Chapter 1 - Interpersonal Communication

3. Sep 2015

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Chapter 1 - Interpersonal Communication

  1. Interpersonal communication FALL 2015
  2. Agenda  Introductions  Syllabus  What is Interpersonal Communication?  Why do we communicate?  Discussing needs and stigma  Communication models  Six characteristics of communication  Communication 5 myths
  3. Introduce Yourself!  Find a partner (someone you don’t already know).  Introduce yourself (Name, major, where you are from…etc.)  See if you can find three things in common with your partner.  Be prepared to introduce your partner to the class.
  4. Your Professor - Ms. Orzolek (Professor O)  General Education course credits completed at Luzerne County Community College  Undergraduate degree in Communication Studies, Interpersonal Communication from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania  Graduate degree in Student Affairs and Academic Leadership from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania  Communication Studies researcher, presented at the Eastern Communication Association Conference
  5. Other stuff about me…  I love to travel! (England, France, Spain, Canada, Mexico, etc.)  Photographer  I am from Bloomsburg, PA  I get very passionate about Communication Studies (and therefore) Interpersonal Communication.  I am a firm believer that education can change your life.
  6. Let’s take a look at our syllabus!
  7. Syllabus  Please ask any questions you have now regarding our course syllabus  If at any time you have a question please feel free to email me at:
  8. Let’s get started…  The necessity of human communication…  What would you be willing to do to win a million dollars?  What if researchers wanted you to volunteer to live for 3 months alone in a cave with no clock, no calendar, no sunlight, no conversation to mark the passage of days; wired to electrodes and asked to perform dreary mental and visual tests?  Think of the last time you were COMPLETELY alone. Picture yourself as clear as you can. What did you look like? What were you doing? What as going through your mind? Now imagine another person entering the room suddenly. Reaction? Differences?
  9. Veronique La Guen’s Story  “When you find yourself alone, isolated in a world totally without time, face-to-face with yourself, all the masks that you hide behind—those to preserve your own illusions, those that project them before others—finally fall, sometimes brutally…Whether because of confinement, solitude, or both my mental process and manual dexterity deteriorated gravely and inexorably toward the end of my stay …I suffer psychological wound the I do not understand.”  --Michel Siffre’s diary of 6-month Midnight Cave, TX 1972
  10. What is Interpersonal Communication?  Interpersonal communication is the process by which people exchange information, feelings, and meaning through verbal and non-verbal messages: it is face-to-face communication.  Intrapersonal communication is a communicator's internal use of language or thought.
  11. Question time…  Do intrapersonal communication and interpersonal communication overlap at all?
  12. Yes!  You are “talking to yourself” when you are talking to someone else.  **HINT: This question may reappear elsewhere…
  13. Communication Myth  We have been communication since we were born.  However, not all individuals are good communicators.  "Having experience in something is not the same as having expertise in it."
  14. Chapter 1: About Communication  Did you know? Positive communication improves our lives. We are happier. Health improves. We live longer.
  15. Intervention Example  If you cannot communicate properly it is difficult to change lives.  The difference between a good/meaningful relationship and a bad/detrimental one?  Communication!
  16. Why do we need to communicate?  Answer: To meet certain needs.  Needs:  1. Physical Needs  2. Relational Needs  3. Identity Needs  4. Spiritual Needs  5. Instrumental Needs
  17. Need 1: Physical  "I was just surprised to know the advantages we have with communication and the great depression in which we can find ourselves if we are denied communication. If our mental and physical health can suffer without communication it is the fact that we are by nature inherently social beings."
  18. Food for thought...  Humans are social beings.  When denied human interaction we suffer.  Solitary confinement example.  How long could you last?  Few hours, days, weeks, months, years?
  19. Isolation Experiment  Experiment occurred in the 13th Century.  German emperor Frederick II wanted to know what language humans would speak naturally if they weren't taught any particular language.  50 newborns were placed in the care of nurses who were instructed to only feed and bathe the children.  Nurses were not to speak around the newborns.  Answer was never found because all 50 infants died.
  20. Research shows that...  People without strong social ties are more likely to suffer from major ailments, including heart disease and high blood pressure, and to die prematurely than people who have close, satisfying relationships.  Loneliness = Sleep disturbances and stress.  BONUS:  Where/what type of area do most suicides occur in the U.S.?
  21. Answer: Rural Areas  A rural area is an open swath of land that has few homes or other buildings, and not very many people. A rural areas population density is very low.
  22. Why don't some people interact with others?  They have been stigmatized.  Definition of stigma: A characteristic that discredits a person, making him or her be seen as abnormal or undesirable.  Not attribute itself but how that attribute is viewed by others within society.
  23. Examples of a stigma?  What are attributes that might cause someone to be stigmatized?  Being HIV positive.  Having a mental illness. They must have shared needles ... They must be violent ...
