Ibahrine 11 Teoriesofmessage
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  • 1. THOERIES of MESSAGE RECEPTION AND PROCESSING 11 Dr. Mohammed Ibahrine AL AKHAWAYN UNIVERSITY in IFRANE SCHOOL OF HUMANITIES AND SOCIAL SCIENCES COMMUNICATIONS STUDIES PROGRAM
  • 2. Introduction
    • Most of the theories in this chapter are firmly in the cognitive tradition
    • Cognition is the study of thinking, or information processing
    • Thomas Ostrom outline three broad dimensions of the cognitive system:
        • Codes
        • Structures
        • Processes
  • 3. Introduction
    • Cognitive codes are the basic elements of information that are kept in memory and manipulated in various ways when we think
    • The second dimension is cognitive structures , or ways of organizing codes
    • The third dimension of cognition is cognitive processes , or operations
  • 4. Introduction
    • 1. The first deals with processes of interpretation, or understanding and meaning
    • The theories summarized here define meaning and show
      • How it develops
      • How the content of messages and intentions of communicators are understood
      • How the causes of behavior are assessed
  • 5. Introduction
    • The second section deals with information organization
    • These theories tell us
      • How information is integrated into the cognitive system
      • How it affects attitudes
      • How we think about information that relates to our attitudes
      • How consistency is used as an organizing principle
  • 6. Introduction
    • The third section of the chapter relates to the
    • process of making judgments
    • These theories deal with
      • How information is compared to what we already know and expect, deviations from expectations,
      • How the value of information is assessed
      • As you probably already suspect, this is a rather technical and complicated body of theory
  • 7. 1. MESSAGE INTERPRETATION
    • Interpretation is one term for how we understand our experience
  • 8. 1. MESSAGE INTERPRETATION
    • 1.1 Osgood on Meaning
    • In the 1960s, psychology was dominated by behaviorism, but cognitive approaches were just beginning to get popular, and Osgood theory on meaning actually has a foot in both traditions
    • Osgood's theory, then, deals with the ways in which meanings are learned and how they relate to thinking and behavior
  • 9. 1. MESSAGE INTERPRETATION
    • 1.1 Osgood on Meaning
      • What associations do you have for the word flight?
      • Whatever your associations, these are your connotations for the term
      • Osgood's theory attempts to explain what these connotations consist of and where they come from
  • 10. 1. MESSAGE INTERPRETATION
    • 1.1 Osgood on Meaning
      • The learning theory used by Osgood begins with the assumption that individuals respond to stimuli in the environment, forming a stimulus response relationship
      • The basic S-R association is responsible for establishment of meaning, which is an internal, mental response to a stimulus
  • 11. 1. MESSAGE INTERPRETATION
    • 1.1 Osgood on Meaning
      • The internal meaning itself can be broken down into two parts: an internal response and an internal stimulus
      • The whole chain consists of the following:
          • (1) Physical stimulus
          • (2) Internal response
          • (3) Internal stimulus
          • (4) Outward response
  • 12. 1. MESSAGE INTERPRETATION
    • 1.1 Osgood on Meaning
      • Meaning, because it is internal and unique to the person's own experience with the natural stimulus, is said to be connotative
      • Most meanings are not learned as a result of direct experience with the natural stimulus but are learned by an association between one sign and another
      • A process that can occur in the abstract out of physical contact with the original stimulus
  • 13. 1. MESSAGE INTERPRETATION
    • 1.1 Osgood on Meaning
      • One of Osgood's major contributions is his work on the measurement of meaning
      • This method of measuring meaning, the semantic differential , assumes that one's meanings can be expressed by the use of adjectives
      • Osgood then uses a statistical technique called factor analysis to find your basic dimensions of meaning
  • 14. 1. MESSAGE INTERPRETATION
    • 1.1 Osgood on Meaning
      • Osgood believes that the three factors of meaning
          • Evaluation
          • Activity
          • Potency
      • apply across all people and all concepts
  • 15. 1. MESSAGE INTERPRETATION
    • 1.2 Attribution Theory
      • Definition:
      • Account that explains why things happen and why people act as they do
      • Attributions are not necessarily correct interpretations of others and their motives
  • 16. 1. MESSAGE INTERPRETATION
    • 1.2 Attribution Theory
      • Attribution theory deals with the ways people infer the causes of behavior
      • Attribution theory centers on the perceived causes of behavior by ordinary people in everyday life
  • 17. 1. MESSAGE INTERPRETATION
    • 1.2 Attribution Theory
