My Theory of Human Communication
Human Communication examines the processes involved when sending, receiving and understanding messages from one individual to another. The sending and interpretation of these messages have been the basis for extensive research.
Anthroposemiotics, the study of human communication was defined by Thomas Albert Sebeok in 1968. (Biologist Manqué) It incorporates communication that occurs among groups of people known as intrapersonal communication, communication with another person, known as interpersonal communication as well as cross cultural communication which involves communication between people of different cultures and nationalities. Human communication simply defined, is the successful transmission of a message from one individual to another. There are many ways in which messages can be transmitted and interpreted by others. This essay aims to discuss as well as define the processes involved in establishing communication.
In order for a message to be successfully transmitted between individuals, some common factors must exist between the parties involved. For example, there must be a common language between the sender and receiver of the message. As well as an agreement between the parties about how the context of the message should be interpreted, along with a common form of communication being used. Communication as it pertains to individuals can be categorized as being either verbal or non-verbal. Verbal communication can be seen as being anything that is expressed using words; these can be spoken or written. Non-verbal communication does not incorporate words but uses other mechanisms. Verbal communication incorporates vocal tone and sounds such as moans, screams and wails to express the intent of a message. Even though verbal communication is used frequently, it is sometimes misinterpreted.
Theorist David Berlo formulated a way to clarify the communication process based on the Shannon-Weaver model. He was of the belief that the most important variable in the communication process was the relationship between the person sending the message, sometimes referred to as the source or encoder, and the person receiving the message, known as the receiver or decoder. He created the SMCR model in 1960. In this model Berlo highlights five important elements of verbal communication, speaking, writing, listening, reading and thought or reasoning. The SMCR model suggests that for communication to occur a Source must send a Message through a Channel to a Receiver. He argues that, the way people communicate is dependent upon their position in the “socio – cultural system”, whether they are wealthy or poor, educated or non- educated. Their attitudes towards themselves and the person they are communicating with as well as the attitude towards the message that is being communicated are all crucial to the process. He claims that these are all factors or attributes affecting the source as well as the receiver. The message that is being sent is filled with information that is provided by the source, known as “content” which expresses the purpose of the message. Vocal tone can act like the “treatment” of the message and “code” can be seen as how the message is structured. From here the message is sent through a “channel,” which according to Berlo, is made up of the five senses; seeing, hearing, touching, smelling and tasting. The receiver is then able to interpret the meaning of the message received from the channel. If communication is effective, the receiver is able to know exactly what was transmitted and its appropriate intention. (David Berlo’s SMCR Model, 1960)
Non-verbal communication however, can take many forms, such as written messages, but the most effective is body language. Body language allows for emotions to be transmitted from one individual to another. This can be done via gestures. According to the Encarta Dictionary, a gesture is “a movement made with a part of the body in order to express meaning or emotion, or to communicate an instruction.” Expressive behaviors like touching, hugging or kissing are also efficient ways to transmit messages. Some examples include shrugging shoulders to express doubt and rolling eyes to suggest disinterest. The use of hand movements combined with facial expressions as a form of communication is also very effective. For example, pointing a finger and a serious demeanor can be interpreted as anger. Sign Language is another system of communication. It requires the use of hand signs to form words, and is most successful among the hearing impaired.
Human beings have the ability to transmit messages in many ways. However, the proper use of expressive, listening and processing skills are most successful for communication. The intent of the messages as well as the necessary skills of the senders and receivers of these messages allows for, in most cases effective communication to occur. It is possible, however for miscommunication to take place due to incorrect use of diction, extraneous emotional factors or an inability to effectively interpret basic information because of leaning or understanding disabilities. Human communication over the years has grown to incorporate not only face to face interaction, but also communication via computers and other portable devices via text messages. Now, even emotions can be sent virtually thorough the use of emotion icons, thus allowing the evolution of this realm of communication.
BERLO, DAVID. "BERLO'S S-M-C-R MODEL." INTRODUCTORY MODELS & BASIC CONCEPTS. 21 June 2003. 25 Aug.2007
Deely, John. "Thomas Albert Sebeok, 'Biologist Manqué.'" Sebeok Memorial Essay. University of St.Thomas, Houston: International Association for Semiotic Studies 2004 World Congress, Lyon. 3 Sept. 2007