In a strange place to find a discussion of nonverbal communication, an article in Better Homes and Gardens (May, 2010)discusses the eye roll, eye movements--used by tweens especially and by girls more than boys, says author Rachel Simpson--that indicate disapproval or disdain for something just said. We're all familiar with this behavior. It can even be seen in lots of college students when they don't like something the instructor says. So, I thought I'd take a look at the nonverbal textbooks I have on my shelf and see what they say about this nonverbal behavior that has significant implications for all stages of interpersonal relationships and for communication generally. I looked in Burgoon, Guerrero, and Floyd's Nonverbal Communication; Ivy and Wahl's The Nonverbal Self; Remland's Nonverbal Communication in Everyday Life; Leathers and Eaves' Successful Nonverbal Communication; Richmond, McCroskey, and Hickson's Nonverbal Behavior in Interpersonal Relations; Guerrero and Hecht's The Nonverbal Communication Reader; Kuhnke's Body Language for Dummies; and Andersen's The Complete Idiot's Guide to Body Language. In none of them was the eye role mentioned (at least according to their indexes and a cursory scan of the eye communication sections). How come?
Here's one suspicion. Authors of specialized textbooks such as nonverbal communication are so intent on summarizing the literature that they fail to look at how communication operates in the real world. A good mix is what we need in nonverbal communication and in communication generally.