics, folklore, anthropology,
and social psychology."
- ---Gary Gossen, Professor of Anthropology, State University of
New York (SUNY), Albany
- "A WORLD OF GESTURES helps students gain a cross-cultural
perspective on nonverbal behavior in a wonderfully informal,
informative, and entertaining way. Highly recommended for
- ---Robert Rosenthal, Professor of Psychology, Harvard University,
co-editor, NONVERBAL COMMUNICATION IN THE CLINICAL CONTEXT
- "A WORLD OF GESTURES is a splendid video, with informants
providing a rich array of gestures. It's an exciting and inspiring
teaching device. A WORLD OF GESTURES inspires participation
on the part of those who watch it. This rare quality
makes this video perfect for courses in
cultural anthropology, communications, linguistics, psychology,
folklore, and international business."
- ---Alan Dundes, Professor of Anthropology, UC Berkeley
- "A WORLD OF GESTURES is an extraordinarily interesting and
informative videotape. Students will find the tape very
involving, and this will be a most extraordinary teaching instrument.
Nothing like A WORLD OF GESTURES exists and, having seen this video,
I can't imagine teaching my class without it. A picture is
indeed worth a thousand words, and this videotape and its informative
INSTRUCTOR'S GUIDE are a must. I recommend it heartily."
- ---Robin M. Akert, Professor of Psychology, Wellesley College
- "A WORLD OF GESTURES is one of a kind. It is an exceptional
video for understanding gestural communication, and for
stimulating discussion about cross-cultural understanding.
My students loved it!"
- ---Mark Knapp, Professor of Speech Communication, University of Texas,
co-author NONVERBAL COMMUNICATION IN HUMAN INTERACTION