Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2014

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In


First Advisor

Jason K. Clark


Non-verbal communication is a pervasive form of information sharing which has been shown to influence human behavior from infancy. To date, few empirical investigations have explored the mechanism or mechanisms by which the observed non-verbal reactions of an audience can influence message-based persuasion. Within the current dissertation, pilot data suggest that observing different types of non-verbal reactions to a persuasive message can affect attitudes. Four studies then explore two possible mechanisms by which audience non-verbal reactions could influence attitudes in a message-based persuasion paradigm. Results suggest that audience non-verbal reactions can influence attitudes by serving as a cue or heuristic or by biasing how message arguments are interpreted. Results are relevant to parties interested in affecting people's attitudes and behavior; especially as subtle non-verbal cues become more frequently communicated through technology such as network television and videoconferencing.


Attitudes, Non-verbal Communication, Persuasion


vi, 100 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 84-90).


Copyright 2014 Abigail Teresa Evans

Included in

Psychology Commons