Posts filed under ‘Socio-Psychological tradition’
“When two people from different ethnic or cultural groups interact, they tend to accomodate each other in the way they speak in order to gain the other’s approval.” – Em Griffin
Communication Accommodation Strategies
Covergence – adjustment of speech patterns to match each other and the surrounding environment
Involves delivery and content of a message
Environmental factors such as music also influence accommodation
Divergence – emphasizing the differences in communication between individuals
Maintenance (underaccommodation) – no adjustment is made in speech patterns
Overaccommodation – “talking down” to another person by raising voice, simplifying message
Motivations for convergence and divergence
Main motivation for divergence: desire for approval
Social Identity Theory
- We often communicate not as individuals but as representatives of groups that define us.
- Communication may be used to reinforce and defend ties to reference groups.
- Divergence is the result if communicators feel the need for distinctiveness.
- Initial orientation – the predisposition a person has toward focusing on either individual identity or group identity.
Five factors impact the perception of a conversation as an intergroup encournter.
- Collective cultural context
- Distressing history of interaction
- Norms or expectations for treatment
- High group solidarity and high group dependence
Recipient Evaluation of Convergence and Divergence
Giles and his colleagues beleive that listerners regard covergence as positive and divergence as negative
Covergent speakers are evaluated as more competent, attractive, warm and cooperative
Divergent communicators are seen as insulting, impolite, and hostile.
What ultimately important is how the communicator is perceived
Objective versus subjective accomdation
- A disconnect may exist between what is actually happening and what a listener perceives is happening
- Speakers who converge may also misperceive the other’s style
- Heider and Kelley suggest that we attribute an internal disposition to the behavior we see another enact
- Listeners’ evaluation is based on ability, constraints, and effort
Our default assumption: “people who do things like that are like that.”
Stereotypes and Communication Accommodation
We place people into groups based on how we perceive them.
These stereotypes affect the accommodation strategies we use.
Example: intergenerational communication
- We need to recognize people as individuals, not just part of a group
- We must take time to understand how other groups communicate
Scientific Theory Criteria
|Explanation of Data||Yes|
|Prediction of Future Events||Yes|
|Relative Simplicity||Not Really|
Saving face is a priority for me, especially in my relationship with my boyfriend. I want him to think I’m drama-free and happy all the time. Unfortunately, that’s impossible.
Last night Nathan and I got in a squabble. I hate being in a bad mood around him. I’ve been very frustrated with some circumstances, and I don’t want to bother him with it all. So, instead of addressing it, I ignore it. My conflict management style of choice is avoiding. Last night whenever Nate asked me what was wrong, I told him, “I’m fine.” It has become a reflex.
Nate’s conflict management style is integrating. He makes me tell him what’s up, or to at least communicate something to him. After he’s exposed the problem, it’s easier for me to work through the conflict. I just want to avoid conflict as long as I can. He doesn’t want me to save face to the point of avoiding. (And honestly, I’m grateful for it.)
Facework in my life: I recently got into a squabble with my boyfriend Nate. I was having a bad day, but I didn’t want him to have to hear about it — I hate whining — so I tried to keep it from him. He doesn’t like that. I tried to save face by not letting on that I was upset. I told him that I’m fine, and put a fake smile on my face. He intermittently asked me if I was alright because I was acting strange. I handled the conflict by avoiding it and becoming passive aggressive; he managed the conflict through integrating. He made me address it.
Face – projected image of oneself in a relational situation
Facework – messages that help maintain or restore public image
Self-construal – The degree to which people see themselves as autonomous from, or connected to, others.
Individualism and Face
- I and You
Collectivism and Face
- Mutual facework
- Face giving
- Third party mediation
According to George Gerbner’s Cultivation Theory, the amount of violence people view on television affects their views of reality. People who watch a lot of television tend to view the world as a violent place more so than people who watch little TV.
My mom worked at a television stations for sixteen years and is now the public information officer for the Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation. Both jobs have her watching the news daily. When I told my mom that I wanted to intern in Iraq last summer, of course her initial reaction was no. To her, Iraq meant dangerous people, men with guns, bombs, terrorism, al-Qaida, etc. Her view of Iraq was cultivated by the news. In journalism, the catchphrase is “if it bleeds, it leads.” No news station is going to cover the everyday life in northern Iraq.
