Interpersonal communication is an exchange of information between two or more people. It is also an area of research that seeks to understand how humans use verbal and nonverbal cues to accomplish a number of personal and relational goals.
Interpersonal communication research addresses at least six categories of inquiry: 1) how humans adjust and adapt their verbal communication and nonverbal communication during face-to-face communication; 2) how messages are produced; 3) how uncertainty influences behavior and information-management strategies; 4) deceptive communication; 5) relational dialectics; and 6) social interactions that are mediated by technology.
A large number of scholars have described their work as research into interpersonal communication. There is considerable variety in how this area of study is conceptually and operationally defined. Researchers in interpersonal communication come from many different research paradigms and theoretical traditions, adding to the complexity of the field. Interpersonal communication is often defined as communication that takes place between people who are interdependent and have some knowledge of each other: for example, communication between a son and his father, an employer and an employee, two sisters, a teacher and a student, two lovers, two friends, and so on.
Although interpersonal communication is most often between pairs of individuals, it can also be extended to include small intimate groups such as the family. Interpersonal communication can take place in face-to-face settings, as well as through platforms such as social media. The study of interpersonal communication addresses a variety of elements and uses both quantitative/social scientific methods and qualitative methods.
There is growing interest in biological and physiological perspectives on interpersonal communication. Some of the concepts explored are personality, knowledge structures and social interaction, language, nonverbal signals, emotional experience and expression, supportive communication, social networks and the life of relationships, influence, conflict, computer-mediated communication, interpersonal skills, interpersonal communication in the workplace, intercultural perspectives on interpersonal communication, escalation and de-escalation of romantic or platonic relationships, interpersonal communication and healthcare, family relationships, and communication across the life span.