  24. Need 2: Relational  Companionship  Affection  Relaxation  Escape
  25. Exercise  Generate a list of 3-4 friends/relationships (try to pick from a variety of circles)  List 3 - 4 things you value about each one of those relationships/people
  26. What did you list?  We turn to a variety of people to need our meets.  No person, not even a spouse can fulfill our every need.
  27. Friendships Online  Have you 'met someone online' that you consider a legitimate friend?  In what ways has the internet helped you form relationships?  If what ways, if any, has it hurt your ability to relate to others?
  28. Need 3: Identity  "The ways we communicate with others - and the ways others communicate with us - play a large role in shaping how we see ourselves."  People form identities by comparing themselves with others
  29. Example...  You see yourself as intelligent - You see yourself as smarter than other people  You see yourself as shy - You see others as more outgoing than you are  You see yourself as attractive - You see yourself as better looking than most people
  30. Example continued...  If people treat you as intelligent, shy, or attractive, you may begin to believe you have those characteristics.  Good communicators can...  Emphasize different aspects at different times  Develop their identity over the course of their life Example: During a job interview showing that you are organized; showing that you are fun- loving while hanging out with your friends
  31. Need 4: Spirtuality  Spirituality involves people's beliefs about the meaning of life, which often include personal philosophies, an awe of nature, a belief in a higher purpose, and religious faith and practices.  Question: Can you be spiritual and not religious?  Communication provides a means of expressing and sharing spiritual ideas and practices
  32. Need 5: Instrumental  Instrumental needs are practical everyday needs.  May be used to complete a short-term task (such as ordering a drink at a restaurant, scheduling a haircut appointment, or raising your hand to speak in class)  Also includes long-term goals (such as getting a job and earning a promotion)
  33. Review...  Physical Needs: Helps us maintain physical and mental well- being  Relational Needs: Helps us form social and personal relationships  Identity Needs: Helps us decide who we are and who we want to be  Spiritual Needs: Lets us share our beliefs and values with others  Instrumental Needs: Helps us accomplish many day-to-day tasks
  34. What is a model?  A model is a formal description of a process.  There are three models that Communication scholars have developed over the years ...  1. The Action Model  2. The Interaction  3. Transaction Model
  35. Communication as an Action - Linear  Source: The originator of a thought or idea  Encode: To put an idea into language or gesture  Message: Verbal and nonverbal elements of communication in which people give meaning  Channel: A pathway through which messages are conveyed  Decode: To interpret or give meaning to a message  Receiver: The party who interprets the message  Noise: Anything that interferes with the encoding or decoding of a message  What are some examples of 'noise' as found within the Action Model?
  36. Communication as Interaction  Has all the same elements as the Action Model but recognizes the communication is a two way process.  Also, it adds the two elements of feedback and context.  Thank physics! Every action has a reaction!
  37. What is feedback?  Feedback is various verbal and nonverbal responses to your message (an example might be nodding).  Can you think of anymore examples?
  38. What is context?  Context is synonymous with environment.  (Includes both the physical and the physiological)  Examples of physical...  Where you are physically interacting with one another  Examples of physiological...  How formal is the setting?  How much privacy do you have?  How emotionally charged is the situation?
  39. Transactional Model of Communication  Doesn't distinguish between roles of source and receiver  States that both people are simultaneously sources and receivers
  40. Transactional Model - The Complex Model  Doesn't just account for physical and psychological environment but account for...  Gender  Culture  Experience  Social class  History of relationship
  41. Six Characteristics of Communication 1. Communication relies on multiple channels 2. Communication passes through perceptual filters 3. People give communication meaning 4. Communication has literal meanings and relational implications 5. Communication sends a message whether intentional or unintentional 6. Communication is governed by rules
  42. Multiple Channels  What are different ways people communicate with one another?  Channel-rich contexts vs. Channel-lean contexts  Channel-rich contexts involve many different communication channels at once  Channel-lean contexts have a smaller amount of channels Would text messaging be considered a channel-rich or a channel-lean context?
  43. In a nutshell...  Channel-rich context: A communication context involving many channels at once.  Channel-lean context: A communication context involving few channels at once.  Think about quality of interaction.
  44. Communication Passes Through Perceptual Filters  What one person says isn't always what the other person hears.  We all "filter" incoming communication through our perceptions, experiences, biases, beliefs, etc.  Episode of Friends example, "We were on a break!" 
  45. Perception - Rose Colored Glasses
  46. People Give Communication it's Meaning  We chose are words deliberately. By itself a word has no is just sound.  People assign meaning.  A world is a symbol, or a representation of an idea, but the word itself isn't the idea or the meaning.  Language is arbitrary … meaning words can mean whatever groups of people want them to mean.  Mouse 40 years ago vs. Mouse now  Bus & Baby example  Military base example
  47. Exercise  What do you think of when you hear the word 'flat'?  What do you think of when you hear the word 'cell'?
  48. Communication has Literal Meanings and Relational Implications  Content dimension vs. Relational dimension  Content dimension: Literal information that is communicated by a message  Relational dimension: Signals about the relationship in which a message is being communicated  "We are out of laundry detergent." <--- Content or relational?  "I am feeling down today." <--- Content or relational?