It took me going to Iraq and returning home safely for my mom’s perception of Iraq to change. And even though it has, even though I have told her only good stories about my time there, she won’t let me return because of stories told on the news.
of Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann
Spiral of Silence is the increasing pressure people feel to conceal their opinions when they think they are in the minority
It explains the growth and spread of public opinion
Swarthmore psychologist Solomon Asch:
Which one would you pick?
A sixth sense that tallies up info about what society in general is thinking and feeling
Noelle-Neumann recommends two questions to get at the barometric readings inside people’s heads:
- Present climate: regardless of your personal opinion, do you think most people?
- Future forecast: will more or fewer people think this way a year from now?
Fear of Isolation
The fear of isolation is teh centrifugal force that accelerates teh spiral of silence
Connects with marginalization
Powerful way to eliminate competitions
Media accelerates the muting of the minority
The media in general at TV in particular not only tell us what to think about but also privde the sanctions view of what everyone else is thinking
People’s mistaken idea that everyone thinks the way they do
Train/plain: question about conversation with with a stranger while traveling, using to determine whether people are willing to speak out in support of their viewpoint.
Hardcore non-conformists: people who have already been rejected for their beliefs and have nothing to lose by speaking out.
Avant-garde: intellectuals, artists, and reformers in the isolated minority who speak out because theya re convinced they are ahead of the times
Noelle-Neumann regards the hardcore and avant-garde minorities as the only hope for future swings in public sentiment
“The chance to change or mold public opinion is reserved to those who are not afraid of being isolated. By saying and doing the unpopular, by shocking, they can carry their ideas to supremacy.” – Noelle-Neumann
Critique: flaws in the spiral
ASsuming that fear of isolation is the cause of people’s silence; Noelle-Neumann seldom questioned whether individuals who remain silent feel it more than those who speak out
Relying on the hypothetical train/plain test to measure willingness to speak out; the artificial setting may produce artificial answers
Focusing on national climate rather than reference group opinion
“Strangers in anonymous public.” Critics say that the apparent mood of hte nation exerts less pressure than do teha ttidues of family, friends and other reference groups.
Maxwell McCombs and Donald Shaw
“The most important effect of mass communication [is] its ability to mentally order and organize our world for us. In short, the mass media may not be successful in telling us what to think, but they are stunningly successful in telling us what to think about.”
-Shaw & McCombs, 1977
Agenda Setting Theory is an objective and socio-psychological tradition.
Definition: The mass media has the ability to transfer the salience, or importance, of issues on their news agenda to the public agenda.
The mass media set the agenda for public opinion by highlighting certain issues.
Media concentration on a few issues and subjects leads the public to perceive those issues as more important than other issues.
The pattern of news coverage across major print and broadcast media as measured by the promience and length of stories.
The most important ________ as measured by public opinion ___________.
The more attention a story receives, the higher the assumed importance.
Agenda-setting is believed to occur because the press must be selective in reporting the news.
News outlets act as gatekeepers of information though the stories they decide to run and which to ignore.
Ex. Coverage of ‘International Qur’an Burning Day’
The selection of a restricted number of thematically related attributes for inclusion on the media agenda when a particular object or issue of discourse
Index of Curiosity:
A measure of the extent to which individuals’ need for orientation motivates them to let the media shape their views.
Relevance: If a story is relevant to a viewer it will catch their attention.
Uncertainty: If a viewer doesn’t know much about a subject, that story will catch their attention.
Media Malady Effect:
When negative economic headlines and stories depress consumer’s outlook and economic indicators.
The theory is criticized setting significant power onto broadcast journalism and print journalism when this is not always the case.
Agenda setting is a function of mass media and not a theory.
Framing was not originally a part of McCombs & Shaw’s theory.
The terms “media gatekeeper” and “framing” have more accurately described the salience of messages and emphasize some issues more than other that the media take part in.
