Communication in Cars
Lightening McQueen experiences culture shock
when he finds himself in Radiator Springs.
The local characters are proud of their forgotten
McQueen is used to a fast paced, unstoppable
Communication is limited because, although they
are all cars, their culture and values are exceedingly
For instance: McQueen tells a pair of tourists that he
was in hillbilly hell. This was hurtful to the residents
who took pride in their town and way of life.
Doc is private about his past racing life not letting
His motivation in keeping his privacy is an example of
Doc can not see a benefit for disclosing this
information but the risks include embarrassment and
As Doc mentors McQueen he slowly opens up until a
final scene where he has disclosed fully to his
neighbors, McQueen and racing fans that is his
indeed the famous Doc Hudson.
This is also an example of social penetration theory
as described by Shrek.
• Unlike Doc, Mater’s self disclosure practice is to let
it all out. He is unafraid of hiding any detail about
• Right from the beginning his relationship cycle with
McQueen, Mater lacks the social skill of
appropriately self disclosing.
• This disclosure is not reciprocated from McQueen
until appropriately later in their relationship.
• Sally shows us she is insecure through her self-talk.
• When visitors show up to Radiator Springs, she springs into
motion getting the town ready. Her self-perception is shown
in this scene. She believes she knows what is best for the
• Sally talks herself into getting mentally ready for what
visitors mean. It appears that she is anxious about visitors.
• This anxiety shows when she fails to have effective
conversations with the visitors. She controls the one sided
conversation not letting the visitors express their needs.
& ineffective communication
• By the middle of the movie I was frustrated that
none of these characters were communicating
• McQueen and Sally were stubbornly not sharing
their feelings for each other.
• Doc was not sharing much of himself with anyone.
• McQueen’s nonverbal and verbal communication
said, “Get me out of here.” He is so self absorbed
that he doesn’t listen to or care for those around
• Mater is sharing too much however he is
the best communicator so far. He makes
a good mentor for McQueen.
• McQueen’s personal space differs slightly from
everyday proxemics of the average American.
• He allows intimate or personal distance with his
• In most conversations with those that could further
his career he does seem to maintain a social
• With the residents of Radiator Springs his need for
personal space evolves as his relationships change.
What starts as public distance becomes intimate
• As he builds relationships, McQueen empathizes with
residents. He connects with their feelings and acts on
• In one scene, McQueen surprises Sally with an
evening that showed her towns assets in it’s heyday.
• In another, he manages to bring racing headquarters
to town; thus revitalizing the once forgotten place.
• In a final scene McQueen gives up his dream to help
The King over the finish line. He has moved from
thinking selfishly to acting selflessly.
• We learn by her eye contact and facial expressions
that Sally is hurt when McQueen leaves for the
• Her eyes look downward and to the right when she
tells him to go. This movement indicates feelings are
• Her behavior provides us with information. She
really doesn’t want him to go but she also gives the
image that she is a tough, independent girl.
• McQueen cycles from having no close relationships
to having many intimate relationships.
• As he thinks less of himself and more of others he
develops a need to be included in his surroundings.
• The time and energy involved in building and
maintaining these relationships are worth the cost in
that he gains a need to love and be loved.
• His relationships with Sally, Doc, Mater and other
characters grows as his desire to please himself
Communication and relationship skills are developed in
The animators did a wonderful job of giving the cars life
and life like nuances.
Although McQueen is the main character and we see
him learning communication skills, all other characters
give an insight to communication styles and issues.
This was a delightful film to watch while studying
• Stanley, the statue of the car in front of the fire
station, is a Stanley Steamer. The steamers were
built by F.E and F.O. Stanley at the turn of the 20th
century. The Stanley brothers are from my
hometown, Kingfield, ME.