The Echoes of the Mind (133) Communication


An individual does not communicate; he engages in or becomes part of communication. ~ American anthropologist Ray Birdwhistell

The interdependence of people is abundantly demonstrated by their desire to communicate. However conducted, communication is the antithesis of apathy.

As individuals engage in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication channels afford them a wealth of potential information. ~ American communication scholar Judee Burgoon et al

The impulse behind communication is information, commonly aimed at reducing uncertainty. This need may be guised. Beyond apparent intention to its receiver, reassurance and words of comfort seek to maintain good relations.

Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless. ~ Albanian Catholic sister Mother Teresa

People communicate every possible way: conversationally, nonverbally, and via printed, audio, and video media, including email and instant messaging. Communication accessible to large audiences forms the core of culture, which reflects the belief and value systems of a society.

Many social problems can be traced to interpersonal communication difficulties, just as many proposed interventions to solve social ills also depend on effective interpersonal communication. ~ Judee Burgoon et al

Human communication is a system with 5 central properties: interdependence, identity, hierarchy, openness, and equifinality.

Regular communication among people indicates a degree of interdependence. This interdependence creates an identity that defines the relationship among members in a group.

A change in a group is reflected by a change in communication. The stream of communication between a couple (dyad) changes as their relationship changes; so too with members of a larger group, and when a group loses or adds a member.

Human sociality tends toward hierarchies. Communication systems reflect this. The social context of communication is nested: intrapersonal, interpersonal, group, organizational, and societal.

Making conversation involves more than anticipating when to begin speaking. It is a cooperative venture that requires adherence to the rules of social engagement. ~ Dutch linguists Mark Dingemanse & Nick Enfield

Dynamic systems exhibit a degree of openness. The level and information content of communication within a group reflects its openness. Close-ended communication effectively suffocates the vitality of a group. In contrast, a more open communication system develops a homeostasis of self-regulation.

Interpersonal communication is relationship; the events of acting toward and with one another. ~ American communication scholars Aubrey Fischer & Katherine Adams

A closed system is deterministic, in that its end state (conclusion) is set by initial input. In contrast, open systems are equifinal: outputs may differ from inputs. This variability has a complement, in that different inputs may lead to similar outcomes. Communication openness and equifinality are intertwined.