Sunday, March 30, 2008

Maslow and the Hierarchy of Needs

One of the many interesting things Maslow noticed while he worked with monkeys early in his career, was that some needs take precedence over others. For example, if you are hungry and thirsty, you will tend to try to take care of the thirst first. After all, you can do without food for weeks, but you can only do without water for a couple of days! Thirst is a “stronger” need than hunger. Likewise, if you are very very thirsty, but someone has put a choke hold on you and you can’t breath, which is more important? The need to breathe, of course. On the other hand, sex is less powerful than any of these. Let’s face it, you won’t die if you don’t get it!
Maslow took this idea and created his now famous hierarchy of needs. Beyond the details of air, water, food, and sex, he laid out five broader layers: the physiological needs, the needs for safety and security, the needs for love and belonging, the needs for esteem, and the need to actualize the self, in that order.
1. The physiological needs. These include the needs we have for oxygen, water, protein, salt, sugar, calcium, and other minerals and vitamins. They also include the need to maintain a pH balance (getting too acidic or base will kill you) and temperature (98.6 or near to it). Also, there’s the needs to be active, to rest, to sleep, to get rid of wastes (CO2, sweat, urine, and feces), to avoid pain, and to have sex. Quite a collection!
Maslow believed, and research supports him, that these are in fact individual needs, and that a lack of, say, vitamin C, will lead to a very specific hunger for things which have in the past provided that vitamin C -- e.g. orange juice. I guess the cravings that some pregnant women have, and the way in which babies eat the most foul tasting baby food, support the idea anecdotally.

2. The safety and security needs. When the physiological needs are largely taken care of, this second layer of needs comes into play. You will become increasingly interested in finding safe circumstances, stability, protection. You might develop a need for structure, for order, some limits.
Looking at it negatively, you become concerned, not with needs like hunger and thirst, but with your fears and anxieties. In the ordinary American adult, this set of needs manifest themselves in the form of our urges to have a home in a safe neighborhood, a little job security and a nest egg, a good retirement plan and a bit of insurance, and so on.
3. The love and belonging needs. When physiological needs and safety needs are, by and large, taken care of, a third layer starts to show up. You begin to feel the need for friends, a sweetheart, children, affectionate relationships in general, even a sense of community. Looked at negatively, you become increasing susceptible to loneliness and social anxieties.
In our day-to-day life, we exhibit these needs in our desires to marry, have a family, be a part of a community, a member of a church, a brother in the fraternity, a part of a gang or a bowling club. It is also a part of what we look for in a career.
4. The esteem needs. Next, we begin to look for a little self-esteem. Maslow noted two versions of esteem needs, a lower one and a higher one. The lower one is the need for the respect of others, the need for status, fame, glory, recognition, attention, reputation, appreciation, dignity, even dominance. The higher form involves the need for self-respect, including such feelings as confidence, competence, achievement, mastery, independence, and freedom. Note that this is the “higher” form because, unlike the respect of others, once you have self-respect, it’s a lot harder to lose!
The negative version of these needs is low self-esteem and inferiority complexes. Maslow felt that Adler was really onto something when he proposed that these were at the roots of many, if not most, of our psychological problems. In modern countries, most of us have what we need in regard to our physiological and safety needs. We, more often than not, have quite a bit of love and belonging, too. It’s a little respect that often seems so very hard to get!
All of the preceding four levels he calls deficit needs, or D-needs. If you don’t have enough of something -- i.e. you have a deficit -- you feel the need. But if you get all you need, you feel nothing at all! In other words, they cease to be motivating. As the old blues song goes, “you don’t miss your water till your well runs dry!”

The last level is a bit different. Maslow has used a variety of terms to refer to this level: He has called it growth motivation (in contrast to deficit motivation), being needs (or B-needs, in contrast to D-needs), and self-actualization.
These are needs that do not involve balance or homeostasis. Once engaged, they continue to be felt. In fact, they are likely to become stronger as we “feed” them! They involve the continuous desire to fulfill potentials, to “be all that you can be.” They are a matter of becoming the most complete, the fullest, “you” -- hence the term, self-actualization.

Chapter 5: Engaging in Nonverbal Communication

Chapter 5
Engaging in Nonverbal Communication

I. Definition: Nonverbal communication is all aspects of communication other than words themselves.
A. Nonverbal communication includes gestures, body language, voice inflection and volume, environment, and objects.
B. Nonverbal communication is estimated to account for 65% to 93% of the total meaning of communication.

