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Communication Theory

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Theories of Symbolic Organization

Has to do with looking at the way in which we cognitively process symbols that we come across. These theories are attempting to explain how we process symbols (based on the assumption that symbols make communication possible).

o Post positivist, critical, interpretive????

Social Scientific Approaches: post positivist approaches because these type of approaches rely on scientific rationale (objective).

1. Schema Theory

* schema theory says that we efficiently organize our experiences so that the world makes sense to us. We develop schema (categories, classifications, etc). Examples of schema would be roles, self schema, schema of others. Every time you come into a classroom you know your role as a student.

* Cognitive miser- always want to use your cognition as efficient as possible. Categorize in order to simplify.

* Cognitive structures-

2. Attribution Theory

* cause and effect relationships inherent to human perception. Why do we develop perceptions of reality? If we are going to say that we perceive the world then... where do the perceptions come from?

* Two types of attributions:

o 1) internal- perceptions based on your own psychological characteristics, personality, etc. Ex: I do not know the material well enough, I am afraid of giving the wrong answer.

o 2) external- pointing to circumstances or environment to explain perception. Ex: too early in the morning to not talk in class.

* Causal analysis- one of the stimuli (int or ex) produces perceptions.

* Naпve scientist- always searching for truth in a matter. Always trying to figure out why something happens.

Constitutive model- communication creates meaning. Communication is primary.

Transmission model- psyc, pol, etc create meaning. Communication is secondary.

Humanistic Approaches: interpretive. Humanism- traditionally rooted in arts not sciences.

1. Narrative Theory

* We communicate through stories. We process information as stories and make sense of the world.

o For example, if a teacher explains a concept and you do not understand, you raise your hand. By putting it into an example or story, it helps



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