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UCONN / Communication / COMM 1000 / Why do we study communication as a field?

Why do we study communication as a field?

Why do we study communication as a field?


School: University of Connecticut
Department: Communication
Course: The Process of Communication
Professor: Stephen stifano
Term: Spring 2017
Cost: 50
Name: Communication 1000 Midterm Review
Description: Collection of notes taken throughout the lectures and with the book.
Uploaded: 02/17/2017
16 Pages 115 Views 1 Unlocks

Midterm Review: Comm 1000 2017 

Why do we study communication as a field?

(all information given comes from PowerPoint slides, lectures, or the book)

Jan 23: The Process of Communication

Why do we study communication as a field?

∙ It keeps you alive (obvious but overlooked)

o Difference between hearing and listening, warnings on how to stay  safe

o Learned that it is important to listen to keep each other alive o Reactions (the “oh shit” expression) to something sends message to  people in the group; being able to read situations help stay out of  harm's way

∙ It impacts everything

o Every interaction we have, there is some communicative aspect ∙ Doing it well is a skill Don't forget about the age old question of What is the meaning of capacitors in physics?

o Communicating well is a skill that must be worked on

What is the process of managing messages for the purpose of creating?

o If you don’t try to refine it, you won’t get better

o Goes beyond a natural talent (no choice but to practice it everyday) ∙ Employers value it

o Realizing that communication is becoming more important

o Turning into collaborative jobs where communication is crucial Human communication

∙ The process of managing messages for the purpose of creating (a skill) ∙ A transaction between at least two people, simultaneously sending and  receiving messages to and from one another If you want to learn more check out What is life in the 1920s?

∙ Always things that are being exchanged


∙ Verbal (spoken exchange) or nonverbal (expressional exchange); intentional  (pick and choose what we say) or unintentional (do not fully explain  everything)

What is the medium through which a message is sent?

o Usually a blend If you want to learn more check out Why is sociology so important in this changing society?


∙ The medium through which a message is sent

∙ Need to choose the path in which you send a message (most of the time  intuitive) We also discuss several other topics like What is responsible for maintaining homeostasis?

∙ Become aware of the channels that we need or want to use when one or  more become available

Interference (noise)

∙ Prevents message from being received, or prevents intended meaning from  being understood

∙ Technical: cellphone reception, barriers that get in the way of the message  coming through

∙ Semantic: when we talk to each other and we have different uses/meaning  for words

o To you, it may be a casual word with no meaning, to someone else the  word may be upsetting If you want to learn more check out What are some misconceptions in psychology?


∙ Do not spend enough time processing the information and thinking about  how to respond

∙ Important skill, the biggest deficiency most of us have


∙ The return to you of behavior you have generated, reinforces some behaviors and extinguishes others

∙ Could be verbal or nonverbal, reactions


∙ Put in effort and energy about how we can time the messages we send Model of Human Communication (picture on slide)

∙ sender→ filters → messages → channel → interference → receiver → filter →  etc.

∙ Everyone has a filter (background, setting, situations make our filters function differently)

∙ Think about the message you want to send...then in what channel you will  send it

∙ The same message can be interpreted differently with the filters of the  receiver

∙ We become very cognitive of this whole process

Communication Context: At what level do you study communication? ∙ Intrapersonal communication: communication within a person o How we perceive ourselves and the world Don't forget about the age old question of What is considered wife abuse?

o Perception: how you’re feeling, how you think you’re performing  (education)

∙ Interpersonal communication: communication with another (dyadic) o Develops intimacy with another, getting to know people

o We can do this through any channel available to us

∙ Interviewing: question-answer pattern

o Very aware of our answers and how someone will evaluate them ∙ Small group communication: 3 or more members of a group influencing  one another

o Seek a common goal with a lot of verbals and nonverbals  

∙ Public communication: one person addressing a wide audience with the  goal to relay information

o The audience will respond differently depending on how you relay that  info

∙ Organizational communication: in the workplace or in other organizations  there are certain expectations and goals that need to be accomplished ∙ Health communication: often overlooked

o The way the doctor conveys info to you may affect how you think  about it in the long-run

o Good/bad/important news all need to be conveyed in a certain way o How to stop kids from smoking/drinking/unprotected sex?