II. There are 5 principles of nonverbal communication.
A. Nonverbal communication can be ambiguous.
1. Meanings vary over time.
2. Meanings vary according to context.
3. Nonverbal communication is guided by rules
a. Constitutive rules tell us what counts.
b. Regulative rules tells us what is appropriate or inappropriate.
B. Nonverbal behavior can interact with verbal communication in five ways.
1. Nonverbal behaviors may repeat verbal messages.
2. Nonverbal behaviors may highlight aspects of verbal messages.
3. Nonverbal behavior may complement or add to words.
4. Nonverbal behaviors may contradict verbal communication.
5. Nonverbal behaviors can substitute for words.
C. Nonverbal behavior can regulate interaction.
D. Nonverbal behavior can be a powerful tool in establishing relationship-level meanings.
1. Nonverbal behavior can express responsiveness.
2. Nonverbal behaviors are keen indicators of how we feel about others.
3. Nonverbal behavior can be a means to exert control and negotiate status.
E. Nonverbal communication reflects cultural values.
1. We learn nonverbal behaviors in the process of being socialized into our culture.
2. Different cultures teach distinct values and nonverbal behaviors to express them.

III. There are nine types of nonverbal communication.
A. Kinesics refers to body position and body motion.
1. Body posture and gestures can communicate moods.
2. Body posture and gestures can reveal how open we are to interaction.
3. We use facial expression to signal how we feel.
4. Our eyes are particularly important in signaling complex meanings.
B. Haptics refers to physical touch, which may express power and liking.
1. Touching can reveal how we feel about others.
2. Touching communicates power and status.
C. Physical appearance is how people look and the cultural meanings attached to looks.
1. Cultures prescribe ideals for physical forms.
2. Physical appearance includes both physiological characteristics and the ways that we manage our physical appearance.
D. Artifacts are personal objects.
1. Artifacts announce our identities and personalize our environment.
2. Artifacts express gender prescriptions.
3. Artifacts express cultural and ethnic identity.
4. Artifacts announce professional identity.
5. Artifacts define our personal settings and territories.
E. Proxemics refers to personal space and how we use it.
1. Space expresses status.
2. How we arrange our space lets others know if we want interaction.
F. Environmental factors are aspects of settings that affect how we think, feel, and act.
G. Chronemics concerns how we perceive and use time to define identities and interaction.
1. Chronemics expresses cultural attitudes toward time.
2. Chronemics reflects our priorities.
3. The way that we are expected to use time is influenced by social norms.
H. Paralanguage is vocal communication but without words.
1. Paralanguage signals how others should interpret our communication.
2. Paralanguage signals how we feel.
3. Paralanguage affects how others perceive us.
4. Our use of paralanguage is influenced by gender and culture.
I. Silence is the absence of communicated sound.
1. Silence can symbolize contentment or disapproval.
2. Silence can communicate awkwardness.
3. As with other forms of communication, the meaning of silence is culturally linked.

IV. There are two guidelines that are useful for improving nonverbal communication.
A. Monitor your nonverbal communication to increase the likelihood that others will perceive you and your communication in the ways you intend.
B. Be tentative when interpreting others’ nonverbal communication.
1. Be aware that nonverbal behavior is ambiguous and varies among people.
2. Be aware that nonverbal communication is affected by the contextual factors.

Vocabulary Terms



Environmental factors




Physical appearance



Friday, March 28, 2008

Chapter 4: Engaging in Verbal Communication

Chapter 4
Engaging in Verbal Communication

I. Language consists of symbols that are used to represent people, events, and all that goes on around and in us.
A. Verbal communication refers to the spoken or written word.
B. Nonverbal communication includes symbols other words.

II. There are three critical features of language.
A. It is arbitrary.
1. The symbols employed are not intrinsically connected to the phenomena they represent.
2. New words are coined to represent new phenomena or revised perspectives on familiar phenomena.
3. Meanings are fluid; they change over time as the people who use it change.
B. It is ambiguous.
1. Meanings are not always precise nor are they fixed for all time.
2. Within a culture most words have an agreed upon range of meaning.
3. Meaning is more variable across cultures.
4. Ambiguity leads to misunderstanding.
C. It is abstract.
1. It is not concrete, nor tangible.
2. Words vary in their degree of abstractness.
3. The potential for confusion swells with increased abstractness.

