COMM 2713 Final Study Guide Fall 2015
COMM 2713 Final Study Guide Fall 2015 COMM 2713 - 001
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Date Created: 12/10/15
Comm 2713 Final Study Guide Fall 2015 University of Oklahoma Theoretical Perspectives: • Post-positivism: approach the social sciences like the hard sciences. § Ex. People can be explained just like chemicals or other physical things. o Ontological commitments (what’s real) § Post-positivists treat things as if they are real (social constructionism: we make the world that we live in). § Ex. Police having authority over us because we give them that authority. o Epistemological commitments (how you find out about something) § Post-positivists are objective. § Ex. They would look at situations as if it were an ant farm. (From the outside-in) o Axiological commitments (values brought to your research) § Value-free § No moral compass § Ex. A post-positivist would look at a situation and regardless of what’s going on, say whether it works or not. • Interpretive o Ontological commitments § Interpretive theorists believe that meaning comes from interaction. • The idea of 9/11 is socially constructed by people and because of this interaction; it conveys meaning that is real to us. o Epistemological commitments § Epistemologists are subjective. • They look at the world through their subject’s viewpoint. • However, they do not take sides. • They also bring their ideas about social life to their research. § Shared knowledge is necessary in order to make sense of social life. o Axiological commitments § Value-neutral • They study a cultures value, but they don’t identify themselves with them. § The goal: To look with their subject and understand them. • The explanation given to subjects often does not resonate well with them. Goals of theories: • Predict: A good theory should be able to predict an outcome with confidence based on the characteristics that a subject provides. o Ex. The more you self-disclose, the closer you will become to a person (social penetration theory) • Explain: Additionally, a good theory should also be able to explain the behavior behind why something happened as it did. o Ex. The reason why you self-disclosed was because someone self-disclosed to you first (law of reciprocity) • Understanding: A good theory is parsimonious, simple and not complex. It should offer the overview of what the theory does with as few ‘moving parts’ as possible. o Ex. (T = x1 – x2/s1/n1^2+s2/n2^2) vs. E=mc^2 § Einstein’s theory of E=mc^2 is parsimonious, because it offers the big overview of what’s happening, but it’s anything but easy to understand when you break it down. Characteristics of good theories: • Testability: o The ability to tstt whether or not you’re right. § Ex. 1 nuclear bomb was able to be tested and proved to work. • Falsifiability: o The ability to disprove a theory. o A good theory is specific enough to be wrong. § Ex. Fortune cookies; these are extremely broad in their meanings and therefore can’t be disproved. • Parsimony: o The ability to explain a lot with a little. § Ex. E=mc^2 § Ex. A tornado survey with only three questions v. a tornado survey with fifty. • Heuristic Value: o Able to tell you something that you didn’t already know. § Non-heuristic ex: texting while driving is bad. (We know this) § Heuristic ex: The majority of people cannot multitask effectively. • Scope: o Being as fundamental as possible o Covering as many different dimensions as possible. Concepts: • Power is: o Altering behavior: getting someone to do something that they otherwise wouldn’t do. o Controlling the agenda: the ability to control what decisions are made § This isn’t a defining aspect of power. o Managing perceptions: Convincing people that they don’t have a problem. § This is an important aspect of power. o A neutral concept § Power can be abused § It also facilitates organization & cooperation • Ex. The military because they have a clear command and control. • Control is: o Using power as a resource to alter behavior • Organizations: o Are interdependent and have a main goal o Anyone can be a member of multiple organizations • Definition of Mass Communication o At its source, mass communication has: § Organizational (not individual) basis § Economic relationships to receivers • It is generated to make money § Barriers to access • Such as: cash, production, employees, recording equipment, etc. o Also, the internet changes some of this § It allows the digital generation to be more fluent with technology and have easier access to media. • Passive v. Active Visions of the audience o Passive: the context “washes” over them. § The message will have the same effect on everyone despite history, culture, gender, etc. § Everyone who is vulnerable to the context will be affected in the same way. § Vulnerabilities = Same ethnicities, choice to be exposed, psych variables, and social variables. o Active: audiences cognitively interpret the messages that they are exposed to. § Individuals interpret messages differently based on social experience and location. § Individuals also draw upon cultural resources to interpret messages. § Audiences can’t help but be critical of mediated messages since they have to interpret in order to understand them. Theories • Systems Theory o Comm Phenomenon: The adding of feedback to the transmission model of communication which can either be positive or negative. o Explanation: With positive feedback, it makes the system change. With negative feedback, it keeps the system the same. o Application: Telling your significant other that you love them just the way they are is an example of negative feedback because you’re encouraging them to stay the same. In contrast, telling them they could lose a couple lbs is positive feedback because you’re encourage them to change. • Symbolic Convergence Theory o Comm Phenomenon: How groups work to come together and communicate as a single entity. WE instead of I. o Explanation: The theory focuses on three key concepts. 