∙ Mass communication: dealing with media, messages sent out in a larger  scale  

Elements of effective communication

∙ Understanding: have to comprehend what you’re saying

∙ Pleasure: if you make the communication a good experience, you like it  more

∙ Attitude: influencing attitudes on topics involved communicating well ∙ Improves relationships: make them better with communication ∙ Action: gets things done

∙ “When the stimulus as it was initiated and intended by the sender, or source,  corresponds closely to the stimulus as it is perceived and responded to by the receiver” (book pg 24)

Phatic Communication

∙ Aimed at keeping human contact

Jan 25: Studying Communication as a Science

The Field of Communication

∙ Humanistic Approaches: these types of approaches does not mean you  need to be objective → bias

o Rhetoric: study of using language to persuade (public speaking)  Speech, words you use and the ways you use them

 Judgement calls up to the scholar, subjectivity to connect  

speeches and words of persuasion (politics)

o Interpretivists: look at specific events in the world and try to use  them to explore and seek understanding

 Inauguration day: crowd, media, political leaders as a whole  

 Using background and skills to interpret what they’re seeing

o Critical scholars: seek to understand power in any given situation  Who holds the power, how it is used, how that power leads to a  lack of quality among the people with and without power

 Wealthy vs poor, whites vs nonwhites

∙ Social Scientific Approaches:  

o Qualitative: employs rigorous observational rules

 Work in the field

 Collect data that are rich in detail and description

 in-depth interviews, ethnography (watch people behave),  


 Goal is to capture things that are representative (explain what is  going on)

o Quantitative: primary research; deeper, bigger picture sense  Looking to uncover patterns via numbers

 Employ advanced statistical techniques and rigid testing to  

support/reject hypotheses

 Can work in the field or in the lab

 More complete picture of the behavior of people in a given  


Scientific Method

∙ Ask a question or state a problem

o Remove subjective language

∙ Formulate a hypothesis or research question

o Educated guess with relationship of your beliefs and others

∙ Think through and refine the hypothesis or research question ∙ Design and conduct the observation, measurement, or experiment ∙ Analyze and interpret the data

o A conclusion on the data found

∙ Empirical: based on, concerned with, or verifiable by observation or  experience rather than theory or pure logic.

∙ Objective

∙ Logical: inferences that we make from the data have to be consistent and  rational

∙ Public: our results are shared in the community in ways that will allow other  people to come along and agree or disagree

∙ Content analysis: systematic analysis of the content of communication  messages

o Purposes:

 Describes frequency of a behavior

 Compares behavior types/rates across different contexts

o Issues:

 Requires a representative sample (need something reliable)  Need clear, specific definitions of behaviors (what you think vs  what someone else thinks may be different)

 Requires coding

 Limited to studying what is already occurring

∙ Survey: examines what people do

o Relies on self-reports

o Examines relationship between variables

o Examples:

 Relationship questionnaires

 Attitude surveys

 Media habits research  

o Issues:  

 Need representative sample

 Questions must be of high-quality

 Limitations:

 No control over variables

 Cannot make causal conclusions (can only see  


 Self- reports

∙ Experiment: manipulation of variables (one group gets  

treatment, other does not)

o Control of other variables/setting

o Measures effect/outcome of manipulation

o Only one that can claim causation

o Issues:

 Goal: drawing causal conclusions

 Requires random assignment to conditions

 Limitations:

 Hard to generalize results from a lab environment

 Artificial setting

 Limited subject population

 Requires strong procedure to prevent issues

∙ Uncertainty principle: all measurement contains error

o Anything that happens can happen by chance (when something  ridiculous happens, it could just be a flook in that specific situation) ∙ Reliability: idea of consistency, same result over and over  


