Publication Year: 1991
“Overall, Ritchie provides an excellent introduction to Shannon's theories of communication and the associated ideas concerning information.” – Library Quarterly SERIES QUOTE: “The second volume in the series is titled information and the third volume is Gatekeeping. Taking their lead from Chaffee, both Ritchie and Shoemaker carefully explicate the concepts which focus their texts. As is the first volume in the series, these are well-thought out, succinct, and very readable volumes. Additional titles are planned…. If the standards set by these three are continued, this promises to be an exciting series which provides clarity and focus to the study of communication.” – ETC: A Review of General Semantics Challenging, intriguing, complex–defining information has occupied many of the best minds in the field of communication for ...
- Front Matter
- Back Matter
- Chapter 1: Information in Communication Science
- Information in Recent Communication Literature
- The Mathematical Theory of Communication
- Historical Perspective
- Signal Transmission as Metaphor
- Matching Concept to Theory
- Chapter 2: Communication: Signal Transmission and Interpretation
- Signal Transmission
- Data, Relevance, and Information
- Chapter 3: Measuring the Variety of a Set
- The Power of a Code
- A Basic Metric: The Binary Set
- Codes with Unequal Distribution of Elements
- What H Measures
- Some Useful Characteristics of H
- Chapter 4: Redundancy: How Structure Affects Variety
- Code Efficiency
- How Internal Structure Contributes to Communication
- How Internal Structure Affects H
- Chapter 5: Structure and Relevance
- The Structure of the Transmission System
- The Structure of a Message
- Social Structure
- Chapter 6: Uncertainty
- Defining Uncertainty
- Uncertainty and False Paradoxes
- Managing Uncertainty in Human Communication
- Uncertainty in Communication: Causes and Remedies
- Measuring Uncertainty
- Chapter 7: Summary: Distinctions and Connections
Communication Concepts[Page ii]
This series reviews enduring concepts that have guided scholarly inquiry in communication, including their intellectual evolution and their uses in current research. Each book is designed to provide organized background reading for those who intend further study of the subject.
EDITORStevenH.Chaffee, Stanford University
ASSOCIATE EDITORSCharlesR.Berger, University of California, DavisJosephN.Cappella, University of PennsylvaniaRobertP.Hawkins, University of Wisconsin-MadisonMarkR.Levy, University of Maryland, College ParkNeilM.Malamuth, University of California, Los AngelesJackMcLeod, University of Wisconsin-MadisonPeterMonge, University of Southern CaliforniaByronReeves, Stanford UniversityMichaelSchudson, University of California, San DiegoEllenWartella, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
EDITORIAL ASSISTANTCarolineSchooler, Stanford University
Copyright © 1991 by Sage Publications, Inc.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
For information address:
SAGE Publications, Inc.
2455 Teller Road
Newbury Park, California 91320
SAGE Publications Ltd.
6 Bonhill Street
London EC2A 4PU
SAGE Publications India Pvt. Ltd.
Greater Kailash I
New Delhi 110 048 India
Printed in the United States of America
ISBN 0-8039-3904-3 (c) ISBN 0-8039-3905-1 (p)
FIRST PRINTING, 1991
Sage Production Editor: Astrid Virding
When citing a Communications Concepts issue, please follow this reference style:
Ritchie, L. David (1991). Communication Concepts 2: Information. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
Each volume in the Communication Concepts series deals at length with an idea of enduring importance to the study of human communication. Through analysis and interpretation of the scholarly literature, specialists in each area explore the uses to which a major concept has been put, and point to promising directions for future work.
Information is clearly a—perhaps the—central concept in the study of communication. We asked L. David Ritchie to range across several levels of conceptual usage in this one small book: information's technical meaning in engineering; the complex meanings of information and various pseudonyms—uncertainty, structure, entropy, redundancy—in specialized academic studies; and its metaphorical usage by communication theorists. He has, with our encouragement, concentrated largely on the middle of this list, developing the academic and theoretical meanings that are most applicable to the human side of communication. His examples cover a wide range, including such domains as interpersonal communication, group dynamics, mass media, social structure, social influence, decision making, organizational communication, and the history of technology. This book offers a synthesis that is relevant to the interests of virtually every student of communication processes.
