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COM 202 Week 4 Notes

by: Taylor McAvoy

COM 202 Week 4 Notes COM 202A

Taylor McAvoy
GPA 3.5

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These notes cover both lectures in Week 4 and should be helpful for answering those study questions! stay tuned for a Midterm study guide! Happy studying!
Intro to Communications II
Malcolm Parks
Class Notes
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This 7 page Class Notes was uploaded by Taylor McAvoy on Sunday April 24, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to COM 202A at University of Washington taught by Malcolm Parks in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 31 views. For similar materials see Intro to Communications II in Communication Studies at University of Washington.

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Date Created: 04/24/16
Week 4 Lecture 7 Tuesday, April 19, 2016 Clarity ambiguity, and complex messages Everything happens all at once- The types of communication we use like language, nonverbal codes, and specializations Humans are unique in their ability to communicate in so many different ways at the same time - this is called Multi-coding So how do all the pieces fit together? Four basic ways that codes can be related 1. One code can repeat or duplicate another- either code could stand alone  EX: holding up 3 fingers while saying "three"  EX: shaking your head while saying "no" 2. One code can emphasize another (make more or less intense)  EX: raising your voice while saying "this is really important"  EX: Looking angry while saying something critical about another person  Look for a nonverbal to gage the importance of a verbal code 3. One code can complement another- neither can stand alone, need both to interpret the message  EX: all the pieces of an outfit come together to form a look  EX: how the elements of a room design come together to create a certain atmosphere or aesthetic 4. One code can contradict another  EX: Saying "I'm not mad" in a still angry voice  EX: looking at watch while telling the other person that you want to hear what they have to say  EX: wearing casual, soiled clothing while speaking a professional way to a group  Messages can be undermined by clothing choices that don’t fit the context Clarity and ambiguity Is clarity always best? Equivocal- unclear, unsettled Four ways a message can become ambiguous 1. Content is contradicting or difficult to interpret  EX: when someone asks you about your relationship and you don’t quite want to answer but also don’t want to be rude -- "we're fine" "its going along" 2. Ambiguous if it is not clear that the opinion being expressed are those of the speaker  EX: same scenario "most people say we're doing well"  Shifted the source away from the speaker 3. Create uncertainty about whether your message is intended for the listener  EX: Give a verbal response but also avoid eye contact or make it unclear that the response was really directed at the person asking the question 4. Give an indirect answer or one that changes the topic  EX: "well, we're going to Becky's party on Saturday" Clarity is generally good, but are there situations where it helps to be ambiguous? Five reasons people often choose to be ambiguous 1. Politeness- you don’t want to lie but being completely honest would hurt someone's feelings and being silent would be rude so you have to say something  EX: ugly sweater gift -- "So Sweet!" "You shouldn't have" 2. Self-protection- you don’t want to lie but being completely honest would lead to criticism or punishment  EX: did you mail the bills "I've got it" 3. Maintaining privacy- an open response would violate privacy of an individual or relationship  EX: not ready to tell specifics of a relationship 4. Your feelings are still unsettled- trying to be too clear forces you to make decisions before you are ready to  EX: initial feelings about a person may be strong but very changeable over time  When you don’t know how to feel about the subject yourself 5. Managing receivers with conflicting expectations  EX: Letting different people read into a meaning how they want to  EX: politicians do this to appeal to a more diverse audience The myth of "body language" Previously we learned about 6 types of nonverbal communication Do we make sense of these the same way we make sense out of language? No- what we do with our body is not language Exception: emblems that have standard meanings that can be translated into words Four differences between language and nonverbal codes 1. Language is more standardized  Education- dictionary- slang 2. Language has inner structure  Grammar and words that nonverbal codes do not have 3. We usually exert more conscious control over words than nonverbal codes 4. Very few nonverbal expression can be simply translated into words- exception: emblems Sometimes trying to follow "body language" does not add anything new It recycles and re-packages obvious information Body language that signals deception doesn’t work and believing in it makes the person easier to lie to By focusing on a single interpretation, body language book encourage you to a. Assign meaning where the source may not have had any meaning b. Assign one specific meaning when there were many other interpretations possible This limits you as a communicator EX: the shoe fondle in the definitive book of body language Thinking about nonverbal codes like language can get you into trouble Four real keys to understanding nonverbal codes 1. Think about how they all fit together- focus on pattern- how the small things form something bigger 2. Think about how they fit within language- is it repeating? Emphasizing? 