Communication Accommodation TheoryFind this theory on page 183 of "Theories of HumanCommunication"
Howard Giles Communication Accommodation Theory● Professor at University of California, Santa Barbara● Works in Department of Communication, teaches Psychology andLinguistics● Former president of:○ Internal Communication Association & International Association for the Study ofLanguage and and Social Psychology● Writing and Editing includes:○ Journal of Language and Social Psychology○ Journal of Asian Pacific Communication○ Human Communication Research● Awards Include:○ Spearman Award○ Presidents Award○ Mark L. Knapp Award
"I noticed that I was a "linguistic chameleon"; myaccent changed when going to soccer games, atcollege, and coming back home. When in NorthWales, an entire pub switched from speaking Englishto Welsh when they saw us walk in! The Theory wasan attempt to explain these compelling events(which many others reported experiencing). WhileCAT recognized in its formative years, it is onlyrecently that people are meowing loudly about it!"-Howard Giles
What is CommunicationAccommodation Theory?"Explains how and why we adjust ourcommunication behaviors to the actions ofothers" (p 183).
Giles noticed that people often match, or"mimic", another persons behavior.The example he gives in the text is nonverbal communication thatpeople are likely to mimic. Simply crossing arms is an addictivebehavior where if one person is doing it, its likely that others in theconversation will do the same.WHY?
Convergence Page 183"Coming together"This is the part ofaccommodation whenpeople match eachothers behaviors.What are somecommunicationbehaviors thatpeople converge?
Take A Look at the Top of Page 184These communicationbehaviors caninclude, but are notlimited to:● Accent● Rate● Loudness● Vocabulary● Grammar● Voice● GesturesCan you think ofothers?
Divergence Page 183"Moving Apart"This is when speakersexaggerate theircommunicationdifferencesWhen would aperson usedivergence?Why?
Mutual vs Nonmutual● When bothcommunicationscome together;they both eitherconverge ordiverge● Whencommunicators dothe opposite,where one personconverges and theother diverges.When would communication be mutual?Nonmutual? Is one more effective than theother?
Partial vs CompleteMeeting in the middle● A quiet speaker raisestheir voice a little bit.Going all the way● A quieter speaker matchesthe volume of the otherspeaker
Are We Aware?● Do we notice when we areaccommodating our communication?● Do we notice when others accommodatetheirs?The text states that we are more likely tonotice divergence than we are convergence.Do you agree?
Communicators typically convergewhen they are looking for anotherpersons approvalResearchers have found:
When its Successful...Successful convergence can lead to:● Communicators finding each other more attractive● Find each other more predictable● Find each other easier to understand● Feel more involvedCommunicators are more likely to respond receptivelywhen people make an effort to converge.This goes back to...Do we notice when we/others converge?
When its Unsuccessful...When this happens:● Inaccurate● Ill Will● Mocking● Inappropriate● Assumptions &StereotypesStereotypes:● Children● Elderly● Hearing aidsWhat else?
Personal IdentityIf a person accommodates too much, it mayresult is a loss of personal identity.People may say things they dont really believeor act like they are someone who they are not.Is this intentional?
Maintaining Personal IdentityPeople may want to preserve what makesthem different as a communicator.Rather than converging, they make an effortto maintain their natural communication toprevent losing it.Do people receive this well?
For further discussion...In my VoiceLink, I mentioned a song by AvrilLavigne, titled "Complicated".but youvebecomeSomebody elseround everyoneelseYoure watchingyour back likeyou cant relaxYoure tryin tobe cool you looklike a fool to meI see theway youreacting likeyouresomebodyelse getsmefrustrated