Communication theory 1


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A review of communication Theory Lecture 1

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Communication theory 1

  1. 1. Communication conceptsDavid Phillips
  2. 2. Shannon and Weaver – Linear model of Communication Transmitter Receiver Destination DecodeSource Encode Signal Signal received Message Message received
  3. 3. Problems with the Linear Model• But do senders and receivers have the same mindset? (McQuail 1987)• Assumes that information is neutral – without intrinsic meaning (Dervin 1989)• Reduces meaning to something delivered like a parcel (Reddy 1979)
  4. 4. Customer informationPassengers must carry dogs on escalators
  5. 5. Hypodermic approach and two-step flow Hypodermic model Two-step flow model MASS MEDIA MASS MEDIA Individuals in socialIsolated individuals contact with anconstituting a mass opinion leader Opinion leaders
  6. 6. Westley and Maclean model - the role of the communicator E feedback V E N T S Channel: C aims to provide Behavioural: B members of the the public with information, public acting as an intermediary Advocacy: A aims to between A and the public. influence people, either Non-purposive role – directly or indirectly (eg individuals are not furthering PR people, pressure their own personal interests. groups) (Mass media) Windhal and Sigtnitzer with Olsen (1994)
  7. 7. Reading or watching the news 1. The audience consists of people…..each person is subject to many influences, of which the communicators’ message is typically only one small source of influence 2. People tend to read, watch, or listen to communications that present points of view with which they are sympathetic or which they have a personal stake 3. Careful framing must take account of both the intended and unintended effects of message content. Cutlip, Center and Broom, (2000)
  8. 8. People will put a certain amount of energy into understanding a message too simple too complex so what? ??? apathy too much effortlost interest lost interest Connection with personal experience helps understanding generates interest Adapted from Fruh, 1980 will tip the balance
  9. 9. Transparent Communication Many communication efforts have failed because the publics are aware of the facts but not reasons behind those facts. Today’s publics aren’t inclined to trust blindly. When organisations engage in transparent communication they provide the kind of information that: ▫ identifies the problem ▫ gets people interested in it ▫ airs the various options ▫ and otherwise creates a climate of understanding and involvement before plans are announced that affect the publics. Smith, R. D. (2005)
  10. 10. Media uses and gratification theory ofcommunication “The audience is made up of individuals who demand something from the communication to which they are exposed” So the communication process is interactive. People use the mass media for different reasons: 1. To find out what is happening that has some impact on them 2. Entertainment and diversion 3. Reinforcement of opinions 4. Decision making about buying a product or service Uses and gratification theory assumes that people make highly intelligent choices about which messages require their attention and fulfil their needs. Wilcox et al (2005)
  11. 11. Agenda-setting Theory “The press is significantly more than a purveyor of information and opinion. It may not be successful much of the time in telling people what to think, but it is stunningly successful in telling readers what to think about.” Cohen, in McCoombs and Protess 1991
  12. 12. Five Stage Adoption Process1. Awareness – new idea introduced in news story2. Interest – more information sought3. Evaluation – feedback from family, colleagues4. Trial – idea tried out with others, e.g. “I read….”5. Adoption – idea integrated into belief system, “I read…..becomes I think…..”Wilcox et al (2005)
  13. 13. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
  14. 14. “With all the sophisticated mental apparatus we have used to build world eminence as a species, we have created an environment so complex, fast-paced, and information-laden that we mustincreasingly deal with it in the fashion of the animals we long ago transcended.”Robert B. Cialdini
  15. 15. The consistency principleCommunication objective: to increase the number ofpeople who will agree to go door to door collectingdonations for a charity.How to gain commitment: call a sample of residentsand ask them to predict what they would say if asked tospend 3 hours collecting money for a cancer charity. Notwanting to appear to be uncharitable many people willsay that they will volunteer.In the US when this was followed up by an actual requestfor volunteers this generated a 700 per cent increase.Cialdini, R B (2007: 67-8)
  16. 16. Use of FearFear is one of the most studied emotional appeals incommunication and social influence research. Pictures of a diseased lung, rotting teeth and the effects of throat cancer are to appear on cigarette packets from 1 October 2008
  17. 17. Messages: Use of FearHigh fear messages about the dangers ofsmoking, when combined with believablerecommendations, produce high scores onintended compliance.Three factors affect theimpact of fear messages:1. Seriousness or harmfulness of the subject2. Likelihood or probability of the feared event3. Efficacy of the recommended course of actionCutlip, Center and Broom (2000)