3. Recognize that nonverbal codes do not always have to "mean" something 4. Remember the context Week 4 Lecture 8 Thursday, April 21, 2016 How we see ourselves shapes how we perceive nearly every other aspect of communication 1. What self-concepts are 2. How they influence our communication 3. How our communication influences them Self-concepts- all answers you give to the question "Who am I?" Twenty statements test (TST developed by Kuhn and McPortland) Now a lot of white people think about race or ethnicity when they self-identify Common listings  Gender  Sexual orientation  Ethnicity/race  Family relationship  Friendship  Place of origin/ birthplace  Religious affiliation  Political affiliation  Negative personality traits  Positive personality traits  Height  Weight  Physical characteristics  Work relationships  Romantic relationships  Formal/informal groups  Hobbies/activities/ sports  Skills or abilities Your list shows what you think is most important, most essential about you because the first things that come to mind without much effort are often the most important a. How many of the statements are a positive judgement b. How many of the statements are a critical or negative judgement c. Did you become more judgmental as you went on The evaluative component of self-concepts is called self-esteem It's how we judge ourselves Different situations bring out different self-concepts Examples:  family vs friends  Online vs face-to-face  Same person at different times  Especially online when it is anonymous Some self-concepts are more important to us than others How self-concepts influence our communication 1. Shapes how we see others' messages a. Direct messages from others  What other communicate directly to us  Grades, awards, other kinds of behavior directed at us as feedback  Nonverbal or verbal  Markers of success or failure or standing b. Indirect, implicit messages  What we imagine others think of us based on how they act  What we infer based on how they respond to us  EX: that person that never seems to have time to talk may seem like they are avoiding you Our self-concepts shape how we interpret both kinds of messages Example: rate how physically attractive you are 1-10 Rated 6, imagine that someone saw a candid photo of you and say they would have rated you a 7  What do you think? Do you buy it?  What if they say they would have given you a 5  What do you think now? Do you buy it?  What about 3? Or 9? Are they just being plain mean or trying to flatter you?  It really matters what we think their intentions are and it matters who they are also We are more likely to accept the messages people give us about ourselves that are the closest to our self-concepts if we accept differences at all Two processes 1. Assimilation effect- ignoring small differences between message and our self-concept  When the differences are so small that we tend to blur them together with our perceptions- still a narrow plane where we will do this 2. Contrast effect- treating larger differences as if they are even bigger than they actually are  We do this most of the time  When we think a message challenges how we see ourselves we interpret it in ways that discount and ultimately reject the message  By challenging source's motives  By challenging source's expertise  By saying the circumstances are unusual  By simply ignoring or forgetting We are biased: we tend to interpret messages so as to maintain existing self-concepts Reinforcement principle at work How self-concepts influence communication 2. Influences which messages we pay the most attention to Self-concepts and social comparison Social comparison- using comparisons to others as a way to set standards, to judge oneself We compare ourselves to  People we see in person Online networks   Real and fictional people in media Example- Facebook for social comparison Social comparison is easy on most social network sites with ever changing updates about others' lives constantly There is so much information that we have to be selective Upward comparison: look more often at people who appear to be doing better than you Downward comparison: look more often at people who appear to be doing worse than you Neutral: little social comparison Research says the more time spent on Facebook is linked to more upward comparison and less downward comparison So how does frequent upward comparison effect self-esteem? Research says the more likely you will feel inferior to others an there is a risk factor for depression How does frequent downward comparison effect self-esteem? Research says there is a temporary increase in self-esteem but long term downward comparison makes you feel defensive/ less secure and there is also a risk factor for depression Research also shows that being in a bad mood leads to more downward comparisons but most comparisons are upward regardless of mood and the negative effects are the greatest for heavy users who use Facebook for social comparison frequently Comparison is complicated  By others' tendency to present themselves in positive ways  Images of others are often highly manipulated in the media Comparison is further complicated by differences in cultural representation in the media  What if you rarely see people who you identify with in the media In the 1970s George Gerbner looked at how minority groups were represented on TV and coined the term "Symbolic Annihilation"  Minorities and women were and to an extent, still are greatly under-represented in the media Feminist theorist Gaye Tuchman identified three types of symbolic annihilation 1. Omission- don't see your group represented at all 2. Trivialization- the group is there but represented as unimportant - stereotypes 3. Condemnation- the group is there but represented as bad or evil How self-concepts influence communication 3. Influence who we associate with, choose as friends, get close to In general, we prefer to associate with people who are like us a. A form of selective exposure- seeking contact with people who are similar to us b. We prefer those with similar age, ethnicity, economic position, political beliefs, tastes, interests, etc. This is true across cultures- group members stick together Reinforcement principle- we prefer to associate with people who will accept us- that is who will reinforce our self-concepts We generally select other and interpret messages to reinforce our existing views Doesn’t matter if your self-image is positive or negative This explains why self-concepts are so hard to change How do self-concepts change? 1. Small increments (small steps, takes time) 2. Large number of messages (same message frequently) 3. Variety of sources- especially those who support new self-image (changing self-concept may mean change in social networks) 4. Conscious effort to override our own defenses by seeking unbiased assessments and focusing on counter examples


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