∙ Validity: accuracy/truthfulness in data  

Jan 30 Perception

Perception: interpreting the sensory experience of the world

Selective attention: tend to focus on certain things with the expense of others ∙ if you support something, your attention is aimed at their positive attributes Filters

∙ Perceptual filters: physical/physiological limits

o Things about us that shape what we interpret and what we miss o Gender, culture, ethnicity, age, sexuality, group of people you hang out with, upbringing, environment, education impact how we view the  world

 Influence what we get out of the picture (see/hear)  

∙ Psychological sets: expectations that shape experiences

 Different expectations for certain words/actions/settings than  others

 Different things that we filter through experiences

Perception is active

∙ Select: stimuli that is intense, repetitive, and changing

∙ Organize: process of organizing changes based on your expectations on  what you think is important  

o To create a picture of what is happening

∙ Interpret: try to assign meaning to things we see, evaluating what is in front of us and trying to draw conclusions to it

∙ We attempt to simplify complex information

∙ Biases and limitations often lead to errors

Attribution: the process of assigning meaning to others’ behavior ∙ The act of asking why...when you can’t figure out why, that’s when you  become stressed


∙ Self attribution tends to differ from other attribution

o We act a certain way because of “the situation”

 Blame the situation

o Others act a certain way because of “who they are”

 The situational factors are not considered

o Attributions differ as people focus on different information

 Sometimes we focus on the individual

 Sometimes we focus on the context or circumstances

∙ Kinds of bias:

o Dispositional other:  

 Tendency to overuse of personality reasons (dispositions) with  others

 Joe failed the exam because he’s lazy and foolish (on a high  horse)

o Self-Serving bias:

 Overuse of situational attributions with self

 I failed because those questions were ridiculous and unfair

 Now that you messed up, it is not your fault (blame  

someone else for your failure)

Impression formation: when you’re flooded with information, you look for certain  things and not others; weighted average

∙ Impressions of self:  

o Self concept

 Looking-glass self: tendency to see ourselves the way that  

others see us

 Self expansion model

 Social comparison: the ways in which we frame ourselves in  relative comparison to others

o Self-esteem

 Feedback: positive/negative support

o Self-fulfilling prophecy

 If we have confidence, we are more likely to do something to the best of your ability

∙ Impressions of others:  

o First impressions

 Primary effect

o Physical attractiveness

 Nature vs nurture

o Expressiveness

o Charisma  

Stereotyping: a generalization about a class of people, objects, or events that is  widely held by a given culture

Social roles

∙ Work

∙ Student

∙ Gender-linked

∙ Marital  

Accuracy of perceptions:  

∙ Context: emotional background to a situation

∙ Interpersonal sensitivity: verbal/nonverbal messages

∙ Perceiver self-confidence

∙ Intelligence

o Dispositional intelligence

∙ Flexible expectations

∙ Awareness of limitations

Feb 1: Verbal Communication

∙ A system of symbols and codes used to construct and convey messages ∙ Thousands of systems (languages) to create a code to exchange information Symbol Referent  

∙ Symbols = words

∙ Manifested as the words themselves

∙ Inherently, words have no meaning

∙ Series of arbitrary symbols that we have agreed on the meaning of,  creating a mental picture  

∙ Connection of symbol to the referent → the thing the symbol refers to ∙ Referent: the object that the symbol represents  

∙ Connection between the two is important in order to comprehend each other ∙ Street sign for pedestrians… the sign means nothing alone, but what we  associate it with is understandable

Semantic Triangle

∙ Emphasizes the fact that when someone is talking...you may have different  thoughts and symbols than the speaker

o Confusion

∙ A symbol symbolizes a thought

∙ A symbol is created to represent a referent

∙ A thought refers to a referent

Denotative Meaning

∙ the dictionary definition of a word

∙ When you do not have personal meaning to a word

Connotative Meaning

∙ Personal definition/interaction with a word, creating more meaning than just  the definition