      • Fritz Heider, founder of attribution theory outlines several kinds of causal attributions that people commonly make
      • These include
        • 1. Situational causes (being affected by the environment)
        • 2. Personal effects (influencing things personally)
        • 3. Ability (being able to do something)
        • 4. Personal effort (trying to do something)
        • 5. Desire (wanting to do it)
        • 6. Sentiment (feeling like it)
        • 7. Belonging (going along with something)
        • 8. Obligation (feeling you ought to)
        • 9. Permission (being permitted to)
  • 18. 1. MESSAGE INTERPRETATION
    • 1.2 Attribution Theory
      • Causal perception is mediated variables in your own psychological makeup
      • One of these is your meaning to what you observe, and these are crucial to what you "see.“
      • Meanings help you integrate your perceptions and organize your observations into patterns that help you make sense of the world
  • 19. 1. MESSAGE INTERPRETATION
    • 1.2 Attribution Theory
      • The way you resolve ambiguities and establish a consistent pattern may be different from the way other people do so
      • Heider calls individual patterns of perception perceptual styles
      • He recognizes that any state of affairs may give rise to a number of interpretations, each of which seems true to the person involved
  • 20. 1. MESSAGE INTERPRETATION
    • 1.2 Attribution Theory
      • The way you resolve ambiguities and establish a consistent pattern may be different from the way other people do so
      • One will infer the causes of one associate's behavior according to
        • Overall experience
        • Your meanings
        • The situational factors
        • The perceptual style
  • 21. 1. MESSAGE INTERPRETATION
    • 1.2 Attribution Theory
      • One of the most persistent findings in attribution research is the fundamental attribution error
      • This is the tendency to attribute the cause of events to personal qualities
      • This tendency, however, is reduced when we are evaluating our own responsibility
      • We tend to blame other people for what happens to them but blame the situation for what happens to us
  • 22. 2. INFORMATION ORGANIZATION
    • The ways you organize and manage information and how information affects your cognitive system
    • Attitudes were studied as a kind of "mental“ behavior that is learned and shaped largely as other behaviors are
  • 23. 2. INFORMATION ORGANIZATION
    • The ways you organize and mange information and how information affects your cognitive system
    • Attitudes are viewed as elements of the cognitive system that you hold in your memory and access when you respond to various situations
  • 24. 2. INFORMATION ORGANIZATION
    • 2.1 Information-Integration T heory
    • The information integration approach centers on the ways people accumulate and organize information out some person, object, Situation or idea and form attitude
    • An attitude is predisposition to act in in a positive or negative way toward some object
    • According to this theory, all information has the potential of affecting your attitudes
    • But two variables are important in how attitudes are changed
  • 25. 2. INFORMATION ORGANIZATION
    • 2.1 Information-Integration T heory
    • The first is valence, or direction
    • Valence refers to whether information supports your beliefs or refutes them
    • When information supports your beliefs and attitudes, it has "positive" valence
    • When it does not, it has "negative" valence
  • 26. 2. INFORMATION ORGANIZATION
    • 2.1 Information-Integration T heory
    • According to this theory, all information has the potential of affecting your attitudes
    • But two variables are important in how attitudes are changed
    • The first is valence, or direction
    • Valence refers to whether information supports your beliefs or refutes them
    • When information supports your beliefs and attitudes, it has "positive" valence
    • When it does not, it has "negative" valence
  • 27. 2. INFORMATION ORGANIZATION
    • 2.1 Information-Integration T heory
    • The second variable that affects the impact of information is the weight you assign to the information
    • Weight is a function of credibility
    • If you think the information is probably true, you will assign a higher weight to it; if not, you will assign a lower weight
  • 28. 2. INFORMATION ORGANIZATION
    • 2.1 Information-Integration T heory
    • So valence affects how information influences your attitudes
    • And weight affects how much it does so
    • When the weight of information is low, the information will have little effect, no matter what its valence
  • 29. 2. INFORMATION ORGANIZATION
    • 2.1 Information-Integration T heory
    • An attitude is considered to be an accumulation of information about an object, person, situation, or experience
    • Attitude change occurs because new information adds to the attitude or because it changes one's judgments about the weight or valence of other information
