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COMM 6010 Week 3 Theory Application

by: Mariah Tucker

COMM 6010 Week 3 Theory Application COMM 6010-01

Marketplace > Southern Utah University > Communication > COMM 6010-01 > COMM 6010 Week 3 Theory Application
Mariah Tucker
GPA 3.7

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About this Document

These notes cover what we discussed in class about semiotics, syntax, and the way that language is used as a symbol.
Communication Theory
Dr. Jon Smith
Class Notes
Semiotics, syntax, Language, Theory, Plato, communication
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This 7 page Class Notes was uploaded by Mariah Tucker on Monday September 19, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to COMM 6010-01 at Southern Utah University taught by Dr. Jon Smith in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 5 views. For similar materials see Communication Theory in Communication at Southern Utah University.


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Date Created: 09/19/16
Communication Theory Professor Dr. Jon Smith Theory Applications Jon talked about our assignment to find practical applications of a theory in popular culture that is due by the end of the semester. In relation to that, he discussed the way that comedy occurs. Comedy essentially only occurs when something happens that isn’t supposed to happen. People are often humored by the reactions that people have when that unexpected event occurs, so therefore comedy happens. Think about the shows you watch, especially the funny shows. If you pay attention to why something is funny, it is usually because a character says and does something that isn’t supposed to happen. The diagram below is explained on the next page. f Message Channel Feedback loop In communication there is essentially a model of how messages are supposed to be related between the sender and the receiver. The basic channel starts with a sender sending a message directly to the receiver. That would essentially be a one sided message that wouldn’t be returned to the sender. If it is returned to the receiver, it goes to the feedback loop and can be transferred back and forth. There is an outer boundary in a conversation so to speak, and that boundary is filled with excess noise. That noise can make messages a little confusing, and can affect the way that messages are received. Dr. Smith illustrated this by having the class crumple up pieces of paper and tossing them to one another. At first the tossing was simple, because one person (sender) would toss the paper ball, and the other person (receiver) would catch the paper. The paper was caught by each student with no difficulty. Then we added another paper, so both the sender and receiver were throwing paper balls. It was a little more complex, but generally the message or the paper balls were received by the sender and receiver. Then we threw two balls each, and more often than not at least one of the balls was dropped in the process. We ended this object lesson by everyone throwing their papers to any location in the classroom, and very few if any of the actual paper balls were caught by the participants. Jon picked up a chair and pretended to prepare to throw it to show that some messages have more weight than others. The lesson was to show us how sometimes sending a simple message between another person is often more complicated than we realize, because of all of the excess noise surrounding an average conversation. People have different stresses, obligations, and other things that they have to worry about in their lives, on top of what is going on in the conversation. It isn’t always as crazy as when everyone was throwing their paper balls, but it isn’t usually just the sender sending a message to the receiver and being done with the conversation. Transactional communication is messages are sent simultaneously. That would be essentially people sharing information back and forth, and giving information not only verbally, but non-verbally as well. People share messages with their body language, and how they choose to dress, and all of those different messages would fall under the transactional category. People are constantly communicating, so understanding the different types of messages is important. Actional messages are defined as a single message shared one way. Human communication is a mess, because of all of the different messages happening simultaneously. Despite the fact that human communication is so messy, there are individuals and companies that work to understand different patterns in human communication for the benefit of themselves or their company. People track the way that communication succeeds and fails, so they can more accurately use communication skills to their advantage. Marketing companies track communication all the time, so their clients will actually benefit from their campaign. Cybernetic communication follows a pattern similar to the way that psychologists depict a cycle of abuse. It follows the pattern of the communication patterns having different stages between calm and frenzied more or less. Sometimes the messages will be received differently based on the stage they are in. Sociopsychological communication works a bit differently. It focuses on the way that society can affect the way a person views something or interacts with something. It focuses on different social groups and societal norms. Jon used the way that certain trends spread through society like Pokemon Go and the Ice Bucket Challenge. Nobody forced the large amount of individuals to participate in those activities, but the influence of their peers encouraged them to participate in the activities. We also discussed the way that sociopsychological communication has an effect on things