Five Concepts of Interpersonal Communication


Who would have thought that in Hollywood movies you would find concepts of interpersonal communication? For example a closer look at the 2014 Hollywood blockbuster movie, Guardians of the Galaxy, we find very specific concepts of interpersonal communication. The movie is about a bunch of different strangers from different planets that become entangled in a plot to destroy the world and decide to try and stop it. At first they are a bunch of misfits that have their own reasons for wanting to have the infinity stone or each other, but once they find out the true power and reasons of the stone they must work together to stop it.

In order to do that there are five concepts of communication that will be discussed. They are self-disclosure, perceptions, verbal communication, nonverbal communication, and effective listening. These basic concepts are essential in everyday communication, even if you are trying to save the universe.

Self Disclosure

The first concept that will be discussed is the concept of self-disclosure.

Self disclosure is the “purposeful disclosure of personal information to another person” (‘Self-Disclosure and Interpersonal Communication’, 2018) This is basic information that you are willing to give to other person. This information can be verbal or non verbal. It could be something we say or do, or it can be something such as the clothes we wear. Whatever the situation is, who the relationship is with, and where we want to end up with that relationship will decide what information we give up to someone.

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In the movie Guardians of the Galaxy the concept of self disclosure is found in a few different scenes. In the first scene that I noticed self-disclosure is at the beginning of the movie when Peter Quill was acquiring the infinity stone from the pyramid when he was ambushed by Thanos’s henchmen. When the henchmen took Peter and began questioning him Quill said that he was a “junker” (Gunn et al., 2018). The henchmen then said that he did not look like a junker because he was wearing ravishers garb. Quill decided that since he did not know who his captors were that he wasn’t going to disclose a lot of information about himself. The next scene that self-disclosure takes place is inside the prison when prisoners decide to take justice in their own hand and try to kill Gamora.

Just before the prisoners are ready to kill her Drax comes into the scene and tells them that he will kill her and not them. The prisoners asked why and Drax went into detail on how Gamers superior, Ronin, killed his wife and daughter on his home planet and that he wanted revenge. Drax decided what amount of information he was willing to disclose in order to get his desired outcome which was to kill Gamora. This was an example of interpersonal attribution because Gamora was the specific receiver for Drax’s message and it showed his relationship to her, even though it was negative. (‘Self-Disclosure and Interpersonal Communication’, 2018) The third example of self-disclosure in the movie and probably one of the most important parts of the movie is when the collector was explaining the power of the infinity stone. The collector was also very detailed in explaining the power of the stone and why Ronin and Thanos wanted it. The reason they wanted it was to destroy any world that they wanted to.


The next concept that will be discussed in the concept of perception. Perception is defined as the process of selecting, organizing, and interpreting information. This happens when information is received and we process it and then interpret that information into meaning. In the movie the horn effect is what I found present at the beginning of the movie and the halo affect was more towards the end. The halo effect basically says that “initial positive perceptions lead us to view later interactions as positive while the horn effect occurs when initial negative perceptions lead us to view later interactions as negative.” (‘Communication and Perception’, 2018) I believe this is because as the movie played the characters relationship grew and they began to have a deeper understanding of each other.

The first example of the horn effect is when Drax once again meets Gamora. He feels that because of his earlier encounter with Ronin that everyone who follows him is evil and has the same beliefs as him. Gamora tried throughout the whole movie to explain to Drax that she was there to help but he did not believe her. Every time that she talked or did something he made a reference to her past and how she was a killer or a whore because of her previous associations. At the end of the movie that horn effect changed to a halo effect because of Gamers actions throughout the movie. Her and Drax became friends and they began to trust and understand each other. The next example of perception is how personality affects perception. All of the characters have personalities that can be associated with how become on the outside can get a feel for them. These personalities are set throughout the whole movie.

Quill is a extravert which means he is sociable and interacts with everyone. Gamora is focused and goal oriented she knows what she wants to do and is methodical in the ways she does it. Groot and Rocket fall into the category of agreeableness because they are friendly and extremely trustworthy. Finally Drax is neurotic because he lets his emotions dictate his actions. (‘Communication and Perception’, 2018) The final example of peaception is how Quill has his vice to relax and focus him which is his music. This is his salience. Salience is the degree to which something attracts our attention in a particular context. His is the music that his mother made for him and what he cherishes the most throughout the movie.

