Communication Theory

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    • 00:01

      [MUSIC][Communication Theory]

    • 00:11

      ARTHUR ASA BERGER: My name is Arthur Asa Berger.I am Professor Emeritus of Broadcastand Electronic Communication Arts at San Francisco StateUniversity.This tutorial is about communication.In it I will define communication,I will offer some models of the communication process,and I'll discuss a theory which enablesus to understand immediate preferences people have.

    • 00:35

      ARTHUR ASA BERGER [continued]: [Communication definitions]The problem with defining communicationis that there are many different scholars whooffer slightly different definitions of communication.But if there's something that's common to allof these definitions of communication,it involves the transfer of messages from someoneto someone else and the social impact of these messages.

    • 00:56

      ARTHUR ASA BERGER [continued]: [Communication model: Jakobson]There are many different models of the communication process.One of the most famous is from the linguist Roman Jakobsonwho argued that communication involves a sender sendinga message to a receiver.The message is in a code and the context of the messageis important.

    • 01:19

      ARTHUR ASA BERGER [continued]: So it's a rather complicated process.Jakobson's model of the communication processargues that there's a sender, a message, and a receiver.The sender sends the message to the receiver.The question is whether the receiver understands completelyand fully what the message is.

    • 01:39

      ARTHUR ASA BERGER [continued]: That is why communication's such a complicated process.One important aspect of Jakobson's theoryinvolves a matter of context.Because the context shapes to allow our understanding whata message is.For example, let's take the phrase,pass the hypodermic needle.If that phrase is uttered in a dark alley,we suspect that drug dealing is going on.

    • 02:04

      ARTHUR ASA BERGER [continued]: But if it's uttered in a hospital,we suggest that a physician is doing something for a patient.So context plays an important rolein the way we understand messages.[Communication model: Lasswell]The second model I want to talk aboutis by a political scientist named Harold Lasswell.His model is very simple.

    • 02:24

      ARTHUR ASA BERGER [continued]: He says, who says what in which channelto whom with what effect?So this means there are a number of different aspectsin the communication process.Who is the person who sends the message?What is the message that is being sent?Who is the receiver of the message?In what effect involves the questionof how communication affects peoplewho receive the communication?

    • 02:52

      ARTHUR ASA BERGER [continued]: Now not all communication theoristsbelieve that communication always has effects,and that is an important aspect of communication.Because sometimes there are communications madewhich are not based on achieving a certain kind of effect thatmay be desired by the sender of the message.The question about the Lasswell modelis that unlike many other communication models,Lasswell is concerned with the effects of communication.

    • 03:17

      ARTHUR ASA BERGER [continued]: And some scholars who have elaborated communication modelsdon't believe that you should alwaysbe concerned with effects, that some communication isn't basedon affecting other people.There are certain similarities between Lasswell's modeland Jakobson's model.Lasswell asks who.

    • 03:41

      ARTHUR ASA BERGER [continued]: Jakobson says the sender.Lasswell asks what.Jakobson says the message.Lasswell asks whom.Jakobson says the receiver.So essentially, the process is similar.A sender sends a message to a receiver and the rest of itis all of secondary importance.

    • 04:04

      ARTHUR ASA BERGER [continued]: [The focal points in the analysis of media]Next model is a model that I developed,which I call the focal points in the analysis of media.In order to make it easy to understand and to remember,everything starts with a except the term medium.So we have an artist or a group of artists,we have the work of art, which would be the message,we have the audience, which is a segment of society thatreceives the message, and we haveAmerica, which is where the audience is located.

    • 04:38

      ARTHUR ASA BERGER [continued]: But of course you could use that in other countriesand just switch America to France or Germanyor wherever it is.So we have an artist, a work of art or a text or a message,we have an audience that receives the message,and we have the society in which the audience is located,and in the middle we have media.

    • 04:59

      ARTHUR ASA BERGER [continued]: And that medium could be talk, it could be television,it could be radio, it could be print, anything.What's important to understand is all of these focal pointsare related to one another.That is, sometimes we want to focuson the work about that is the message, the mediumthrough which it is sent, and the audience to whom itis directed.

    • 05:22

      ARTHUR ASA BERGER [continued]: Sometimes we want to focus on the work of art, the mediumand American culture, how it reflectsour affects certain aspects of American culture.So depending upon our interests, wecan focus our attention on any one, two, three,or all the different focal points in studying the medium.Now I developed this list of focal pointsbecause I thought when we are interested in studying mediaand communication, there are certain topics of interestto us.

    • 05:52

      ARTHUR ASA BERGER [continued]: One is who is creating the communication?The artist.One is, how is it sent to others?The medium.One is, to whom is it sent?To the audience.Another is the society in which itis sent, which affects the audienceand which affects the artist.

    • 06:13

      ARTHUR ASA BERGER [continued]: So the focal points are a perspectiveon studying communication that enables us to sort of turnour attention to different aspects thatmay be of importance, depending on what we're studying.Different scholars can focus on different aspectsof this model.Some might be interested in audiences,some might be interested in the creative processand focus on the artist, some mightbe interested in the work of art and how it is created,and others may be interested in the impact of a work of arton American culture or some other culture.

    • 06:42

      ARTHUR ASA BERGER [continued]: So what this does is it alerts peoplewho are interested in media and in communicationto different things they may wantto focus their attention on.[Aberrant decoding]Now one of the basic problems in communicationsis that people frequently don't understandthe message you are sending.You think you're as clear as can be,but they don't understand what you meant.

    • 07:03

      ARTHUR ASA BERGER [continued]: This is called aberrant decoding,and we see this example in mass media, for example.Advertising companies create a commercial.They may use a word in it that the person whoreceives that, who watches that commercial doesn't know.Or they may make an allusion to somethingthat the person who watches this commercial doesn't know.So in many cases, the problem is the creatorof these advertisements have a certain educational leveland sophistication and so forth that theyreceivers of these messages don't have,and so they don't interpret the messages correctly.

    • 07:38

      ARTHUR ASA BERGER [continued]: Now the positive side of that is itmeans it's more difficult to sort of control peopleby communication.But the negative side of it is, if you're in an advertisingagency, you want people to get the message youthink you're sending them, but they don't always get it.[Comparison of theories]I notice that the Jakobson theory and the Lasswell theoryare very similar, and so I made a little chart showing how theywere similar to one another.

    • 08:02

      ARTHUR ASA BERGER [continued]: And then when I looked at my focal points theory,I discovered that actually it wasvery similar to the Lasswell and Jakobson theory,so I made a chart showing how they arevery similar to one another.So actually what it boils down to isall of these models of communicationinvolve a sender is sending a message to a receiverin the final analysis.

    • 08:27

      ARTHUR ASA BERGER [continued]: And then the different aspects of thatthat you can talk about.But that is sort of central to the communication process.A sender sends a message to a receiver.Everything else is sort of connectedto that basic aspect of the communication process.[Key points: Definitions of communication, Jakobson theory,Lasswell theory, Focal points in the analysis of media,Aberrant decoding, Comparison of theories]What we learned in this tutorial in communication theoryis that the process of communicationis a very complicated one.

    • 08:58

      ARTHUR ASA BERGER [continued]: There are a number of different models of the communicationprocess, but they all involve someone sending a messageto someone else.[MUSIC]

Communication Theory

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Abstract

Professor Arthur Asa Berger defines communication, offers some models of the communication process and discusses a theory that enables us to umderstand people's immediate preferences with regards to communication.

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Communication Theory

Professor Arthur Asa Berger defines communication, offers some models of the communication process and discusses a theory that enables us to umderstand people's immediate preferences with regards to communication.

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