    • Any one piece of information usually does not have too much influence on an attitude because the attitude consists of a number of things that could counteract the new information
  • 30. 2. INFORMATION ORGANIZATION
    • 2.1 Information-Integration T heory
    • 2.1.1 Expectancy- Val ue Theory
    • One of the best-known and respected information-integration theorists is Martin Fishbein
    • Fishbein highlights the complex nature of attitudes in what is known as expectancy-value theory
    • Information-integration theory shows how change occurs as a result of newly integrated information
  • 31. 2. INFORMATION ORGANIZATION
    • 2.1.1 Expectancy- Val ue Theory
    • According to Fishbein, there are two kinds of belief
    • The first belief in a thing when you believe in something, you would say that this thing exist
    • The second kind of belief, belief about, is your sense of the probability that a particular relationship exists between two things
  • 32. 2. INFORMATION ORGANIZATION
    • 2.1.1 Expectancy- Val ue Theory
    • For example, you might believe in the existence of pain and suffering late in life
    • You may also have a belief about pain and suffering, that people want to die so that they can avoid it
  • 33. 2. INFORMATION ORGANIZATION
    • 2.1.1 Expectancy- Val ue Theory
    • Attitudes, differ from beliefs, because they are evaluative
    • Attitudes are correlated with beliefs and lead you to behave in a certain way toward the attitude object
    • Fishbein sees attitudes as organized, so that general attitudes are predicted from specific ones in a summative fashion
    • Thus, an attitude toward an object equals the sum of each belief about that object times its evaluation
  • 34. 2. INFORMATION ORGANIZATION
    • 2.1.1 Expectancy- Val ue Theory
    • According to this theory, attitude change can occur from three sources
      • 1. Information can alter the believability, or weight, of particular beliefs
      • 2. Information can change the valence of a belief
      • 3. Information can add new beliefs to the attitude structure
  • 35. 2. INFORMATION ORGANIZATION
    • 2.1.2 Theory of Reasoned Action
    • This theory argues that behavior results in part from intentions, a complex outcome of attitudes
    • Specifically, your intention to behave in a certain way is determined by your attitude toward the behavior and a set of beliefs about how other people would like you to behave
    • Sometimes your attitude is most important, sometimes others‘ opinions are most important, and sometimes they are more or less equal in weight
  • 36. 2. INFORMATION ORGANIZATION
    • 2.2 Consistency Theories
    • One of the largest bodies of work related to attitude, attitude change, and persuasion is consistency theory
    • People are more comfortable with consistency than inconsistency
    • Consistency is a primary organizing principle in cognitive processing
    • Attitude change can result from information that disrupt this balance
  • 37. 2. INFORMATION ORGANIZATION
    • 2.2 Consistency Theories
    • Two theories of cognitive consistency:
    • One of the cognitive consistency theories is Leon Festinger's theory of cognitive dissonance
    • The second is Milton Rokeach' s theory of attitudes, beliefs, and values
  • 38. 2. INFORMATION ORGANIZATION
    • 2.2 Consistency Theories
    • 2..2.1 The Theory of Cognitive Dissonance
    • Leon Festinger's theory of cognitive dissonance is one of the most important theories in the history of social psychology
    • Festinger teaches that any two cognitive elements, Including attitudes, perceptions, knowledge, and behaviors will have one of three kinds of relationship
    • Consistency theory shows how imbalance leads to change
  • 39. 2. INFORMATION ORGANIZATION
    • 2..2.1 The Theory of Cognitive Dissonance
      • 1. The first of these is null, or irrelevant
      • 2. The second is consistent = Consonant
      • 3. The third is inconsistent = Dissonance
          • Dissonance occurs when one element would not be expected follow from the other
  • 40. 2. INFORMATION ORGANIZATION
    • 2..2.1 The Theory of Cognitive Dissonance
      • Two overriding premises govern dissonance theory
        • 1. The first is that dissonance produces tension or stress that creates pressure to change
        • 2. When dissonance is present, the individual will not only attempt to reduce it but will also avoid situations in which additional dissonance might be produced
      • The greater the dissonance, the greater the need to reduce it
  • 41. 2. INFORMATION ORGANIZATION
    • 2..2.1 The Theory of Cognitive Dissonance
      • Dissonance itself is a result of two other variables:
      • 1. The importance of the cognitive elements
      • 2. The number of elements involved in the dissonant relation
      • If you have several things that are inconsistent and
      • If they are important to you,
      • You will experience greater dissonance
  • 42. 2. INFORMATION ORGANIZATION
    • 2..2.1 The Theory of Cognitive Dissonance
      • How do you deal with your cognitive Dissonance?