III. There are three key principles of communication that help us understand how meaning is created.
A. Interpretation creates meaning.
1. Interpretation is an active, creative process used to make sense of experiences.
2. How one interprets the symbols communicated has as much to do with you as the interpreter as with what others have communicated.
B. Communication is guided by rules.
1. Rules guide when and what to communicate and how to interpret another’s communication.
2. For the most part we are not conscious of the rules that guide us.
3. Communication rules are shared understandings among members of a particular culture or social group about what communication means and what behaviors are appropriate in various situations.
4. Regulative rules regulate interaction by specifying where, when, how, and with whom to talk about various topics.
5. Constitutive rules define what a particular type of communication means or stands for.
6. Communication rules are subject to change.
C. How we punctuate communication affects the meanings we attribute to communication.
1. Punctuation marks a flow of activity into meaningful units.
2. Punctuation defines where communication episodes start and stop.
3. Punctuation is subjective, so there is no absolutely correct way to punctuate any interaction.

IV. Six symbolic abilities affect our lives profoundly.
A. Language defines phenomena.
1. The symbols we use affect how we think and feel.
2. The way we name, or label, define phenomena and shape what they mean to us.
3. A label directs our attention to certain aspects and away from others.
4. Totalizing occurs when we respond to a person as if one label totally represents what she or he is.
B. Language evaluates phenomena.
1. Language is not neutral; it is laden with values.
2. Loaded language consists of words that strongly slant perceptions.
3. The reappropriation of language attempts to remove the stigma from terms typically used to degrade a group.
C. Language organizes experiences.
1. The meanings of words vary depending upon the category into which we place the person speaking them.
2. We can use organizational language to think more broadly and conceptually about our experiences.
3. Stereotypes involve thinking in broad generalizations about a whole class of people or phenomena.
4. While we need to generalize to function effectively, stereotyping can blind us to the important and unique differences between phenomena we lump together in generalizations.
D. Language allows us to think hypothetically about experiences and ideas that are not part of our concrete reality.
1. Hypothetical thought is possible because we can symbolically represent all three dimensions of time even though we exist in the present.
2. We can think of alternatives to what exists.
E. Language allows us to reflect on ourselves.
1. We are able to think about ourselves.
2. We are able to monitor our behavior and the images we present to others.
3. The ME aspect of self is the socially aware self that reflects on the I, which is the creative, impulsive aspect of self.
4. Self reflection allows us to monitor ourselves and modify our impulses.
5. Self reflection allows us to manage the image we convey to others.
F. Language defines relationships and interaction.
1. Language is used to convey messages about how we perceive ourselves and others.
2. We use language to regulate interactions.
3. We use language to convey three dimensions of relationships-level meanings: responsiveness, liking, and power.

V. Four guidelines help us use verbal communication effectively, with clarity and accuracy.
A. The most important is being person-centered.
B. Use a level of abstraction that suits the particular communication objective and situation.
C. Use qualifying language.
1. Qualify generalizations so as to avoid making general statements absolute ones.
2. Eschew static evaluations, which are assessments that suggest something is unchangeable.
3. Adopt indexing, which suggests that our evaluations apply only to specific time and circumstances.
D. Own your own feelings and thoughts.
1. Use I -language so that you take responsibility for your thoughts and feelings whereas You -language projects your feelings onto another person.
2. I -language provides concrete descriptions of behaviors without holding the other person responsible for how we feel.

Vocabulary Terms




Communication rules

Constitutive rules

Hypothetical thought



Institutional facts

Loaded Language


Nonverbal communication



Regulative rules

Static evaluation



Verbal communication

Chapter 3: Perceiving and Understanding

I. Perception is an active, three-part, interrelated process of selecting, organizing and interpreting phenomena.
A. Selection is the process of choosing which aspects of reality to notice.
1. We notice things that stand out because they are intense, large, or unusual.
2. We can talk to ourselves to influence what we selective attend to.
3. Our needs, interests and motives also influence what we selectively perceive.
B. Organization occurs when we use cognitive schemata to arrange perceptions in meaningful ways.
1. Prototypes define the clearest, most representative examples of categories.
2. Personal constructs are bi-polar dimensions of judgment we use to assess phenomena.
3. Stereotypes are predictive generalizations about phenomena.
4. Scripts are action guides that reflect our expectations of how we, and others, will behave in specific situations.
C. Interpretation is the subjective process of creating explanations for what we observe and experience.
1. Attributions are explanations of why things happen or why people act as they do.
a. An internal or external locus attributes what a person does to causes inside or outside the person.
b. Stability explains actions as a result of factors that do not change.
c. Control attributes responsibility to factors within or beyond a person’s control.
2. Self-serving bias occurs when attributions serve the self-interests of the person constructing the attribution.
a. We are inclined to attribute success to internal and stable factors over which we have control.
b. We are inclined to attribute failures to external and unstable factors over which we have no control.