Far from having an agreed-upon, self-evident meaning, information is a challenging topic for conceptualization that has occupied many of the best minds in the field of communication for half a century. Professor Ritchie deserves our thanks for summarizing and resolving many difficult issues with this book. This volume should help focus the thinking of the next generation of scholars, who, we are certain, will find further stimulation in the concept of information.—StevenH.Chaffee, Series EditorJosephCappella, Associate Editor
The ideas presented in this monograph began to take shape while I was a graduate student at Stanford University; the first drafts of several chapters were written at the University of Wisconsin—Madison. I am deeply indebted, for my general approach to concept explication and theory development, to the inspiration and teaching of Steven H. Chaffee, Donald F. Roberts, and Richard F. Carter. Both Peter Monge and Joseph Cappella were kind enough to read the manuscript in considerable detail and spare me thereby from at least some of my most embarrassing mistakes. The ideas presented herein have also benefited from extensive discussions with many colleagues and friends, including Klaus Krippendorff, Vincent Price, John Peters, David Mortensen, James Dillard, Isabelle Bauman, and Eugene Buder. My wife, LaJean Humphries, has been a consistent source of advice and encouragement. I hope the product will prove to be worthy of their trust and friendship.
References[Page 68]1989). The electronic farmer's marketplace: New technologies and agricultural information. Journal of Communication, 39(3), 124–136. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1460-2466.1989.tb01046.x(1986). The construction of reality. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511527234, & (1984). “Secret tests”: Social strategies for acquiring information about the state of the relationship. Human Communication Research, 11, 171–201. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2958.1984.tb00044.x, & (1986). The control revolution: Technological and economic origins of the information society. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.(1986). Preprocessing: Neglected component of sociocybemetic models. In R.F.Geyer & J.vander Zouwen (Eds.), Sociocybernetic paradoxes (pp. 119–130). London: Sage., & (1979). Beyond initial interaction: Uncertainty, understanding, and the development of interpersonal relationships. In H.Giles & N.St.Clair (Eds.), Language and social psychology (pp. 122–144). Oxford: Basil Blackwell.(1975). Some explorations in initial interaction and beyond: Toward a developmental theory of interpersonal communication. Human Communication Research, 1, 99–112. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2958.1975.tb00258.x, & (1976). Interpersonal epistemology and interpersonal communication. In G.R.Miller (Ed.), Explorations in interpersonal communication (pp. 149–171). Beverly Hills, CA: Sage., , , , & (1988). Fundamentals of communication ((2nd ed.). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.1989). Communication theory. Salem, WI: Sheffield.(1989). Information and socioeconomic class in U.S. constitutional law. Journal of Communication, 39(3), 163–179. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1460-2466.1989.tb01050.x(1977). A sketch of a cognitive approach to comprehension: Some thoughts about what it means to comprehend. In P.N.Johnson-Laird & P.C.Wason (Eds.), Thinking: Readings in cognitive science (pp. 377–399). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press., & (1989). Speech communication (, & (6th ed.). Dubuque, IA: William C Brown.1987). Basic speech communication: Principles and practices. New York: Harper & Row., & (1977). Media rich, media poor: Two studies of diversity in agenda-holding. Journalism Quarterly, 54, 466–476. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/107769907705400304, & (1965). The communication of information. In A.G.Smith (Ed.), Communication and culture (pp. 35–40). New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.(1982). On human communication: A review, a survey, and a criticism (([Page 69]3rd ed.). Cambridge: MIT Press. (Original work published 1957) Printed in the United States 15351988). Mathematics as information technologies. Journal of Communication, 32(2), 33–48. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1460-2466.1988.tb02045.x(1986). Organizational information requirements, media richness and structural design. Management Science, 32, 207–224. http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.32.5.554, & (1984). Toward a model of organizations as interpretation systems. Academy of Management Review, 9, 284–295., & (1970). Clozentropy: A procedure for testing English language proficiency of foreign students. Speech Monographs, 37, 36–46. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03637757009375647(1989). Theories of mass communication (, & (5th ed.). New York: Longman.1988). Understanding mass communication (, & (3rd ed.). Boston: Houghton-Mifflin.1988). Human communication: The basic course ((4th ed.). New York: Harper & Row.1989). Evolution and consciousness: The role of speech in the origin and development of human nature. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.(1948). Reconstruction in philosophy. Boston: Beacon. (Original work published 1921)(1964). An experimental application of “cloze” procedure and attitude measures to listening comprehension. Speech Monographs, 31, 103–108. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03637756409375397, & (1985). Anticipated interaction and information seeking. Human Communication Research, 12, 243–258. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2958.1985.tb00075.x(1981). Knowledge and the flow of information. Cambridge: MIT Press.