∙ Interpretive meaning of a word

∙ Either negative or positive connotations for words

o Cocky vs confident  

o Pushy vs assertive  

Private Meaning

∙ Internalized meaning of word  

∙ When you see a word or phrase, you can think of something very vividly; no  one else has that connection to the word

∙ Incorrect definitions create confusion/misunderstandings

Shared Meaning

∙ A common experience that creates a common meaning with you and friends Code Switching

∙ Different voices, connotative meaning, and expressions used with different  groups of people

∙ Different time/places/people that we use different styles of speaking Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis

∙ Hypothesis is that language shapes how we see the world

∙ The way we use language affects how we see the world and how we interact  with things in the world

∙ Strong determinant: language determines/controls our thoughts o If you don’t have a large vocabulary, you don’t have deep thoughts ∙ Weak determinant: we view the world and we have certain thoughts and  they are all influenced by language

∙ If you’re well versed in language, it will be easier to deal with and interact  with the world around you → developmental growth

∙ Language aids our memory

o Influences the way as we describe experiences

∙ Our memory is primarily verbal  

Language Issues

∙ create conflict

∙ Abstract /vague language: your version of home early may be different  than your parents

∙ Inferences: we make conclusions on details that we have based on details  that we don’t

o Not a hard day at work vs a long day at work

∙ Dichotomies: success vs failure

o Just because you did not succeed, doesn’t mean you failed

o Things that are on a continuum are sometimes not judged as so ∙ Equivocal language: things that mean two or more words/phrases o Interpreted differently  

o “She needs help” → busy and needs assistance or psychiatric care  ∙ Euphemisms: George Carlin (comedian); we don’t like talking in very direct  terms about uncomfortable things

o Died vs passed away

o Euphemisms to stand in the place of discomfort...in the process it  removes some of the humanity

o Used in softer terms in turn harder to use

Language has Power

∙ The way we choose to phrase sentences and use the certain words that we  use

∙ Power: we want to look like we’re in control with confidence

o Gained through the language we use

o Hedges/ disclaimers: not the expert; not positive, I think, maybe  Language used to hide our knowledge; undermines our authority o Leaders not afraid to say “I”... more power


∙ More words in the English language to describe women than men ∙ More positive words to describe men than women

∙ Occupational nouns: firemen, policemen, chairmen

o Started to correct it...but it has been built in

∙ Predisposed in a way for men → elevates men over women


∙ Communication about communication

∙ Discussing the ways in which we communicate

∙ Relationships will improve

Feb 6: Listening

∙ A 3 step process of receiving, constructing meaning from, and responding to  spoken and/or nonverbal messages

∙ Single greatest tool to anticipate situations, making good decisions, and  understanding others

∙ Matters, but very difficult

∙ Correlated with personal and professional success

∙ Spend 60% of time listening, and retain 25%

Listening vs Hearing

∙ Listening: psychological process where you tune into things

∙ Hearing: physiological/physical process

Components of Listening (happen over time or instantaneously)  ∙ Hearing: physically receive the signal

∙ Understanding: need to be speaking a language we understand, or read an  emotional message

∙ Remembering: remembering what was said instead of having meaningless  conversation

∙ Interpreting: make sense of message

∙ Evaluating: what is going on, what you need to do with it (useful/useless) ∙ Responding: response or lack of one sends a message

Listening styles

∙ Action oriented: focus on info and how accurate the information is o Ex: this lecture..what’s important for the exam? What info is present? o Trying to grab the accurate information  

∙ Content oriented: pick something apart to understand very complex  information

∙ People oriented: focus on others, use what we’re hearing to make  connections

∙ Time oriented: primary goal is efficiency, know the bottom line of the  conversation

o Ex: emergencies

Barriers to Listening

∙ Physical

∙ Psychological  

∙ Conflicting objectives

∙ Poor listening habits

Improving Listening Skills

∙ Active listening:  

o Paraphrasing: as we listen to what someone is saying, you can repeat it back in your own words

o Reflection: take moments and think about what you heard, why they  said it, and what you think about it  

o Ask questions: keep the dialogue going

∙ Listen effectively and focusing on key details, getting the point of the  message

