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Intro to Communication TheoryWhy people do thingsInterested in patterns/similaritiesGoals of TheoryDescribe phenomenonExplain/guide understandingPredictControlCommunication theory – The explanation or representation of communication. Not communication itself, but looking at communication and trying to explain what is going on.Set of constructs, definitions, propositionsBased on systematic observationTo represent, explain, or predict communicative action between two or more peopleWhat does Communication Theory Focus On?Source/communicator: What thoughts, motivations, self-image?Message: What content, form meaning?Receiver/interactant: What role, expectations, reaction, adaptation?Channel: What is it? What difference does it make?Meaning: Where is it? How is it created and by whom? Is it shared?Relationship: What is it? Does it matter? Do they know each other?Are they connected to each other? In what way?Theory – A broad/general explanation or representation of a phenomenonApplies to a variety of situationsHypothesis – Guided by theory; comes from a theoryTests specific relationship between specific variablesTwo Ways to Construct TheoryInduction (Think: “I” or “from myself”)Make observationsGeneralize from observationsCreate theoryDeductionExamine existing theoryDerive testable hypothesesMake observationsCommunication – Social process in which individuals employ symbols to establish and interpret meaning within their environment3 Models of Communication (Also from COMM 1)Linear modelSource (sender) says something to receiver who is sitting there listening; not involved in giving feedbackKey features: noise; carried over specific channelNoise and channel both affect communicationInteractional modelShows what is going on between two peopleFeedback: facial expressions, shared meaning, processHow much of message actually gets to receiverTransactional modelActually creating meaning at the same timeTell a friend something; get an excited look on their face; you get excited telling them; changing nature of message as creating itKey FeaturesReceiver not simply a decoder but also helping encode a message so that its happening all at the same time; interdependency/relationship between source and receiverShared meaning being negotiatedReceiver a little more activeWhat are theories based on?What theorists think is real/ is important/ should be done with knowledgeHow theorists define/ label what they focus onTwo Paradigms that Guide Theory: The BIG Picture – Levels, Paradigms, & Meta-TheoryWhat are Theories Based On?What theorists think is real, importantParadigm – world view; way of knowing (how do I know); framework for creation/ use of theory and research (what kind of framework can I create based on what I think is important?)Ex. How do we know it is not raining outside?Interpretive/ Humanistic/ Practical/ Subjective Paradigm (Unique)Reality is created in the minds of individuals: personal experience rather than agreement from others; what is important is your own personal experience rather than agreement of othersYour own subjective viewAccording to this paradigm, if a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to hear it, it doesn’t make a soundSubjecting/ idiosyncratic/ individual experienceFree will guides actions; there is no external force acting on you so it’s all in your mind (Will I be happy today or will I be sad?)Unique; uses QUALITATIVE researchSocial Scientific/ Objective/Nomothetic/ Positivistic Paradigm (Pattern)Reality/ truth exists outside of ourselves; in external worldNot all about my experienceSeparate from individuals’ interpretationsDiscover what reality is objectively and quantitatively; want consensus and agreement among people; how we determine what truth isEx. What color is this? If most people say it is a certain color, it is that color.Deterministic; cause and effect relationship; not free will; probability of something else happeningEx. If one talks to another in an irritated manner, he/she is most likely to respond in an irritated mannerReductionism: whole = sum of parts; focus on only a few parts at a time; break it upAccording to this paradigm, if a tree falls in a forest, it does make a sound but depends on what it hit/how big the tree isPatterns; uses QUANTITATIVE researchMeta-Theory Considerations that Guide TheoryMeta-theory – theorizing about theoriesOntology – nature of reality; what is real? Subjective reality vs. objective realityWhat is real? What is truth? What’s in his head or what others see?What is something about your social relationships that is real?Are you really in a friendship or relationship?Does your education really mean that you are educated?Does anyone disagree with you? What do they believe instead?Epistemology – what counts as knowledge/data; how do we know; qualitative vs. quantitativeHow do we know?Looking at specific behavior or what bodies are doingWhere is their attention?Ways that you know when someone is attracted to youWays you know when someone’s feelings are hurtEx. How do you KNOW someone is attracted to you?Axiology – what is role of values; question of values; what should we do with our knowledge; improve society vs. simply extend knowledge; not determined by ontology or epistemology; values are separateWhy are you theorizing?Is it in order to forward knowledge of reality or is it in order to bring about social change?To what degree should theories attempt to be objective vs. attempt to influence society?Ex. What is a way that you would like your values to influence others?**For purpose of midterm, be able to distinguish among these threeCommunicator Focus – Theories of Cognition and Information ProcessingAttribution TheoryTheorists: Heider, Kelley, Bem, Weiner, et al.Main IdeaWe create explanations about people and behaviors and we act in accordance with these explanations we makeThese explanations we make are based on past experiencesEx. Why is she wearing sunglasses in class? – We make assumptions about why she is wearing sunglasses based on things we already know, when in reality we have no way of knowingContextsIntrapersonal and InterpersonalApplies to multiple levels and functions (e.g. persuasion, education, etc.)Major premisesPeople attempt to determine causes of their own and others’ behaviors, especially if the behavior is negative or unusualPeople assign causes based on their own perceptions and perceptual stylePeople assign causes systematically based upon 3

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UCSB COMM 89 - Intro to Communication Theory

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