II. Perception is influenced by many factors.
A. Physiological factors shape perceptions.
1. The five senses affect perceptions.
2. Stress, illness, fatigue and biorhythms also determine perceptions.
3. Factors such as age and gender can also influence perceptions.
B. Expectations influence perceptions.
1. Perceptions may be affected by exposure to words that make something salient.
2. Positive visualization can enhance personal success by altering expectations.
3. We become more cognitively alert when expectations are violated.
C. Cognitive abilities affect how and what we perceive.
1. Cognitive complexity refers to the number of constructs used, how abstract they are, and how elaborately they interact in our efforts to interpret phenomena.
2. Person-centeredness is the ability to perceive and act toward another as a unique individual.
3. Empathy refers to the ability to feel with another person and feel what he or she feels in a situation.
D. Social roles shape our perceptions.
1. Training for a role influences interpretations.
2. The actual demands of a social role, i.e., your profession, influence your interpretations.
E. Cultural factors influence perceptions.
1. A culture consists of beliefs, values, understandings and ways of interpreting experience that a number of people share.
2. A social community is a group of people that are part of an overall society, but have unique values and practices within their group.
3. Western culture emphasizes speed while some other countries prefer a more leisurely pace.

III. Four guidelines can improve skills in perceiving.
A. Avoid mind reading.
1. Do not assume you understand what another person thinks or feels.
2. When we mind read, we impose our perceptions on the other person.
B. Check perceptions with others.
1. Compare subjective perceptions to arrive at common understandings.
2. Assume a tentative tone, instead of a dogmatic or accusatory one.
C. Distinguish facts from inferences.
1. An inference is a deduction that goes beyond what you know as fact.
2. Use tentative words to avoid mistakenly going beyond the facts.
D. Monitor the self-serving bias.
1. Monitoring is becoming aware of our own behavior in order to observe and regulate it.2. Avoid blaming others or judging them too harshly.

Vocabulary Terms


Cognitive complexity

Cognitive schemata




Expectation Violation Theory





Mind reading



Personal Constructs


Positive Visualization




Self-serving bias


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Chapter 2: The Field of Communication in Historical and Contemporary Perspectives

Chapter 2
The Field of Communication in Historical
and Contemporary Perspectives

I. The study of communication has a long history.
A. The study of communication dates back more than 2,500 years to ancient Greece.
1. Corax and Tisias were the first known communication theorists and teachers of rhetoric and persuasion.
2. The philosophers Aristotle and Isocrates believed that rhetoric was essential to civic life.
3. Aristotle wrote that persuasion occurs through the use of ethos, pathos and logos.
4. Sophists taught people how to win arguments by using gimmicks, having no concern for ethics or theory.
B. In the 19th and early 20th Century, rhetoric was taught in Europe and the United State as part of a liberal arts education.
1. Rhetoric was taught as the practical art of effective speaking.
2. During the early 1900’s, communication professionals expanded beyond public speaking as they became interested in social issues and propaganda after the two world wars.
3. The Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication and the Speech Teachers of America (now the National Communication Association) were founded in the early 1900’s.
C. Communication professionals began to use social scientific methods to research communication.
1. In the mid-twentieth century a more scientific and empirical approach to the study of communication emerged.
2. The International Communication Association was founded in response to interest in quantitative studies of communication from scholars all over the world.
3. During the 1960’s and 1970’s there was a greater emphasis on communication and patterns of personal and social relationships
4. The field continues to broaden to address a wide range of communication forms and contexts
D. Since the 1970’s communication professionals have been interested in the role of communication in social issues.
1. A critical lens has been used to understand social and political movements.
2. Scholars study who is allowed to communicate, who is not, and how this shapes cultures and societies.
E. Studying communication prepares us to effectively participation in the world in which we live.

II. The study of communication focuses on the relationship between communication and power in cultural life.
A. Many scholars critically analyzed the communicative dynamics of social movements, e.g., the civil rights and feminist movements.
B. Communication scholars explore the ways some people’s communication is allowed and other people’s communication is disallowed.
C. Scholars have expanded their interests to include examinations of how communication operates within social movements and how those movements influence cultural practices and values.