1. Fantasy theme: Not about the task at hand, but about outside immediate goals. 2. Group Fantasy: A shared understanding. 3. Rhetorical Vision: Visions large enough to capture big cultures. o Application: You can use SCT to evaluate a group that you’re in based on its cohesiveness, destructiveness, or dramatization and either contribute or break away from it. • Cybernetics o Comm phenomenon: Draws on systems theory and focuses on information and how you receive it. o Explanation: Cybernetics uses redundancy, signal, and noise in order to determine how well you receive a message. o Application: Making a message highly salient in respect to the noise that is interfering with the reception of the message. • Social Judgment Theory o Comm Phenomenon: changing attitudes in a gradual process at the edge of what you believe to be acceptable. o Explanation: Social Judgment Theory uses an anchor point, latitude of acceptance, latitude of rejection, and latitude of non-commitment in order to rank attitudes and see how best to nudge attitudes toward a perspective. o Application: Persuading a person to your point of view by nudging them into the latitude of non-commitment. • ELM o Comm Phenomenon: The type of mental processing that we engage in (Central/peripheral) o Explanation: We use the central route of processing for messages that we have an interest in and the peripheral route for messages that we don’t particularly have an interest in. o Application: For messages that you’re interested in, you’ll have a high need for cognition and therefore use the central route of processing. For messages that you’re not interested in, you’ll use “cues” like reciprocation, consistency, social proof, liking, and authority in order to act peripherally. • Cognitive Dissonance Theory o Comm Phenomenon: People experience conflict between two beliefs or an action and a belief and strive to connect these two together to make them consistent. o Explanation: Cognitive Dissonance Theory uses minimal justification (giving a person just enough motivation) and compliance to shift attitudes (having someone do something without believing it). o Application: Giving a speech about a topic that you do not believe in will lead you to want to defend that point of view. • Structuration Theory: (not in book) • Critical Theory of Communication in Organizations: o Comm Phenomenon: The way in which communication practices in organizations undermine fully representative decision-making. (Corporate colonization) o Explanation: Managers use communication that flows down, strategically controls, and seeks consent of its subordinates. o Application: As a supervisor, you should seek to use communication that promotes individual benefits and also seek technical advice from those who have experience. • Agenda Setting o Comm Phenomenon: The media agenda sets the public agenda o Explanation: The media does not change attitudes, but rather priorities. It tells people what to think about, but not what to think. o Application: Look at what the media presents as important and it will be noticeable among the community that they see those same issues as important. • Media Ecology o Comm Phenomenon: The medium of technology used is what affects us, not the content of the message. o Explanation: Media ecology uses technological determinism to describe how the technology controls our lives. o Application: With the introduction of new technology, we listen to and watch different things because new media outlets are available to us. • Issue ownership o The ability to set the voters’ agenda to issues that your specific party is identified with. This allows your party to win elections. • Framing o Comm Phenomenon: Certain aspects of a story are being made more salient than others and this shaped people’s opinions and decisions. o Explanation: Framing uses four key elements to frame. 1. Describes the nature of the problem 2. Explains who’s responsible for the problem 3. Suggests solutions for the problem 4. Offers a moral perspective of the problem o Application: The war frames and crime frames that were used following 9/11. In both frames, support for the war and continued support with ground troops for the war were granted, but the crime frame did not allow continued support if civilians were caught in the mix. • Cultural Studies (Hall) o Comm Phenomenon: How media content promotes consent for the dominant ideologies. o Explanation: The way in which we view what makes someone successful influences how we use ideology, that is, the framework through which we interpret, understand, and make sense of social life. o Application: Private industries that wish to keep the status quo going do this by using mass media to promote support for their ideologies that will keep them benefitting. § Not a conspiracy. • Genderlect Styles o