Speech and Hearing Sciences ETDs

Publication Date



The general purpose of this study was to examine the relationship of demographic, personality and nonverbal perception variables to communication sensitivity. The examination concerned the relative linearity or non-linearity and the statistical significance of each relationship. The specific purpose of this study was to establish the concurrent validity of the UNM Conversation Self-Report Inventory. The Conversation Inventory was used as the measure of communication sensitivity in this study. The demographic variables were measured by the Demographic Questionnaire designed by this author. The Questionnaire provided demographic information ranging from age, sex, etc. to attitude toward the future and political beliefs. Three personality inventories, the California Psychological Inventory, the Survey of Interpersonal Values and the Diplomacy Test of Empathic Ability, provided measures of 25 personality variables. A test of nonverbal perception was created that cataloged the subject's responses to a series of pictures of facial expressions. Of the 72 possible relationships studied, 33 were hypothesized to be significant. These hypotheses indicated significant relationships between demographic, personality and nonverbal perception variables and communication sensitivity as measured by the UNM Conversation Self­Report Inventory. Three hundred three subjects from Speech classes at the University of New Mexico, the University of Albuquerque and Arizona State University, during the Spring semester of 1970 were used in this project. Each subject was administered one or more of the other testing instruments. A Pearson r correlation was calculated for those relationships that involved continuous data while a chi-square was used with the discrete data. Each relationship measured by continuous data was graphed, and discrete data relationships were presented in tabular form. The results indicated that the relationships between demographic, personality and nonverbal perception variables and communication sensitivity are basically linear ones. Twenty-six of the 72 relationships were significant at or beyond the .05 level of significance. Twenty-three of the 33 hypothesized relationships were significant. The results confirmed the theoretical rationale and substantiated the model of the sensitive communicator. The Conversation Inventory was found to have high concurrent validity. The implications drawn from this study were: (1) the theory of communication sensitivity appears justified; (2) there are at least two basic types of communicators, sensitive and less sensitive; (3) there may also be at least two types of less sensitive communicators, an apathetic type and a persuasive type; (4) more research in the area of communication sensitivity is justified; and (5) the Conversation Inventory is ready for a much broader and more intensive utilization and greatly increased confidence may be placed in the power of the Inventory.

Degree Name

Speech-Language Pathology

Level of Degree


Department Name

Speech and Hearing Sciences

First Committee Member (Chair)

Jim Duff Hughey

Second Committee Member

Marilyn Janet Van Graber

Third Committee Member

Judith Wallace Carey



Document Type