      • Festinger imagined a number of methods:
    You might become a vegetarian, or you might start believing that fats are less important than genetics
  • 43. 2. INFORMATION ORGANIZATION
    • 2..2.1 The Theory of Cognitive Dissonance
      • 1. You might change one or more of the cognitive elements, a behavior or an attitude perhaps
    You might become a vegetarian, or you might start believing that fats are less important than genetics
  • 44. 2. INFORMATION ORGANIZATION
    • 2..2.1 The Theory of Cognitive Dissonance
      • 2. New elements might be added to one side of the tension or the other
      • For instance, you might switch to using olive oil exclusively
  • 45. 2. INFORMATION ORGANIZATION
    • 2.2.1 The Theory of Cognitive Dissonance
      • 3. You might come to see the elements as less important than they used to be
      • For example, you might decide that health
      • isn't as important as state of mind
  • 46. 2. INFORMATION ORGANIZATION
    • 2.2.1 The Theory of Cognitive Dissonance
      • 4. You might seek consonant information such as evidence for the benefits of meat by reading new studies on the topic
  • 47. 2. INFORMATION ORGANIZATION
    • 2.2.1 The Theory of Cognitive Dissonance
      • 5. You might seek consonant information such as you might reduce dissonance by distorting or misinterpreting the information involved
      • This could happen if you decided that although a lot of meat
      • poses a health risk, meat is not as harmful as the loss of important
      • nutritional ingredients like iron and protein
  • 48. 2. INFORMATION ORGANIZATION
    • 2.2.1 The Theory of Cognitive Dissonance
      • 5. Dissonance theory predicts that the less the pressure to conform, the greater the dissonance
  • 49. 3. JUDGMENT PROCESSES
    • The theories in this section deal with the ways individuals make judgments in communication- judgments of arguments, nonverbal behavior, belief claims, and attitudes
  • 50. 3. JUDGMENT PROCESSES
    • 3.1 Social Judgment Theory
        • Muzafer Sherif deals with the way people make judgments about messages
        • Muzafer Sherif’s theory investigates the ways individuals judge messages
        • People make judgments on the basis of reference points
  • 51. 3. JUDGMENT PROCESSES
    • 3.1 Social Judgment Theory
        • 1. The first group forms your latitude of acceptance, the statements you can agree with
        • 2. The second your latitude of rejection, those you cannot agree with
        • 3. The third your latitude of non-commitment
  • 52. 3. JUDGMENT PROCESSES
    • 3.1 Social Judgment Theory
        • This research procedure is just a systematic way of simulating what happens in everyday life
        • On any issue, there will usually be a range of statements
        • Pro or con, that you are willing to tolerate
        • And there will also be a range that you reject totally
  • 53. 3. JUDGMENT PROCESSES
    • 3.1 Social Judgment Theory
        • A person's latitudes of acceptance and rejection are influenced by a key variable-ego involvement
        • Ego involvement is the degree of personal relevance of an issue
        • It is the degree to which one's attitude toward something affects the self-concept, or the importance assigned to the issue
  • 54. 3. JUDGMENT PROCESSES
    • 3.1 Social Judgment Theory
        • What does social judgment say about communication?