like the amount of danger people perceive in a given situation. We used the example of kidnapping as the way that society has influenced the way that parents protect their children. We discussed the way that our parents were comfortable allowing their children to walk home from school a generation or so ago, but most parents agree that it is dangerous to do that with children today, because they believe it to be so risky. One of the students actually said that kidnapping has actually gone down, and it is actually safer for children today than it was 15 or 20 years ago. Despite the fact that it is technically safer, people are still afraid, because of what they have heard. Sociopsychological communication reflects the concept of nature vs. nurture. People believe what they are told, so it would fall into the nurture argument. People take the views and opinions of others when they rely on sociopsychological communication, whereas in phenomenological communication people learn something through direct experience. People can learn things without direct experience, but the direct experience is beneficial in helping someone understand something on a deeper level. Phenomenological is great, but if you are using it for a study, be careful about how far you go. Jon gave an example of a professor that wanted to do research on the effects of pornography, and ended up getting fired from the university he worked at, because he was looking up pornography for his research. We briefly discussed understanding the mentality of a serial killer, and for true phenomenological understanding one would have to actually go on a serial killing spree. Research is not an excuse to keep you out of jail, so just be advised with some research topics phenomenological research may not actually help your case, because of the risks it presents. Semiotics is the study of signs and symbols. In Plato’s allegory of the cave the people that never leave the cave see the reflections on the wall as signs, because for them it is actual reality, but for the individual who was able to leave the cave they are symbols, because they have seen what they represent, and isn’t the full reality of the tree or the rabbit depicted by shadows on the wall. We discussed the way that we are all essentially in a cave, because we base our reality on what we have been taught. We all know about the wars in the Middle East, but none of the individuals in class had actually been part of any of the war, so our reality about the war comes from what someone else tells us about it. Jon compared the way that society influences our conception of reality to The Truman Show. If you haven’t ever seen The Truman Show, it is basically a film telling the story of this man that has grown up literally on screen. The film company legally adopted him, so they created his reality. Everyone was an actor reading a script for the show except for Truman himself. Truman didn’t know about it, so for him it was an accurate reality. Eventually he notices that his whole world literally revolves around him, and tries to figure out why. His reality was real up until he found a more accurate truth about his life. The society he was living in told him that he was living in full reality, even though they knew that it wasn’t actual reality. We all essentially live in a cave so to speak, because of all of the different influences in our lives. Some people are part of an organized group or party, and the views of that group have an effect on the way people perceive their world. For example in class we discussed the influence of the LDS church on people living in Utah. Not everyone in Utah belongs to that church, but there are a lot of ways that people are influenced by it. People may choose their words more carefully or the way they dress, and sometimes people who are part of that religion assume that everyone else is part of that religion, and will ask them things that they probably wouldn’t know if they weren’t in that religion. The semantic triangle explains how signs and symbols are used in society to explain something like a cat. You can write the word cat, or draw a picture of the cat, or have the actual thing. It just depends on what you are trying to do. If you are merely trying to describe it, the symbols of the word and picture will do, but if you want to show people what it actually is, you will need to have the actual thing. Again don’t judge the example. Actual Cat Cat Symbols are used to communicate language. Just like the example of a cat, the word used to describe something stands as a symbol for what the actual object is. Pictures and words are both symbolic, because they aren’t the actual thing. Jon illustrated the way that language isn’t an absolute sign with the story of the king that wanted to learn the language of God. There was a king that believed that babies knew the language of God, and lost that language because they had contact with the mortal language. He decided to do an experiment where the babies’ needs were taken care of, but they weren’t spoken to, and they had no physical contact. The king believed that by doing that they would grow up and speak the language of the Gods. As the story goes the babies died, because they weren’t loved so to speak. I don’t think it’s real, but Jon used it to illustrate the fact that language is arbitrary. If it wasn’t arbitrary, there wouldn’t be multiple words in different languages to describe the same object. A dog would be known as a dog universally instead of perro or chien. Syntax is the proper way that words are meant to be constructed in a sentence and that varies from language to language. Language is a useful tool in communication, but there is no absolute language that is the best for explaining something.


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