  49. "I am feeling down today."  You may also be sending the message...  "I feel comfortable enough with you to share my feelings."  "I want you to help me feel better."
  50. What is metacommunication?  Metacommunication is communication about communication.  Example...explaining your feelings to someone.  500 Days of Summer example:
  51. Communication Sends Messages Whether Intentional or Intentional  Scheduling a meeting vs. Falling asleep in a meeting  Some Communication scholars argue, "You cannot not communicate."  Do you agree or disagree?
  52. Communication is Governed by Rules  Rules tell us what behaviors are required, preferred, or prohibited in various social contexts.  Explicit rules: Someone has clearly articulated them.  Example: Professor saying that you cannot talk to other classmates during lecture.  Implicit rules: Rules that almost everyone in a certain social group knows and follows, even though no one has formally articulated and expressed them.  Example: Waiting room at the dentist. (Where do you sit?)  Additional example: Bathroom stalls/urinals
  53. Communication 5 Myths  1. Everyone is an expert in communication  2. Communication will solve every problem  3. Communication can break down  4. Communication is inherently good  5. More communication is always better
  54. Myth 1: Everyone is an Expert in Communication  Having experience with something is not expertise in it.  Many people drive but that does not make them a professional driver.  Many people are parents but that does not making them an expert in parenting.
  55. Myth 2: Communication Will Solve Any Problem  Poor communication isn't the cause for every problem.  Tom says, "I think we can fix our relationship if we improve our communication."  Summer says, "My feelings have changed. I have moved on."  In this scenario it is highly unlikely communication will keep this couple together, however it may cause Tom to realize their relationship is already over.
  56. Myth 3: Communication Can Break Down  Communication isn't mechanical. It doesn't 'break down'.  It is possible that two individuals no longer communicate effectively.  In a nutshell...the problem does not lie in the communication itself but how it is used.
  57. Myth 4: Communication is Inherently Good  "Sure we talk all the time, but we don't really communicate anymore."  Essentially talking = producing words  Essentially communicating = creating shared meaning  Communication, just like money, can be used in a variety of ways.  Communication can be used to deceive people or intimidate them.
  58. Myth 5: More Communication is Always Better  In some cases increasing communication can just lead to more frustrating and anger.  Effectiveness is better than amount.  This is why learning to be a competent communicator is so important.  Study 2007: The more doctors talked the more likely they were to get off track and forget their patients' problems.
  59. Definition of Mass Communication & Small Group Communication  Mass communication: Communication from one source to a large audience.  Last Week Tonight - John Oliver example  Small group communication: Communication occurring within small groups of three or more people who wish to accomplish a goal.  Note: Most research on interpersonal communication focuses on interaction within a dyad (a pair of people = two people)
  60. Interpersonal Communication Evolves Within Relationships  Social Penetration Theory  “The idea that relationships become more intimate over time when partners disclose more and more information about themselves.”
  61. Stages
  62. Fun Fact!  Married people are in better health than unmarried people but researchers don't agree why.  Some think that married people are healthier because they have more resources at their disposal.  Other say married people are less likely to engage in risky behaviors.
  63. Communication Competence  Communicating in ways that are effective and appropriate for a given situation.  What we will be learning in this class!
  64. Communicating Effectively & Appropriately  Effectiveness: Describes how well your communication achieves its goals.  Appropriately: Attending to the rules and expectations that apply in a social situation.
  65. Characteristics of Competent Communicators  Self-awareness (self-monitoring)  Awareness of one's behavior and how it affects others  Do you know anyone who talks really loudly but doesn't know it?  Do you pay attention to what you wear, how you sound, and act?
  66. More Characteristics  Adaptability  Empathy: The ability to think and feel as others do.  **Not to be confused with sympathy which is simply feeling sorry for another person.  An empathic person can see multiple perspectives within a situation.
  67. Let's Discuss  Research shows that in most circumstances women are more accurate than men at empathizing.  Is empathizing a learned trait?  If so, how and why did women learn to be more empathetic?  Is this related to social/cultural norms?
  68. Cognitive Complexity - What is it?  Cognitive complexity: The ability to consider a variety of explanations and to understand a given situation in multiple ways.  It keeps you from jumping to the wrong conclusion and responding inappropriately.  Fiance ring example
  69. Ethics  Finally, competent communicators are ethical communicators.  Ethics: A code of morality or a set of ideas about what is right.  What might be morally justified in one culture may not be in another.
  70. Review: Five Characteristics of Competent Communicators  1. Self-Awareness: Awareness of how your behavior is affecting others  2. Adaptability: Ability to modify your behaviors as the situation demands  3. Empathy: Skill at identifying and feeling what others around you are feeling  4. Cognitive Complexity: Ability to understand a situation in multiple ways  5. Ethics: Guidelines in judging whether something is morally right or morally wrong
  71. Reminder!  Begin working on Reflection Paper #1.  Do not forget to complete Quiz #1 and turn in it next class.  No class Labor Day.