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Then A Miracle OccursFocusing on Behavior in Social Psychological Theory and Research$
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Christopher R. Agnew, Donal E. Carlston, William G. Graziano, and Janice R. Kelly

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195377798

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195377798.001.0001

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Communication, Coordinated Action, and Focal Points in Groups: From Dating Couples to Emergency Responders

Communication, Coordinated Action, and Focal Points in Groups: From Dating Couples to Emergency Responders

Chapter:
(p.391) 20 Communication, Coordinated Action, and Focal Points in Groups: From Dating Couples to Emergency Responders
Source:
Then A Miracle Occurs
Author(s):

Andrea B. Hollingshead

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195377798.003.0020

One of the most important forms of social behavior is communication. In this chapter, the author discusses the importance of communication, which she defines broadly as involving both verbal and nonverbal features, in coordinating people's actions within groups. The interdependent nature of social communication is illustrated as the author discusses the relationship between coordinated action, cognitive synchrony, and communication, and discusses how communication can enhance or impair coordinated action depending on various features of the situation. For example, successful coordination can be achieved in the absence of communication in situations where there are salient focal points – prominent or conspicuous characteristics of people or situations – that can serve to unite action. On the other hand, communication is essential for coordination action in situations where salient focal points do not exist. The author also speculates on how developing technologies may possibly serve as an aid to coordinated action.

Keywords:   behavior, cognitive synchrony, communication, coordination, focal points, small groups, social psychology

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