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Microanalysis of Communication - PSY00017H

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  • Department: Psychology
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Maurice Waddle
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2023-24

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 2 2023-24

Module aims

Microanalysis represents not only a distinctive methodology but also a distinctive way of thinking about communication. It is based on observations of human behaviour via the detailed analysis of video/audio recordings or transcribed material. Through the use of recorded data that can be examined repeatedly, it is possible to perform the kind of highly detailed analysis of both speech and non-verbal communication that is characteristic of the microanalytic approach.

Module learning outcomes

  • Describe practical applications of microanalytic research in the areas of medicine, crime detection and politics
  • Comment on communication studies and their findings in each of the areas of covered
  • Give an account of key concepts and methods from social interaction research
  • Discuss how key theories of communication relate to our everyday experiences and to those in positions of prominence and power

Module content

  • Communication Skills Training (CST): focus on medical settings.
  • Interpersonal Sensitivity: the analysis of person perception as communicative skill.
  • Deception: nonverbal cues in deception detection.
  • Equivocation: equivocation theory and its application to political interviews and beyond.
  • Personalisation: insults, antagonism, flattery etc - how these are used and their effects
  • Communication Accommodation Theory: how people adapt their communication to others.
  • Turn-taking and interruptions: medical consultations; political discourse; "manterrupting".
  • Audience responses: applause, laughter and booing.
  • Face and facework: the role of self-presentation in communication.


Task Length % of module mark
Online Exam -less than 24hrs (Centrally scheduled)
Microanalysis of Communication
5 hours 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Online Exam -less than 24hrs (Centrally scheduled)
Microanalysis of Communication
5 hours 100

Module feedback

The marks on all assessed work will be provided on e-vision.

Indicative reading

Bull P.E. (2002). Communication under the Microscope: The Theory and Practice of Microanalysis. London: Psychology Press

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.