In psychology, the topics of the self and social perception in nonverbal interaction have been intensively examined but have so far been limited to certain aspects of their interdependence. The self is conceived mostly as a bundle of functions and personality traits that predominantly resist integration, except in the form of mental representations that do not allow conscious access to the processes that generate them. Similarly, in nonverbal interaction, the sending and receiving of particular social cues via different modalities are considered and usually traced back to subpersonal, especially neuronal processes. Because this does not allow the full potential of conscious self-development in social interaction to be exploited, the nexus between the two topics is examined in this study via an empirical first-person method with qualitative and quantitative aspects. A hypothesis about introspectively observable mental activity occurring in dyadic nonverbal interaction is developed and experimentally investigated. The results show that previous theoretical models can be supplemented by a sublayer of potentially conscious mental interaction that, because of its invariance regarding partial personality aspects, suggests a holistic and dynamic concept of the self.

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