        • 1. First, we know from Sherif's work that individuals judge the favorability of a message based on their own internal anchors and ego involvement
        • This judgment process can involve distortion
        • On a given issue, a person may distort the message by contrast or assimilation
  • 55. 3. JUDGMENT PROCESSES
    • 3.1 Social Judgment Theory
        • The contrast effect occurs when individuals judge a message to be farther from their own point of view than it actually is
        • The assimilation effect occurs when people judge the message to be closer to their own point of view than it actually is
  • 56. 3. JUDGMENT PROCESSES
    • 3.1 Social Judgment Theory
        • Basically, when a message is relatively close to one's own position, that message will be assimilated,
        • Whereas more distant messages will be contrasted
        • These assimilation and contrast effects are heightened by ego involvement
  • 57. 3. JUDGMENT PROCESSES
    • 3.1 Social Judgment Theory
        • The second area in which social judgment theory aids our understanding of communication is attitude change
        • Social judgment theory makes the following predictions:
  • 58. 3. JUDGMENT PROCESSES
    • 3.1 Social Judgment Theory
        • 1. Messages falling within the latitude of acceptance facilitate attitude change
        • An argument in favor of a position within the range of acceptance will be somewhat more persuasive than an argument outside of this range
  • 59. 3. JUDGMENT PROCESSES
    • 3.1 Social Judgment Theory
        • 2. If you judge a message to lie within the latitude of rejection, attitude change will be reduced or nonexistent
  • 60. 3. JUDGMENT PROCESSES
    • 3.1 Social Judgment Theory
        • 3. Within the latitude of acceptance and non-commitment, the more discrepant the message from your own stand, the greater the expected attitude change
        • However, once the message hits the latitude of rejection, change will not be expected
  • 61. 3. JUDGMENT PROCESSES
    • 3.1 Social Judgment Theory
        • 4. The greater your ego involvement in ( the issue, the larger the latitude of rejection, the smaller the latitude of noncommitment
        • And thus the less the expected attitude change
        • Highly involved persons are hard to persuade
        • They tend to reject a wider range of statements than people who are not highly ego-involved, and rejected messages are not effective
  • 62. 3. JUDGMENT PROCESSES
    • 3.2 Elaboration Likelihood Theory
        • Social psychologists Richard Petty and John Cacioppo developed elaboration likelihood theory as a general summation of insights from many other attitude-change theories
  • 63. 3. JUDGMENT PROCESSES
    • 3.2 Elaboration Likelihood Theory
        • According to this theory, you evaluate information in various ways
        • Sometimes you evaluate messages in an elaborate way, using critical thinking
        • Sometimes you do so in a simpler, less critical manner
  • 64. 3. JUDGMENT PROCESSES
    • 3.2 Elaboration Likelihood Theory
        • Elaboration likelihood is the probability of critical evaluation of arguments
        • The likelihood of elaboration depends on the way a person processes the message
        • There are two: the central and peripheral
  • 65. 3. JUDGMENT PROCESSES
    • 3.2 Elaboration Likelihood Theory
        • The central: critical thinking occurs in the central route
        • The peripheral: nonelaboration, the lack of critical thinking in the peripheral one
        • If you use the central, you consider arguments carefully
  • 66. 3. JUDGMENT PROCESSES
    • 3.2 Elaboration Likelihood Theory
        • Critical thinking depends on two general factors:
        • Motivation
        • Ability
  • 67. 3. JUDGMENT PROCESSES
    • 3.2 Elaboration Likelihood Theory
        • Motivation consists of at least three things:
        • 1. Involvement or the personal relevance
        • The more important the topic, the more likely that you will think critically about the issues involved
  • 68. 3. JUDGMENT PROCESSES
    • 3.2 Elaboration Likelihood Theory
        • 2. Diversity of arguments
        • You will tend to think more about arguments that come from a variety of source
  • 69. 3. JUDGMENT PROCESSES
    • 3.2 Elaboration Likelihood Theory
        • 3.One’s personal tendency to enjoy critical thinking
  • 70. 3. JUDGMENT PROCESSES
    • 3. 3 Expectancy Violations Theory
        • How do you respond when people violate your expectations?
        • The common assumption is that when expectancies are met, the other person's behaviors are judged as positive
        • and when they are violated, the behaviors are judged as negative; however
  • 71. 3. JUDGMENT PROCESSES
    • 3. 3 Expectancy Violations Theory
        • Judee Burgoon has found that this is not always the case
        • Violations are often judged favorably
  • 72. 3. JUDGMENT PROCESSES
    • 3. 4 Interpersonal Deception Theory
        • Deception involves the deliberate manipulation of information, behavior, and image in order to lead another person to a false belief or conclusion
        • Typically, when a speaker deceives,
        • that person engages in strategic behavior that distorts the truthfulness of the information or is incomplete, irrelevant, unclear, or indirect