Comm Phenomenon: Communication between genders is intercultural communication. o Explanation: Women communicate to foster relationships, whereas men communicate to increase their status. This causes differences in gender communication and can lead to problems. o Application: In order to communicate competently, a man would have to put aside-achieving status when talking to a woman; a women would have to work to gain status when talking to a man. • Standpoint Theory o Comm Phenomenon: The social world is more effectively viewed from the perspective of the expressed. o Explanation: Those who have less power know more about those who have all the power than those with all the power know about those with no power. o Application: Take the view of someone who is in a subordinate position and attempt to see what they see. • Muted Group Theory o Comm Phenomenon: Marginalized groups have to try and express their experience with the dominant group’s language tools. o Explanation: Marginalized groups face the power of naming and communicating through public power such as: Role (social roles), costuming, and public presentation. o Application: Using words that describe (name) your situation effectively, and presenting yourself how it would be socially acceptable. • Political Economy of Media o Comm Phenomenon: The way that a company is structured strongly affects its content. o Explanation: How a company makes its money will determine how it operates. § Advertising-based media focuses on those who can afford their products. § Public-service media focuses on the educational portion more because they don’t have to appeal to those who can afford their products. o Application: Figure out how a company makes their money and you will be able to determine the way that they operate. • Priming o Comm phenomenon: Making certain aspects of an issue or problem more salient than others so that they stick out more. o Explanation: Priming uses episodic and thematic framing to make you think about things because of instances that happened (episodic) or to think of social phenomenon as social (thematic). o Application: The media use past events such as terrorist attacks to prime us when new shootings happen in the country. This leads us to think that a terrorist could have done the shooting. • Aristotelian Rhetoric o Comm phenomenon: The speaker and speech itself are who generates the persuasion of the message. o Explanation: No matter who the audience is or when the audience is, the speaker and speech’s effectiveness will remain the same. It’s also based on the logical, ethical, and emotional proof that a speaker has. o Application: A speaker with good logical, ethical, and emotional proof will be effective toward any audience at any time. • Social Learning Theory o Comm Phenomenon: People model the behavior they see in the media based on their perceived rewards or punishments. o Explanation: If someone in the media performs in a way that gets them rewarded, people will model that behavior and vice versa for people who are seen as getting punished for negative behavior. o Application: Expose children to media that displays the kind of behavior that you wish them to portray as little humans. • Uses & Gratifications o Comm Phenomenon: Not about what media does to people, but about what people do with media. o Explanation: This theory sees the people as using media for information, managing their emotions, and for company. It also empowers the audience to use selective attention and selective perception. o Application: You use various media outlets in order to gather information and also get some incidental learning that you weren’t expecting to get. • Cultivation o Comm Phenomenon: Tries to predict and explain the long term effects of media exposure. o Explanation: Assumes that differences in attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors are based on media exposure. It also assumes that people don’t use media selectively. o Application: People who watch a lot of t.v. tend to confuse t.v. reality with real reality (cultural effect) and heavy media use doesn’t allow a diverse pool of attitudes, values, and beliefs to exist because everyone is uniform in what they believe (mainstreaming). • Structuration Theory o Comm Phenomenon: How an organization is created and recreated through action(s). o Explanation: A structure is a complex web of rules and institutions that we live in and we choose whether or not to follow those rules and institutions and therefore alter how an organization is created and recreated. o Application: Because there are rules that are expected to be followed, individuals will most likely follow the same patterns of behavior that have been exhibited in the past in order to maintain their position in the present. § Ex. An employee gets fired for speaking up about a wrongdoing in the office and you, taking notice of this, do not speak up when you observe a wrongdoing because you don’t want to get fired too. • Narrative Paradigm o The theoretical framework that views narrative as the basis of all human communication. • Narrativity o Comm Phenomenon: Assigning real events the coherence of a story o Explanation: This creates a “true story” that “seems to tell itself” even if it isn’t necessarily coherent. § Not the same as: • Annals – list of events • Chronicles – Unfinished stories (like diaries)
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