  18. 18. Anti-Smoking CampaignThe Department of Healthlaunched the latest in a line of anti-smoking ads last year (31October).The advert opens on a darkenedchildrens bedroom and a younggirl is heard saying: "Im not scaredof the dark.”The ad then cuts through a series of images, including a crawlingspider and the leering face of a clown, with the young girl saying "Imnot scared of spiders", and "Im not scared of clowns".It ends with a group of young mums who are chatting together andsmoking; the girl says: "Im scared of my mum smoking."
  19. 19. Messages: Using a health & beauty approach“The white paper on public health hasgenerated significant column inchesfocusing on the proposed ban on smokingin public places, which presents both anopportunity and a challenge for PRprofessionals.On the one hand, it creates increasedmedia interest in smoking cessation, but italso turns smokers off from the healthmessage. Cohn & Wolfe HealthcareWe’ve been more successful in the past by account manager, quoted in PR Week, 7 Jan 2005taking more of a health and beautyapproach rather than a strict healthmessage to communicate more directlywith women who smoke”
  20. 20.  From The Sunday TimesNovember 2, 2008Now the buyer must bewareMartin Lindstrom, the boy wonder of branding, tells that the future of shopping is all in themind
  21. 21. Using the Right LanguageResearchers in the US approached 217sunbathers and gave them either “gain”(protect yourself from the sun and you willhelp yourself stay healthy) or “loss” (notusing sun-cream increases your risk of earlydeath) messages. They then gave couponsto hand in for free sun-cream.71% of people given a gain message pickedup sun-creamOnly 50% of people given a loss messagepicked up sun-creamObserver magazine, 17 October 2004
  22. 22. The Reciprocation Principle
  23. 23. The Social Proof Principle
  24. 24. Binge drinking in the UK – how cancommunications help to solve the problem?
  25. 25. Semiotics How systems of signs (language, symbols, images) are usedin the social construction of meaning. How we make things andevents signify (or carry meaning), e.g. in ‘spin’. Rather than things and events having an inherent meaninggiven by nature, language is socially constructed. Meaningsare never ‘given’, ‘natural’ or ‘obvious’. Signs are read in relation to codes - wider systems ofmeanings.These codes require broad cultural and socialagreement, for meaning to be produced.
  26. 26. Semiotics – a receiver perspective Denotative Connotative Ambiguous Polysemic The literal, dictionary The internal Perhaps the Multiple meaning. associations each messages have associations, reader/viewer multiple varying from brings to the dictionary person to message meanings person, and from culture to cultureTench and Yeomans (2009:261)
  27. 27. What is “meant” is invariably more thanwhat is “said.”(Smith 1988, Olson 1994)
  28. 28. Binary opposition is one of the mostimportant principles governing the structureof language.Lyons 1977 Left Right Boom Bust Success Failure
  29. 29. “It’s prejudice that’s queer.”“My son’s homophobic, but I hope it’sjust a phase.”Terrence Higgins Trust 1999 campaign against homophobia
  30. 30. Narratives help to make thestrange familiar. They providestructure, predictability andcoherence.Chandler 2002
  31. 31. Four PlotsThe Quest (Source: Romantic) The Downfall (Source: Tragedy)Where a progressive hero- Where a hero is pitched fromadventurer, challenges the status success to danger and humiliation,quo or conventional wisdom, primarily as a result of fate orexperiences set-backs, but external eventsultimately succeedsThe Contest (Source: The Scam (Source: Irony)Melodrama) Where a hero is exposed asWhere a polarised struggle between incompetent, corrupt or a fool,two heroes characterised as good apparently heroic actions areand evil, leads to a climactic battle reinterpreted as a scam to fleecein which the opposition is defeated others
  32. 32. The Language of ColoursColour Symbolises Used By Power, Activity,Red RescuePink Calm, Feminism Movement,Orange Construction, Energy Light, Future,Yellow Philosophy Money, Growth,Green Environment Trust, Authority,Blue Security Royalty, Spirituality,Purple New Age
  33. 33. whiteprotection, purification, moon work, clarity of vision and insight, healing, pure focusedenergy, strengthens the powers of other colours, sincerity, calm, blessing, simplicitysilverfluidity, psychic gifts, clarity of inner vision, purifying, calm, the mysterious (think of themoon)goldconnection with higher powers, divine inspiration, spiritual energy, attraction and abundance,leadership (think of the sun)redpassion, courage, ernergy, sex, attraction and magnetism, sensuality, the opposite sex,forcefulness, self assertion, love, physical vitality, warmth, action (think of fire)pinkaffection and romantic love, compassion, friendship, benevolent forces, understanding,diplomacy, purity, healing of the feminineorangeenergy, attraction, self-control, organisation, self esteem, warmth, adaptability, vitality, joy,kindness, alertness, creativity, harvest, maturity (think of the harvest sun and moon)
  34. 34. purplepower, healing, magic, combatting disease and infections, spirituality, psychic healing,meditation, judgement, flamboyance, ceremony (think of royal purple)yellowattraction and activity, communication, eloquence, intellect, confidence, travel,concentration, agility, inspiration, happiness, luck, optimism, faith, balancegreenmoney, prosperity, healing, growth, employment, fertility, success, health, harmony, newbeginnings, renewal (think of green plants)bluehealing, relaxation, peace, truth, wisdom, clarity of expression, serenity, meditation,harmony, calm, devotion, spiritual understanding, introspection (think of a clear blue skyor the ocean)brownearthy, grounding, steady, stable, concentration, healing, cleansing, working withanimals and the home, the feminine (think of the earth)greyneutrality, balance