Decoding dyadic interactive nonverbal behaviour in Chinese and Australian cohorts: A novel dyadic puzzle-solving task

J. Huang, Y. Wang, B.-H. Liu, D.L. Neumann, Ho Keung David Shum, R.C.K. Chan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


© 2017 John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd and Asian Association of Social PsychologyThe current study used a novel problem-solving task in which the solution could only be reached via interactions between members of dyads. The study aimed to systematically examine how nonverbal interactive behaviour was related to the cultural background of the dyads, the participant's role in the dyad (viz., instructor, problem solver) and task repetition. Twenty-one Australian dyads and 32 Chinese dyads performed the dyadic puzzle-solving task while their interactions were video-recorded. In each dyad, one instructor and one problem solver worked together to solve a seven-piece puzzle. Six trials, each comprising a different puzzle, were completed. Results indicate that the Australian instructors engaged in significantly more eye gazing and displayed more hand gestures but smiled less than the Chinese instructors. The Australian problem solvers maintained longer eye gazing, displayed more hand gestures and more echoing than their Chinese counterparts. Over trials, the Chinese instructors reduced their total talking time, hand gestures, nodding behaviour and smiling during self-talking more than the Australian instructors. Moreover, the problem solvers in the dyads from both countries significantly reduced their smiling across trials. The current study shows that nonverbal behaviours during dyadic interactions are related to one's cultural background, role in the task and task repetition.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)128-136
Number of pages9
JournalAsian Journal of Social Psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • cross culture
  • dyadic interaction
  • nonverbal behaviour
  • problem-solving task

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Social Sciences(all)

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