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Lecture 2

Fall 2012 CMNS 110 Reading Notes Week 2.doc

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CMNS 110
Gary Mc Carron

CMNS 110 Reading Notes Conceptual Foundations: What is Communication? (K. Miller) Central concerns in our lives are connected to the ubiquitous concept of communication Open communication as key to good relationship Internet and WWW as part of global communication revolution Communication industry as instiller of negative values in kids Effective communication with employees and customers as key to being productive organization History of Communication study and theory Communication has been studied for several thousand years o Sophists in 5 century BC o Plato and Aristotle o Middle Ages o Renaissance o Enlightenment period o 20 century: establishment of communications as academic discipline discipline of communication has diverse roots th o study of rhetoric and public communication in 20 century creation of speech departments o study of mass communication in sociology and political science o social and industrial psychology Defining Communication There is no single correct definition o Definitions should be evaluated in terms of their utility instead of their correctness Definitions are abundant and changed substantially over time o Over 126 definitions proposed in literature (Dance and Larson, 1976) Definitions are diverse o Abstract o Specific o Situation and context specific o Narrow specification Points of convergence o Points of discussion widely accepted as appropriate definitions of communication (truisms) Conceptualizing Communication: Points of Convergence 1. Communication is a process Characteristics: Continuous, complex, unfolds over time o Complexity: Even simple interactions are influenced in complex ways by the past and will influence the future Linear model of communication o Communication moves from source to receiver Source-message-channel-receive (SMCR) model Straightforward activity through a singular conduit Laswells classic model (1964) Linear questions Who? Says what? To whom? Through what channel? With what effect? Hypodermic needle/magic bullet model Considers communication to be simply action Injecting/shooting message into the receiver Does not consider feedback or reaction of audience o Not widely accepted anymore (even when feedback loop from receiver is incorporated) Interactive model o Considers the importance o feedback from the receiver o Still relatively simplistic in its isolation of a source and receiver o Consider influence between source and receiver to be limited 2. Communication is transactional Transactional model o Recognizes inherent complexity of communication o Person is simultaneously acting as source and receiver Giving feedback, talking, responding, acting and reacting at the same time Constant participation in and influence on communication process o Context is significant in the communication process 3. Communication is symbolic sign consists of 2 parts: signifier and signified sign is the relationship between the parts not a perfect one-to-one correspondence, often arbitrary The difference between a sign and a symbol o Langer: sign signals the presence of something else, natural match between signifier and signified E.g. smoke as a sign for fire o Symbol have arbitrary relationship to what is symbolized, no inherent meaning Relationship between symbol and referent Semantic triangle (Odgen and Richards, 1946) o dotted line stands for arbitrary relationship wide range of physical objects represented wide range of emotions and concepts attached
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