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Chapter Seven. Theories of Message Production. Background for Theories of Message Production. Research regarding message production (“encoding”) is central to communication Much traditional research has been driven by variables (e.g., compliance gaining research, communication apprehension)

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Chapter Seven


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    1. Chapter Seven Theories of Message Production

    2. Background for Theories of Message Production • Research regarding message production (“encoding”) is central to communication • Much traditional research has been driven by variables (e.g., compliance gaining research, communication apprehension) • Theories we will consider move beyond this to consider explanations linking “what’s in the head” with “messages produced”

    3. Constructivist Theory:Background Considerations • Constructivism developed by Jesse Delia and his colleagues • Constructivist ontology is largely social constructionist • Constructivist epistemology emphasizes the coding of open-ended responses from research participants

    4. Constructivist Theory:The Construct System • A construct system serves as an interpretive scheme for understanding the world • Construct systems can be described in terms of their differentiation, organization, and abstraction • If a person has a construct system high in these qualities, that person is said to be cognitively complex

    5. Constructivist Theory:Interpersonal Construct System • Construct systems are domain-specific • For constructivists, the most critical domain for constructs is the interpersonal construct system • Constructivists measure the complexity of the interpersonal construct system by using the Role Category Questionnaire (RCQ)

    6. Constructivist Theory:Person-Centered Communication • Constructivists consider messages produced in terms of the extent to which they are person-centered • Person-centered messages adapt to the needs of listeners, account for the situation, and attend to multiple goals • Person-centered communication can occur in a variety of contexts

    7. Constructivist Theory:Linking Constructs and Messages • The link between what is in the head and messages produced is clear: People who are more cognitively complex will produce more person-centered messages • Why? Many explanations have been proposed. The most promising suggests that cognitively complex individuals are better at attending to multiple goals in interaction

    8. Constructivist Theory:Message Design Logics • Message Design Logics (Barbara O’Keefe) propose different ways message sources cope with multiple goals in interaction • Three Message Design Logics have been proposed: (1) Expressive Design Logic, (2) Conventional Design Logic, and (3) Rhetorical Design Logic

    9. Action Assembly Theory:Background Considerations • Action Assembly Theory (AAT) developed by John Greene • AAT based on post-positivistic assumption of generative realism • Generative realism emphasizes the interaction of social, physiological, and psychological components in the scientific explanation of human behavior

    10. Structures In AAT:The Procedural Record • The cognitive component in AAT is the procedural record • A procedural record is part of an individual’s memory system • A procedural record contains information that links action, outcomes, and situations • Example: “If I yell at my roommate for being messy, she will refuse to cooperate.”

    11. Structures in AAT:Output Representation • AAT labels behaviors produced from procedural records as output representation • Output representations exist at a variety of hierarchical levels • These levels are (1) interactional representation, (2) ideational representation, (3) utterance representation, and 94) sensorimotor representation

    12. Processes in AAT:Activation Processes • Activation is the process by which particular procedural records are selected • Activation is a function of matches between the current situation and goals and information on the procedural record • Activation speed will depend on the strength of the procedural record (recency and frequency of activation)

    13. Processes in AAT:Assembly Processes • Once particular procedural records are activated, they must be assembled into coherent behavior • AAT sees assembly as a process of “coalition formation” of similar records. This process is sometimes hierarchical in nature.

    14. Action Assembly Theory:Evidence and Extension • Tests of AAT have been based on the tenet that “assembly takes time.” These have considered whether or not more complex message tasks take more time. • There has been general support for AAT from these tests. • AAT has also been developed further to deal with conceptual and empirical concerns

    15. Theories of Planning and Goals:The Goal Construct • Primary goals in interaction define what a person is trying to accomplish in interaction • Secondary goals are typically concerned with relational issues in interaction • We can also consider “meta-goals” that guide interaction. These include the goals of efficiency and appropriateness of interaction

    16. Theories of Planning and Goals:Planning Processes • Interaction plans provide the road map for achieving interaction goals • Plans are hierarchical and mental representations of goal-directed action sequences • The “hierarchy principle” suggests that when plans are thwarted, adjustments are made at low levels of plan abstraction