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The Various Nonverbal Behaviors in Public Areas Essay

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Updated: Mar 3rd, 2021


Socially people know how to behave while in public areas. Norms are set without any form of rules anywhere posted. Simple theories are held into why people know how to behave in public places. “Although they often pass unnoticed, such repressions offer reassurance of the integrity of public order remains intact and that others can be trusted to act as they should” (Dixon, Levine, and McAuley 2006:188).

Integrity is such a keyword as it defines and expresses that behavior has so much to do with your surroundings. If everyone around you is screaming and being loud, then it gives on the idea that maybe it is acceptable to behave in that manner. This theory will help in my observational study to show if people in the bar behave similar to those surrounding them. This essay provides an insight into the various non-verbal behaviors that people exhibit in public areas such as bars and clubs.

Non-Verbal Communication in Bars and Clubs

In the public places study Dixon discusses how in America “public space” (Dixon et al. 2006:190) is a key factor in accepting of behavior norms. Dixon provides an example of homeless in the streets, it is not the fact that he is hanging around and doing whatever he wants the problem.

The problem is that he is doing that out of the context of his privacy affecting those in public area. The code of conduct is set, if you don’t behave like how those around you in America you may be seen like a lunatic or an outcast. I believe the modern day term is alienated from what everyone else is doing. Feeling out of the norms is what perhaps keeps the social control. Now one must emphasize how a bar sets standards for human behavior.

Social interaction in bars clubs is different from other public relations that occur in venues such as restaurants and hotels. Alcohol effects on communication patterns of individuals. The influence of alcohol impairs interaction amongst men and fellow men, men and women, and women and their fellow women. There is a tendency to deviate from certain behavioral interactions that occur in a normal social setup.

For instance, non-verbal communication is widely used in bars and clubs to pass special messages that instigate certain behavioral patterns of the parties involved. A man-to-man interaction is rather different from a man-to-woman interaction. Dressing, dancing, and expression of physical body movements are the major non-verbal cues that are used in bars and clubs. In most cases, verbal communication is short-lived and does not involve obstinate social interactions (Patterson 2007:12).

Due to the loud volumes of music that are played in bars and clubs, many people embark on non-verbal communication. Men who wish to meet women suitors in bars and clubs have to possess competent non-verbal cues (Patterson 2007:12). Physical body movements and maintenance of eye contacts between people who have common interests characterize non-verbal communications in bars and clubs. Flirting and sexiness characterize most non-verbal communications among men and women who are under influence of alcohol. Most people in bar clubs are presumed to be in a relaxed mood. Dancing, touching, and maintaining of eye contact are the most commonly used non-verbal cues to attract and win women in a club (Fairbairn and Sayette 2013:772).

Furthermore, bar and clubs serve as dating venues. Some men and women prefer these venues to ordinary dating sites. They perceive bars and clubs havens for getting easy suitors, especially for sensual purposes. According to the Alcohol Myopia Theory, consumption of alcohol has effects on the provoking (cues that initiate behavior) and inhibitory cues (cues that restrict behavior) of a person (Barlow 2014:56). According to this theory, alcohol suppresses the inhibitory cue and makes provoking cues more pronounced. For instance, behavioral patterns of alcoholics are extremely instigated by the provoking cues of the individuals (Dixon et al. 2006:188).

Flirting serves as the provoking cue while social self-esteem compliments inhibitory cues. A recent research revealed that flirting in clubs and bars triggered different reactions amongst men and women. For men, sexist behavior is highly exposed while they are under the influence of alcohol. Higher concentrations of alcohol result in more exposure of such traits. However, effects of flirting as the provoking cue and self-esteem as the inhibitory cue women exhibit different reactions based on their level of social self-esteem (Monahan and Lannutti 2000:207)

The level of alcohol concentration in a person determines the extent of extroversive behavioral patterns. In men, higher level of alcohol increases their sexiness while in women it decreases their sexiness. Contrarily, drunken women are likely to engage in sex after drinking yet their perceived sexiness decreases with increased consumption of alcohol (Wharton 2009:123)


In conclusion, individuals usually exhibit varying psychosocial behaviors when exposed to free environments. Bar and club environments are social zones that are visited by people who have close interests. Alcohol influence impairs thinking abilities of drunken individuals in way that makes them to expose their characters freely. As a result, they are able to express their egoistic characteristics to peers through non-verbal communication.


Barlow, David H. 2014. The Oxford Handbook of Clinical Psychology. New York, New York: Oxford University Press.

Dixon, John, Mark Levine and Rob McAuley. 2006. “Locating Impropriety: Stret Drinking, Moral Order, and the Ideological Dilemma of Public Space.” Political Psychology 27(2): 187-206.

Fairbairn, Catharine E. and Michael A. Sayette. 2013. “The effect of alcohol on emotional inertia: A test of alcohol myopia.” Journal of Abnormal Psychology 122(3): 770-81.

Monahan, Jennifer and Pamela J. Lannutti. 2000. “Alcohol as Social Lubricant: Alcohol Myopia Theory, Social Self-Esteem, and Social Interaction.” Human Communication Research 26(2): 175.

Patterson, Miles. (2007). . Missouri, USA: University of Missouri-St. Louis. Web.

Wharton, Tim. 2009. Pragmatics and Non-verbal Communication. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

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