∙ Paying attention and putting aside the distractions

∙ Isolate the main points/ideas

∙ Concentrate

∙ Acknowledge

∙ Respect

∙ Empathize  

Feb 8: Nonverbal communication

∙ The use of objects, action, sounds, time and space to convey meaning ∙ When we interpret nonverbals, we do it as a whole

∙ Gestalt: all together at the same time

o Interpret entire collection of nonverbals in a moment

∙ Tend to believe nonverbals over verbals (65% conveys of nonverbals, 35%  verbals)

∙ What goes on with our bodies as we say something is more communicative  ∙ Two types of nonverbal

o Vocal: sighs, moans, screams (not a transcript/in English language),  changes in pitch/tone

 Sounds we make still convey something

o Nonvocal: facial expressions, movement, gestures

 Essential to communicating different elements of a message Nonverbal ______ Verbal

∙ Complements: supports the words you’re saying

∙ Regulates: send signals for conversations (end or begin)

∙ Substitutes for: answer questions without needing to talk

∙ Contradicts: our expressions don’t match our words, believe the nonverbals ∙ Illustrates

Methods of Nonverbal

∙ Paralanguage: not what you say, it is how you say it

o Pronunciation of emphasis, the entire meaning of the sentence  changes, bringing up other questions

o “I didn’t steal her purse”

∙ Objectics: the objects around us send messages about who we are and how  we want to be perceived, depicts how we are feeling

o Communicate certain intentions, and certain people take it in different  ways

o Do things so that other people interpret it in the way you want it to o Do it both consciously and unconsciously  

∙ Proxemics: we use space, distance, and territory to communicate things o “Marking your territory”, “taking up space to display dominance” o Professors space in lecture hall, draws attention, shows power and the  need for respect

o When the boundaries of the territory changes, it throws people off (feel violated, uncomfortable because it is not expected)

o Use space to communicate different elements about how we operate  and power relationships

o Used differently in different locations

o Intimate: 0-18”

o Personal: 18”-4’ when closer, someone is violating that space o Social:4’-12’

o Public: 12’ or more

∙ Orientation: how we are structured; facing or not facing person o Opposite sides of the table in a formal setting: competition o Sitting next to each other: cooperation

o Try to orient ourselves in certain ways

o Open form: casual conversation

o Close form: something personal or serious

∙ Haptics: touch communication

o Control, physical message, sexual, playful (joke around), accidental  (awkwardness), instrumental (doctor’s office)

o Signals affiliation and relationships

o Demonstrates aggression, sadness, support, triumph, dominance o Men find touch more sexual than women

∙ Kinesics: general movement of body or faces

o Body movement and gestures: movement of hands, posture  Have trouble agreeing on what something means

 Proud vs cocky

 Context and culture is important when determining (arbitrary) o Facial expressions: intentional or unintentional

 Some people look at the same face at find different meanings  (raised eyebrows → excitement, questions, doubts)

 Cultural differences

 Human face communicates a lot of meaning and emotion, if you  do not see the face while talking, you often miss things

o Body language

 Emblems: physical gestures that substitute for words

 Illustrators: how we demonstrate words, talk with your hands,  reenactment

 Regulators: gestures that explain the need for the beginning or end of a conversation

 Adaptors: clicking of a pen, twirling hair, jiggling of keys

 Affect display: show of emotion intentionally and  


∙ Oculesics: eye contact (regulates interaction, attraction, attention, power)  and gaze and what that communicates

o Women make more eye contact than men

∙ Chronemics: use of time in communication

o Being late vs being early (how can someone else observe that) o How long should I take to respond

o Amplifier to verbal communication you will be engaging in o Monochronic: one thing at a time, interruptions are rude

o Polychronic: multitasking, okay with being interrupted, people more  important than our commitment

 Social media have made us more polychronic

Feb 15 Communication of Emotion

Sign vs symbol

∙ Sign: something that predicts that something is coming ∙ Symbol:  