III. Knowledge of communication is based on rigorous research.
A. Communication scholars use quantitative research methods to gather information in numerical form.
1. Descriptive statistics discuss human behavior in terms of quantity.
2. Surveys are used to measure how people think, feel and act.
3. Experiments are studies where the context is controlled by the researcher.
B. Communication scholars use qualitative research methods to study how people interpret and give meaning to their experiences.
1. Researchers interpret symbolic activity through textual analysis.
2. Researchers conducting ethnographic studies immerse themselves in activities and contexts to gain insights and understanding.
3. Qualitative scholars use historical research about significant past events, people, and activities.
C. Communication scholars use critical research methods to identify and challenge communication practices that are harmful to individuals and social groups.
1. Critical scholars want to use their research to promote social awareness.
2. Some critical scholars develop new theories to help us understand how some groups and practices become dominant over others.
D. Quantitative, qualitative, and critical approaches are distinct, but not necessarily inconsistent or incompatible with each other.

IV. The modern field of communication includes ten areas of interest.
A. Intrapersonal communication is communication with ourselves (“self-talk”).
B. Interpersonal communication focuses on communication between people, and it ranges from quite impersonal to highly interpersonal.
C. Performance Studies examines how people’s social, personal and professional identities and meanings of everyday life can be understood through performance.
D. Group and team communication includes interaction in task, social, and personal groups and teams.
E. Public communication includes both public speaking and criticism of public address.
F. Organizational communication focuses on communication skills that affect work life and on organizational culture.
G. Mass communication includes newspapers, television and movies, all of which shape and sometimes distort perceptions of people, events, and issues.
H. Technologies of communication rely on electronic means of interaction. These technologies are revolutionizing how and with whom we communicate.
I. Intercultural communication concentrates on how cultures shape individuals’ ways of communicating and how, in turn, individuals’ communication reflects and sometimes changes cultural values and understandings.
J. Ethics and communication is a focus that infuses all the other areas in the field of communication.

V. Different areas in the field of communication are unified by three central themes.
A. Symbolic activities are central to communication in contexts ranging from intrapersonal to intercultural.
B. Meanings are central to all forms of communication and meanings are created with symbols.
C. Ethics focuses on moral principles and codes of conduct.

Vocabulary Terms

Critical research methods


Interpersonal communication

Intrapersonal communication

Organizational culture

Qualitative research methods

Quantitative research methods


Chapter 1: A First Look at Communication

Chapter 1
A First Look at Communication

I. Introduction
A. To the author
B. To Communication Mosaics

II. There are many important reasons for studying communication.
A. By learning about communication theories and principles you can become a more skilled communicator.
B. By learning about communication theories and principles you can become more adept at making sense of what happens in your everyday life.

III. Communication is a foundation of many spheres of life.
A. Communication is a foundation in your personal life and identity.
1. How we see ourselves reflects the views of us that are communicated by others.
2. Healthy interactive communication influences our physical and psychological well-being.
B. Communication is a foundation of the personal relationships that you develop with others.
1. We connect with others by disclosing private information and solving problems together.
2. Small talk and everyday communication weaves intimates’ lives together.
3. Communication also plays a role in destructive relationship patterns, e.g. abuse and violence.
C. Communication is a foundation of your professional success.
1. Communication skills are important for success and advancement in our professional careers.
2. Technical careers also require good communication skills.
D. Communication is a foundation of civic life and a healthy society.
1. To participate in a democratic society we need to be able to listen, speak, and deliberate with others.
2. Communication skills help us to interact with people whose background is different from our own.

IV. Communication is a systemic process in which people interact with and through symbols to create and interpret meanings.
A. Communication is a process. It is ongoing and always changing.
B. Communication is systemic. It occurs within systems of interrelated and interacting parts.
C. Communication is symbolic. Symbols are arbitrary, ambiguous, abstract representations of other things.
D. Communication involves meanings. Humans bestow significance on phenomena.
1. Content level meanings are the literal meaning of messages.
2. Relationship level meanings are what is expressed about the relationship between communicators in messages they send and receive.

V. The study of communication opens doors to a wide array of careers.
A. Research, both academic and for media companies, is a career option for communication specialists.
B. Communication education at all levels is an exciting career for people who want to help others improve their communication skills.
C. Careers in mass communication range from script writing and directing to reporting.
D. The field of training and consulting welcomes individuals with strong backgrounds in communication.
E. Human relations and management is a career that places a high priority on communication knowledge and applications.

Vocabulary Terms


Content level of meaning





Relationship Level of Meaning