(1984). Ambiguity as strategy in organizational communication. Communication Monographs, 51, 227–242. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03637758409390197(1986). Meaning and interpretation in organizations. Quarterly Journal of Speech, 72, 88–97. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00335638609383760(1981). Information in organizations as signal and symbol. Administrative Science Quarterly, 26, 171–186. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/2392467, & (1986). Unpredictability as correlate of reader enjoyment of news articles. Journalism Quarterly, 62, 334–339. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/107769908506200216(1984). Source, destination, and entropy: Reassessing the role of information theory in communication research. Communication Research, 11, 453–476. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/009365084011004001, & (1959). Information theory. In S.Koch (Ed.), Psychology: A study of a science (Vol. 2, pp. 611–636). New York: McGraw-Hill.(1989). The surveillance society: Information technology and bureaucratic social control. Journal of Communication, 39(3), 61–76. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1460-2466.1989.tb01040.x(1987). The mind's new science: A history of the cognitive revolution. New York: Basic Books.(1962). Uncertainty and structure as psychological concepts. New York: John Wiley.(1974). The processing of information and structure. Potomac, MD: Lawrence Erlbaum.(1984). The constitution of society. Berkeley: University of California Press.(1974). Frame analysis: An essay on the organization of experience. New York: Harper & Row.(1975). Logic and conversation. In P.Cole & J.Morgan (Eds.), Syntax and semantics: 3. Speech acts (pp. 41–58). New York: Academic Press.(1989). Understanding science: Studies of communication and information. Communication Research, 16, 600–614. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/009365089016005003([Page 70]1928). Transmission of information. Bell System Technical Journal, 7, 535.(1958). The psychology of interpersonal relations. New York: John Wiley. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/10628-000(1989). Cognition and social information-gathering strategies: Reinterpreting assessment in second-guessing. Human Communication Research, 16, 297–321. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2958.1989.tb00213.x, , , & (1968a). Effects of noise and difficulty level of input information in auditory, visual, and audiovisual information processing. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 26, 99–105. http://dx.doi.org/10.2466/pms.1918.104.22.168(1968b). On channel effectiveness. AV Communication Review, 16, 245–267.(1968c). Output, error, equivocation, and recalled information in auditory, visual, and audiovisual information processing with constraint and noise, journal of Communication, 18, 325–353. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1460-2466.1968.tb00082.x(1969). Intelligence in auditory, visual, and audiovisual information processing. AV Communication Review, 17, 272–282.(1986). Communicating effectively. New York: Random House., & . (1968). Comments on Hsia's auditory, visual, and audiovisual information processing. Journal of Communication, 18, 346–349. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1460-2466.1968.tb00083.x(1986). Anticipation of future interaction and information exchange in initial interaction. Human Communication Research, 13, 41–75. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2958.1986.tb00095.x(1975). Information theory. In G.J.Hanneman & W.J.McEwen (Eds.), Communication and behavior (pp. 351–389). Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.(1977). Information systems: An overview. In B.D.Ruben (Ed.), Communication yearbook (Vol. 1, pp. 149–171). New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction.(1984). Paradox and information. In B.Dervin & M.Voigt (Eds.), Progress in communication sciences (Vol. 5, pp. 45–72). Norwood, NJ: Ablex.(1986). Information theory: Structural models for qualitative data. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage. Krull, R. J., Watt, J. H., & Lichty, L. W. (1977). Entropy and structure: Two measures of complexity in television programs. Communication Research, 4, 61–86.(1989). Can information loss be reversed? Evidence for serial reconstruction. Communication Research, 16, 3–24. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/009365089016001001, , & (1980). Metaphors we live by. Chicago: University of Chicago Press., & (1989). Theories of human communication ((3rd ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.1975). Clozentropy as a measure of international communication comprehension. Public Opinion Quarterly, 39, 301–312. http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/268230, & (1974). Clozentropy: A new technique for analyzing audience response to film. Speech Monographs, 41, 245–252. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03637757409375843(Machlup, F., & Mansfield, U. (Eds.). (1983). The study of information: Interdisciplinary messages. New York: John Wiley.1966). Information theory and esthetic perception (J.E.Cohen, Trans.). Chicago: University of Illinois Press. (Original work published 1958)([Page 71]1989). Information poverty and political inequality: Citizenship in the age of privatized communications. Journal of Communication, 39(3), 180–195. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1460-2466.1989.tb01051.x, & (1988). Work, information, and information work: A retrospective and prospective framework. In I.H.Simpson & R.L.Simpson (Eds.), Research in the sociology of work: Vol. 4. High-tech work (pp. 311–333). Greenwich, CT: JAI.