Four Functions of Effective Decision Making
- Problem analysis
- Goal setting
- Identification of Alternatives
- Evaluation of Consequences
Not necessarily linear
BIG ASSUMPTION: Rational decision-making is superior. (i.e. giving IWU $50,000 for a football team would make them produce it immediately, and not wait to go through the four steps.)
by Leon Festinger
Cognitive Dissonance – “the distressing mental state caused by inconsistency between a person’s two beliefs or belief and an action” (Griffin).
Cognitive – “any knowledge, opinion, or belief about the environment, about oneself, or about one’s behavior” (Festinger).
Dissonance – “the existence of non-fitting relations among cognitions” (Festinger).
|Dissonance Created||Attitude Change||
Ways to reduce dissonance:
- Change your thoughts to justify your actions.
- Change your actions to justify your thoughts.
- Alter or redact one or more conflicting thoughts, beliefs, or actions
People attempt to make their incongruent thoughts and actions harmonious in three main ways:
- Hypothesis 1 – Selective exposure prevents dissonance
- You intentionally select which information you digest in order to avoid information with which you know you will disagree in order to avoid realization of dissonant ideas
- Hypothesis 2 – Post-decision dissonance creates a need for reassurance
- After you make a difficult decision, you reaffirm the chioce in order to minimize the discomfort of uncertainty.
- Hypothesis 3 – Minimal justification for action induces a shift in attitude
- The less reward or punishment you can give someone in order to change their actions and attitudes, the less dissonance they will likely experience. If you bribe someone for less money, they will feel more justified in taking that bribe.
Over the past 50 years, communication scholars have revised Festinger’s theory.
- Self-consistency: the rationalizing animal (Elliot Aronson)
- Said cognitive dissonace is psychological instead of logical.
- Individuals seek to appear logical in their own eyes.
- Personal responsibility for bad outcomes, AKA “The New Look” (Joel Cooper)
- People feel badly if they perceive their actions to cause unnecessary hard to others.
- Example: College students persuading junior highers that marijuana is harmless
- Self-affirmation to dissipate dissonance (Claude Steele)
- Rather than reconciling incongruent thoughts and actions, some choose to deny, forget, or trivialize a dissonant incident
- This method only works for those who already have high self-esteem
Critique of Cognitive Dissonance using Griffin’s Scientific Standards for Evaluating Theories
|Scientific Standard||Standard met?||Explanation|
|Explains the data||X||The model shows how an inconsistency in attitude or behavior can lead to dissonance, a change in attitude, and ultimately the resolution thereof.|
|Predictions future events||X||It does not predict when dissonance will occur. If dissonance exists, then the subject will most likely pursue one of the options expressed in the theory.|
|Relative simplicity||?||Daryl Bem agrees with the data but disagrees with the theory, saying it’s too complication; Em Griffin argues the complexity is necessary (Cooper).|
|Testable hypothesis||X||“If dissonance exists, then one of the routes to resolution will likely result.” This claim is falsifiable.|
|Practical Utility||X||Cognitive Dissonance Theory has been around for 50 years and applied in a broad spectrum of scholarly studies, including two studies in 2005 on Politics and Terror, not to mention widespread popular usage of its terminology (Cooper).|
Functional Perspective on Group Decision Making
This week, the Sojourn is going down to four pages instead of its typical six pages. Jason (editor-in-chief), Garrett (Director of Design), Molly (news editor) and I (managing editor) made this decision following the four functions of effective decision making, according to the Functional Perspective on Group Decision Making.
We first noticed we had a problem: five stories fell though. The news section is supposed to have nine stories, but five of them could not be written for one reason or another. Two stories were turned in this morning (three days after deadline!). Jason and I, along with the other editors, analyzed the problem by considering the extent of the problem. Was it that big of a deal at all?
Our goal as a group was to put out a newspaper Thursday, no matter what. Knowing that our goal was so, we could start identifying alternatives. We could either pull stories from previous issues that were not published, or we could print a shorter issue. This led to the evaluation of positive or negative characteristics: printing a full issue would mean pulling stories from past issues, stories that weren’t published the first time around. Those stories tend to need a lot of revision. Or we could go down the a four page issue, which would mean less writers get paid. Based on our weighing of the alternative solutions, we decided to go to a four page issue, even though there are definite drawbacks.