Verbal Communication

The next concept of interpersonal communication that will be discussed is verbal communication. Verbal communication is how we use language and meaning to express our thoughts and feelings in a way that the receiver can understand what we are trying to say. (‘Verbal Communication’, 2018) The first example of verbal communication is the use of figurative language such as metaphors. In the movie when our main characters were escaping from prison Quill called Drax a “walking thesaurus” and Drax responded by saying “do not call me a thesaurus.” This went on a few more times as quill used metaphors and Drax didn’t understand them. It was then revealed that Drax’s culture and people took everything literally. (Gunn et al., 2018). The second example is the way that Groot speaks. The only words that Groot says throughout the movie is “I am Groot.” (Gunn et al., 2018). Verbal communication needs to be clear and concise to all people who are involved in the conversation. The only character who understood Groot was Rocket. This was a major communication barrier. The last example of verbal communication is when Quill was trying to motivate the main characters to attack the Dark Astor and Ronin. He was able to be genuine in his words and express his thoughts and feelings effectively to the other characters in which they decided to join him.

Non-Verbal Communication

The next concept that will be discussed is non-verbal communication. “Nonverbal communication can be taken in by all five of our senses.” (‘Principles and Functions of Nonverbal Communication’, 2018) The most used form of nonverbal communication is touch. Many people express communication without saying a word. They accomplish this by simple things such as a hug, a light brush of the hand, or a high five. Another form of this concept is sight such as seeing someone way or wink at you. They once again are demonstrating non verbal ways to communicate without using words. The first example of nonverbal communication in this that is significant is when Quill tries to seduce Gamora while waiting for the collector.

Quill begins talking to her about music and as she gets drawn into it she begins to let quill dance with her as he puts his hands on her hips and begins to move his. Gamora eventually comes to her senses and pushes him away. The second example of non verbal communication is when Quill rescues Gamora from space and he gives her his oxygen to breathe.He takes off his mask to save  her. He was willing to die and his actions showed that to her without saying a word. The final example was at the end of the movie when Groot had sacrificed his life to save his friends. As all of the characters but Groot survived, rocket was seen crying while holding what was left of Groot. This showed how sad and how much pain Rocket was in because he had just lost his best friend.


The last concept that will be discussed is the art of effective listening. Listening is a primary means through which we learn new information. By being effective listeners we will be able to do a few things. One thing we will accomplish by being effective listeners is the ability to learn new information about something or someone. This is important when building relationships weather they are personal or professional. Another thing that you can learn by being an active listener is that you will be able to identify bad listening practices and bad habits that will distort the message trying to be relayed. An example of critical listening from the movie is when the main characters were explaining to Yondu’s crew the attack plan against Ronin and the Dark Astor.

Yondu’s crew were paying attention word for word so they understood their role in the attack. Using that same scene we see the second example of listening which is the good practices of presenting a message. There were no interruptions, no distractions, the presenters were informative, and the presented the plan in a way that grasped the audiences attention. The last example of effective listening is when Quill sent a message to warn the Nova Core about the impounding attack. Quill was able to relate to the one person and show humility in order for Nova Core to believe him. Nova Core showed empathetic listening in making their decision to believe Quill.


In conclusion We discussed five Concepts of Interpersonal Communication which was present in the movie Guardians of the Galaxy. Throughout the movie there were many forms of communication but the five concepts discussed were self-disclosure, perception, verbal communication, nonverbal communication, and effective listening. Examples were given in relation to each concept and a definition was given. The main characters of the movie did not know how to communicate or like each other at the beginning of the movie but as the movie progressed and the universe needed to be saved they were able to put their differences aside for the good of the universe. CommunicationDoes art imitate life or does life imitate art? A close inspection might reveal that that art tries to mimic the life and all the problems that come with it. Who would have thought that in Hollywood movies you would find concepts of interpersonal communication? For example a closer look at the 1993 Hollywood blockbuster movie, Mrs. Doubtfire, we find three very specific concepts of communication. was key in overcoming their beliefs and perceptions of each other which resulted in them working as a team and building relationships for a sequel.

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Five Concepts of Interpersonal Communication. (2022, Apr 25). Retrieved from

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