(1990). Information work in the United States, 1900–1980: An information processing model. Unpublished paper, Stanford University., & (1957). The measurement of meaning. Urbana: University of Illinois Press., , & (1988). The dreams of reason: The computer and the rise of the science of complexity. New York: Simon & Schuster.(1966). The effects of authorship, topic, structure, and time of composition on letter redundancy in English texts. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 5, 28–34. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0022-5371%2866%2980103-2(B. (1983). Communication networks and the development of romantic relationships: An expansion of uncertainty reduction theory. Human Communication Research, 10, 55–80. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/hcre.1983.10.issue-1, &1988). Understanding and sharing: An introduction to speech communication (, & (4th ed.). Dubuque, IA: William C Brown.1984). From hylemorphism to hubris: A history and analysis of information Paper presented at the International Communication Association Annual Meeting, San Francisco.(1986). Institutional sources of intellectual poverty in communication research. Communication Research, 13, 527–559. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/009365086013004002(1980). Language and learning: The debate between Jean Piaget and Noam Chomsky. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.(1990). Signals: The science of telecommunications. New York: Scientific American Library., & (1985). Events that increase uncertainty in personal relationships. Human Communication Research, 11, 593–604. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2958.1985.tb00062.x, & (1976). Mechanisms of intelligence: Preconditions for language. In S.R.Harnad et al. (Eds.), Origins and evolution of language and speech (pp. 544–561). New York Academy of Sciences.(1936). The philosophy of rhetoric. New York: Oxford University Press.(1986). Shannon and Weaver: Unravelling the paradox of information. Communication Research, 13, 278–298. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/009365086013002007(1991). Another turn of the information revolution: Data, relevance, and the information society. Communication Research, 18, 412–427. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/009365091018003006(1989). Informational bypass: Research library access to U.S. telecommunications periodicals. Journal of Communication, 39(3), 104–109. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1460-2466.1989.tb01044.x(1955). Information theory and mass communication. Journalism Quarterly, 32, 131–146. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/107769905503200201(1971). The nature of communication between humans. In W.Schramm & D.F.Roberts (Eds.), The process and effects of mass communication (pp. 1–53). Urbana: University of Illinois Press.(1973). Men, messages, and media: A look at human communication. New York: Harper & Row.(1988). Introduction to speech communication. Glenview, IL: Scott, Foresman.([Page 72]1988). Communication theories (, & (2nd ed.). New York: Longman.1938). A symbolic analysis of relay and switching circuits. Transactions of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers, 57, 1–11. http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/T-AIEE.1938.5057767(1948, July & October). The mathematical theory of communication. Bell System Technical Journal, pp. 379–423, 623–656.(1949). The mathematical theory of communication. In & , The mathematical theory of communication (pp. 31–125). Urbana: University of Illinois Press.(1956). The bandwagon. IRE Transactions on Information Theory, 2, 3. http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/TIT.1956.1056774(1949). The mathematical theory of communication. Urbana: University of Illinois Press., & (1990). Processing social information in messages: Social group familiarity, fiction versus nonfiction, and subsequent beliefs. Communication Research, 17, 327–343. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/009365090017003003(1966). Communication and culture. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.(1986). Relevance: Communication and cognition. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press., & (1987). Precis of relevance: Communication and cognition, with discussion following. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 10, 697–754. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0140525X00055345, & (1980). Language and literacy: The sociolinguistics of reading and writing. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.(1953). “Cloze procedure”: A new tool for measuring readability. Journalism Quarterly, 30, 415–433.(1956). Recent developments in the use of cloze procedure. Journalism Quarterly, 33, 42–48. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/107769905603300106(1968). Meaning and mind: A study in the psychology of language. New York: Oxford University Press.(1983). Human communication (, & (4th ed.). New York: Random House.1974). An information theory measure for television programming. Communication Research, 1, 44–64. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/009365027400100103, & (1983). Effects of static and dynamic complexity on children's attention and recall of television instruction. In J.Bryant & D.R.Anderson (Eds.), Children's understanding of television. New York: Academic Press., & (1949). Recent contributions to the mathematical theory of communication. In & , The mathematical theory of communication (pp. 1–28). Urbana: University of Illinois Press.(1979). The social psychology of organizing. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.(1950). The human use of human beings: Cybernetics and society. New York: Houghton-Mifflin.(1971). The insect societies. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.(
About the Author