The Human Communication Laboratory (COMM.LAB) at Columbia University studies communicative behavior from a social psychological perspective.

For humans, communication is a complicated process involving a number of systems that work in concert. Although people typically communicate with relative ease, it's not entirel clear how they do it. "How it works" is thekind of question our research addresses. Our focus is the mechanisms that make communication possible, rather than the copntent or consequences of communication.

For example, here are some examples of questions that are of greater or lesser interest to us:

Questions that we ask and try to answer:

Questions that are less interesting to us:

H ow are gesturing and speaking related? Do people gesture priarily to convey information to their listeners?

What is the origin of the A-OK gesture? Does it mean the same thing in all cultures?

Why do people involved inconversation tend to imitate phonetic, lexical, and semantic features of their partner's speech ?

Do good shrinks say "uh-huh" more than bad shrinks? Is that what it takes to be a good therapist?

Does what we say aboout things affect the way we think about them? Can articulating our mental representations change them?

Do people who speak different languages experience the world differently?

How does a speaker's voice reflect his or her social, psycho-physical, and situational identity? Does this affect the way listeners respond to what he or she says?

Do people unconsciously reveal what they're really thinking by the things they do when they talk?

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To find out more about our lab, or to obtain information about the Psychology Department at Columbia University, click on one of these icons.

<- This is a picture of a typical lab member. To find out what made him/her the way he/she is, click on the picture.

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