NOISE That which interferes with mass communication
Channel Noise • External interference • The message doesn’t make it through as sent. • Examples • Big globs of pudding are somehow spilled onto your newspaper and smear the text. • A rat eats through your cable line right in the middle of South Park so you don’t get to hear the Chef’s last words.
Semantic Noise • You can clearly hear the message but can’t understand it. • Examples: • As Martha Stewart is about to share her prize winning bunt cake recipe, she suddenly begins talking in Serbian. If you don’t know Serbian, you will never, ever make a quality bunt cake. • Dr. Phil tells a distraught woman she has Psychobresiosis . . . And he doesn’t explain what that means.
Psychological Noise • The receiver (audience member) internally distorts the message to fit either preconceived ideas or to block out unpleasant information or ideas. • There are three ways this occurs.
The Three Types of Pscyhological Noise • Selective Exposure • Selective Perception • Selective Retention
Selective Exposure • Ge tend to expose ourselves to information that reinforces rather than contradicts our beliefs or opinions. • Example: People who think there are WMDs in Iraq won’t listen to National Public Radio or Air America where that notion is debunked. Likewise, people who believe there are no WMDs in Iraq won’t ordinarily tune in to the Fox News Network.
Selective Perception • We tend to ignore what we don’t believe, or distort the message in our minds to make the message fit what we believe. • Example: Some religious people are seeing a pro-Christian message in the book and film The Da Vinci Code which claims Christ had a wife, kids and a killer mortgage. • People who question church teachings think The Da Vinci Code shows how the church distorted history and demeans females.
Selective Retention • A person remembers what they want to remember, that which fits with ingrained prejudices. • This can end up in a kind of institutional memory. Many histories of the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906 cite the bravery and fortitude of the citizens… but ignore the darker truths: that Chinese and other minorities were harrassed, victimized, even murdered; that thievery was common; that unscrupulous merchants drastically overpriced goods.