The definition of interpersonal communication:
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The definition of interpersonal communication: An ongoing process in which individuals exchange messages whose meanings are influenced by the history of the relationship and the experience of the participants . How do we define culture? (p. 35) Traditionally:

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The definition of interpersonal communication:

An ongoing process in which individuals exchange messages whose meanings are influenced by the history of the relationship and the experience of the participants.


How do we define culture? (p. 35)

  • Traditionally:

    A learned system of knowledge, behaviors, attitudes, beliefs, values, and norms that is shared by a group of people.


No more “subcultures”?

  • Different genders, gays, lesbians, African Americans, Jews, Amish, Mennonite, Asians, Latinos all comprise a co-culture?

  • “Co” alludes to equal or “partnered” cultures… Are these other cultures really equals?


  • Low context culture - Language primarily expresses thoughts and ideas (U.S.) (p. 39)

  • High-contextculture - Relies heavily on subtle, nonverbal cues (Asia) (p. 39)

  • North Americans tend to talk about their attributes – I am short, tall, fat, etc.

  • Chinese, Filipinos, South Americans – I am father, employee, etc.


  • Individualistic culture – primary responsibility is helping themselves (p. 40)

  • Collective culture – team mentality; loyalties to extended family, communities (p. 40)

  • Power distance (Hofstede) – degree in which society members accept unequal distribution of power. Ex. Rich and poor – each are all good people. (All on p. 42)

  • High power distance cultures respects authority and is submissive.

  • Low power distance cultures support the notion that challenging authority is acceptable.


  • Uncertainty avoidance – degree to which members of a culture feel threatened by ambiguous situations. (p. 43)

  • Achievement vs. nurturing -- Material success versus relationships. (p. 44)

  • Task/Social Roles (p. 60).

  • Ethnocentrism (p. 56)

  • Different communication cues

  • Stereotyping/prejudice (p. 57)

  • Assuming similarity


  • Linguistic Determinism – The worldview of a culture is shaped and reflected by the language of its members. (p. 48)

  • Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis (p. 49): Language Shapes a Culture! Words within a culture can become a part of every day life.

  • How has language shaped our culture?


  • Be knowledgeable, motivated, and skilled… BUT can these things erase intrinsic beliefs?

  • Learn more about the culture/ask questions—does this matter?

  • Develop a “third culture”—huh?

  • Tolerate ambiguity (p. 55).

  • Develop mindfulness—conscious awareness.

  • Avoid negative judgments about another culture—is it that simple?


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