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UCSB / Communications / COMM 89 / What is the major premises in constructivism?

What is the major premises in constructivism?

What is the major premises in constructivism?


School: University of California Santa Barbara
Department: Communications
Course: Theories of Communication
Professor: Jansma
Term: Fall 2016
Cost: 25
Name: Lecture notes: Constructivism
Description: Notes on Constructivism from lecture!
Uploaded: 10/17/2016
3 Pages 115 Views 3 Unlocks


What is the major premises in constructivism?

Theorists​: Jesse Delia

Major Premises​: **From Kelly’s Personal Construct Theory**

● Based on interaction, we create cognitive categories (constructs) to understand and interpret social objects and events to guide actions

● The greater number of variety of cognitive constructs → the greater ability to create strategic messages (a purpose)

Context​: All because any communication is full of messages

Personal Construct System

● Collection of bi-polar (opposite) mental yardsticks organized within interpretive framework used to evaluate and interpret the environment, people, and situations ○ Good ------ bad

What is the meaning of cognitive complexity?

○ Exciting ----- dull

** simple / general constructs when not familiar

** simple / complex when familiar

● Develops over time i.e kids at a young age = simple and as they age their constructs get more complex

● Simple & general leads to complex and specific over time based on INFORMATION ● Cognitive ability, exposure, cognitive development, culture, and maturity help create complex/specific construct system We also discuss several other topics like How do you convert molar mass?

Cognitive Complexity

● Level of how many/variety of constructs

● High level of personal construct systems empowers us to

○ Distinguish subtle behavior and personality difference across individuals rather than rely on stereotypes

What is the meaning of person-centered messages?

○ Perceive others/situations in greater comprehension/integrative/complete ways as unique individuals

○ Make sense of behavior of individuals when when it appears inconsistent → allows to explain why and understand it Don't forget about the age old question of What is injection blow molding process?

** The Role Category Questionnaire measures complexity of personal construct system and evaluates personal construct system


● Personal constructs used to describe a person (describe distinct/complex qualities) I.e joe is funny he makes me laugh → LOW differentiation

 Joe has dry wit. He is not goofy → HIGH differentiation (more info/specific) Simple Construct System & LOW cognitive complexity → She is niceWe also discuss several other topics like What is vagueness philosophy?

Complex Construct System & HIGH cognitive complexity → She is fun and smart. She tells us ideas in ways we never imagined

Perspective Taking

● Increased cognitive complexity (high differentiation) increases ability to take the role of others/others perspectives

○ Better able to predict how people might react

○ Able to understand where people are coming from

○ Young children are not as cognitively complex as adults

Person Centered Messages

● High cognitive complexity → High perspective taking → increased ability to personalize messages

● Messages vary in person centeredness

● Low PC → ignores others feelings, doesn't allow to context, does not allow ability to address your own goals

● High PC → considers others perspectives, considers context/environment/situations, strategically adapts to other person's goals or needs

Message Creation - 3 Stage Process

1. Goals → what are they?

2. Plan → how has this worked in the past? Did my plan work? How can I change it to work in my favor?

3. Actions → nonverbal/verbal behavior

Message Design Logic

● Our cognitive complexity shapes our approach to designing messages to reach our goals ● Determined by cognitive complexity We also discuss several other topics like Why are some investments planned and others unplanned?

● Some design logic is better to achieve multiple goals in a situation

Expressive Design Logic

● “Brain dump” → saying what you say/feel with no filter or editing it → expressing like a 4 year old

Conventional Design Logic

● Guided by rules/manners/politeness

● Societal norms influence design\

● Gain social approval like a 6 year old

Rhetorical Design Logic

● Reconstructure reality to address all goals → 8 year old

● More person centered/sophisticated We also discuss several other topics like What is the definition of sexual selection?

● Messages can change the way we view the world in order to find solutions Major Areas of Application for Constructivism

● Comforting → consoling classmates

● Persuasion → convince roommate to do chores regularly

● Education → explain constructivism to mom vs. classmate vs. 10 year old ● Evaluating Constructivism


● Practical utility → compliance gaining, comforting messages, organization effectiveness, relationship maintenance Don't forget about the age old question of What is the meaning of the global economy in globalization?

● Internally consistent & Externally valid

● Heuristic → makes people think


● Reliance on the Role Category Questionnaire


● Complex personal construct system → Cognitive complexity

● Cognitive communication is important so we can create person centered messages and improve perspective taking

● Level of cognitive complexity is reflected in how we go through the message creation process (goals, plans, actions)

● Level of cognitive complexity is reflected in our message design logic ● Rhetorical design logic can address multiple goals in an interaction

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