Verbal vs Nonverbal

∙ Sometimes, they both communicate the same message, and the message is  received in the same way

Emotional Communication

∙ The minute signals of affect, attention, approach/avoidance,  dominance/submission

o These signals help to shape social order

o fighting/flirting → you can pick up certain signals that create subtle  feelings

∙ Must be studied by studying the individual within the social system ∙ The better we understand emotion, the better we understand our nonverbals Spontaneous Communication

∙ We have many signs that we release spontaneously  

∙ Eyes widen for fight or flight response

∙ Mouth opens: takes in more oxygen, surprised look

∙ Instantaneous, nonvoluntary communication  

∙ Signs created evolutionarily to keep away from danger

∙ Based upon a biologically-shared signal system

∙ Involves signs, not symbols

∙ Nonproportional (never false)

∙ Mainly right-brained: associated with more emotional experiences, creativity,  and vision

Symbolic Communication

∙ We can take all the words in the world that allow us to communicate about  higher-level things

∙ A socially-shared system (we made it up, we choose the words we say) ∙ Voluntary

∙ Involves symbols (arbitrary)

∙ Propositional (can be false)  

∙ Mainly left-brained

∙ Includes some non-verbal behavior

Spontaneous vs Symbolic

∙ Things we create, compose, and reflect on vs our natural human tendencies Three Types of Emotion

∙ Bodily adaptation and maintenance of homeostasis

o Regulatory system (do certain things when certain things  

happen...most of the time this decision happens naturally)

o Includes fight or flight responses and need for food, water, and oxygen

o They keep things running, signals in order to not reach a catastrophic  state

∙ The External Expression of Motivational/Emotional States

o Useful for social coordination, sexual reproduction,  


o Ex: dogs, bark vs whimper

∙ The subjective experience of motivational/emotional states o Useful for self-regulation, reflection, learning

o A monitoring system for humans

o Experience feelings and reflect on them so you can either keep doing  what you’re doing or change it

Primary Emotions: interpretable, universally understandable (hard-wired) ∙ Happy

∙ Sad

∙ Fear

∙ Anger

∙ Surprise

∙ Disgust: social notion, getting other people involved in your disgust Nonverbal sending accuracy

∙ Reactions to stimuli that are very easily interpreted

∙ When it’s easy to read someone’s face and tell how they are feeling Nonverbal receiving ability

∙ The ability to guess what someone’s emotions are based on expressions Pseudo Spontaneous communication

∙ Try to carry yourself like you’re not experiencing certain emotions that you’re  actually feeling

∙ Break up then have to go to work the next day

∙ Expressions to try to look like a certain emotion because we think it will help,  posing the emotion that is specific to the situation

∙ We like to put forth proper emotions


∙ Of other: lying to people, faking emotions, necessary

∙ Of self: emotional tactic

o Telling yourself you’re okay

o Repression: block out emotions or events that hurt our ability to  function normally so we can try to move on

o Coping: try to label what happened to us, thinking through how you  feel to talk yourself into feeling better, mental tactic to heal

∙ Crash course on lies

o Everybody lies

o Humans are lied to as many as 200 times per day

o Humans detect lies with just 54% accuracy

 We think we can find out when someone is lying

o Types of lies

 Fabrication: making things up

 Exaggeration: sometimes subtle enough that is not detected  White lies

 Barefaced lies: absurd lies that are said with such a straight face that we talk ourselves into it

 Omission: leave out certain pieces of information, qualifying as a lie

o Kind hearted (you look great in that dress) lies vs self serving lies (lie  to put ourselves in a better position)

o Avoiding eye contact: not a sure sign that someone is actually lying Emotional Education:

∙ Understanding why we have certain reactions, why we cover some up, why  we lie

∙ Allows people to make better choices later

∙ Ability to understand, label and deal with the feelings you feel in certain  situations

Developmental interactionist theory (buck 1984) ∙ We progress over time, influencing how well we balance this ∙ Simple creatures, new situations, infants

∙ Complex creatures, familiar situations, adults

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