Discerning Goodness via Nonverbal Cues: Perspectives from High-Context Cultures

Madiha Hashmi (1) , Moniza Waheed (2)
(1) Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, School of Arts and Sciences, American University in Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Rd – Dubai, P.O. Box 28282, UAE , United Arab Emirates
(2) Department of Communication, Faculty of Modern Languages & Communication, Universiti Putra Malaysia, 43400 UPM Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia , United Arab Emirates


The current study ventured to explore nonverbal behavioral cues associated with the construct of goodness. In a focus-group setting, perceivers from the high-context cultures of Malaysia and China were asked to define goodness and discuss how they interpreted goodness in others. Across all groups (Malaysian and Chinese) a recurring theme consisting of dynamic cues, static cues and paralinguistic cues was frequently cited, with emphasis across the spectrum. The study findings have implications for the areas of nonverbal communication, social judgments, and person perception.

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Madiha Hashmi
mhashmi@aud.edu (Primary Contact)
Moniza Waheed
Author Biographies

Madiha Hashmi, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, School of Arts and Sciences, American University in Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Rd – Dubai, P.O. Box 28282, UAE

Madiha Hashmi is assistant professor in the School of Arts and Sciences at the American University in Dubai. She received her masters from City University of New York and her PhD (in human communication) from Universiti Putra Malaysia. Dr. Hashmi’s research interests focus on the role of nonverbal cues in person perception; political discourse in news media; and communication in cross-cultural settings. She has published papers in peer-reviewed journals, the most recent being the Journal of Intercultural Communication Research and The Qualitative Report.

Moniza Waheed, Department of Communication, Faculty of Modern Languages & Communication, Universiti Putra Malaysia, 43400 UPM Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia

Moniza Waheed is associate professor in the Department of Communication of Universiti Putra, Malaysia. She received her MA (in communication) from Western Illinois University (USA) and her PhD (in political communication) from the University of Amsterdam. Her research interests include political communication, intercultural communication, and journalism. She has published articles in journals including the Journal of Intercultural CommunicationJournalism StudiesInternational Communication Gazette, and the Journal of European Communication Research.

Hashmi, M., & Waheed, M. (2020). Discerning Goodness via Nonverbal Cues: Perspectives from High-Context Cultures. Journal of Intercultural Communication, 20(3), 74–88. https://doi.org/10.36923/jicc.v20i3.313

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