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170 Cards in this Set

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refers to the theoretical principles and concepts that explain behaviors occurring within a specific communication context

Uncertainty reduction theory (URT)

helps us understand how knowledge can assist us in forming effective interpersonal relationships by predicting the attitudes, behaviors, and emotions of others

Passive strategies

typically involve observation and social comparison

Ex: we observe other cultures and make assessments as to the differences that exist

Active strategies

require us to engage in interactions with others to learn additional info about the other person

Ex: professor assigns you an international conversation partner => may ask other international students what they know about your partners culture, may participate in online chat room w/ people from that culture

Inactive strategies

typically involve a face-to-face encounter between two individuals to reduce uncertainty


partners engage in this as a means of sharing information about themselves with others

*Some cultures engage in this more than others


involves applying knowledge to specific situations in an attempt to explain behaviors that are occurring

*involves exploring the roots, or courses of communication, rather than simply explaining behavior


refers to out awareness of the feelings and emotions involved in diverse approaches to relationships and communication

*encompasses a willingness to understand the behavior of others


refers to the tendency to perceive our own ways of behaving and thinking as being correct, or acceptable, and judging the behavior of others as being "strange", incorrect, or inferior


are the specific communication behaviors which contribute to competent and effective interpersonal communication

*Ex: effective listening, assertiveness, responsiveness, nonverbal sensitivity, language comprehension, conflict management, etc.

*Ex: slurping noise in Japan (pg. 270)


shared perceptions which shape the communication patterns and expectations of a group of people


refers to the unique qualities or characteristics that distinguish individuals and groups from one another


refers to the process of learning about one's cultural norms and expectations

*This is critical for an individual to become a functioning member of society


refers to the common heritage, or background, shared by a group of people

*Ex: Irish-American, Polish-American, Mexican-American


refers to genetically inherited biological characteristics such as hair texture and color, eye shape, skin color, and facial structure

*Ex: Caucasian, African American, Asian

Regional differences

Include variety in the amount of animation, perceived openness, informal rapport, and rate of speech delivery

*Ex: even when values of urban vs. rural cultures were analyzed, there were differences

Social class

stratification on the basis of educational, occupational, or financial backgrounds, resulting in classifications and status differentials


the idea that we choose to be with people who are similar to us

Characteristics of Culture

*Culture is learned

*Culture is dynamic

*Culture is pervasive

Explicit learning

involves actual instructions regarding the preferred way of behaving

*Ex: a school may print a brochure that specifies the dress code

Implicit learning

occurs via observation; we are not directly told what behaviors are preferred; rather they are learned by observing others


the process of selecting, organizing, and interpreting stimuli into something that makes sense or is meaningful

*Our perceptions cause us to view relationships and communicate in ways that are potentially different from the ways of others

Personal orientation system

Our set of predispositions (comprised of one's needs, beliefs, values, and attitudes) which serves as a guide for thoughts, actions, and behaviors


Strong feelings of discomfort or desire which motivate them to achieve satisfaction or comfort

*Strong relationship exists between needs and interpersonal communication, with communication serving as the primary mechanism through which we satisfy needs


are an important part of understanding our interactions with diverse others because they not only influence our conscious reactions to situations, but dominate our subconscious thoughts as well; they are our personal convictions regarding the truth or existence of things


a personal philosophy, either explicitly or implicitly expressed, that influences the choice of alternative actions which may be available to an individual

*Values are communicated through our behaviors; the majority of our actions are reflective of the values which are firmly established in our personal orientation system


Tendencies to respond in favorable or unfavorable ways toward people or objects


when generalizations about a group are made and are then attributed to any indicvidual who either associate with, or are members of, the group

Racial profiling

occurs when law enforcement or other officials use race as a basis for investigating a person of criminal involvement

*This is a result of applying the single characteristic of race in determining whether a person should be viewed as threatening


another form of attitude which involves negative reactions toward a group of people based on inflexible and inaccurate assumptions

*involves "pre-judging" individuals

*Most common forms in the U.S. = racism, sexism, and ageism


refers to prejudice against an individual or group based on their racial composition


Negative communication toward persons based on their age


refers to negative communication directed toward persons of a particular sex

Verbal abuse

refers to the process of engaging in comments or jokes that are insulting or demeaning to a targeting group


involves denying an individual or group of people their rights

*While prejudice involves negative cognitions, or thoughts, ______ is displayed when behaviors are used to express one's negative cognitions


most severe form of prejudice

Functions of prejudice


defend Ego

Provide information

Acceptance (functions of prejudice)

when a person communicated negative feelings toward a particular group in order to fit in within a desired group

*Ex: when a frat member expresses hatred for another frat's member; when asked why he has these strong feelings, the only reason is "because all Alpha Betas dislike them"

Low-context cultures

Cultures that fall at this end of the continuum exhibit high verbal tendencies; this style is associated with a direct approach and verbal expressiveness; "say what you mean"

High-context cultures

prefer a more indirect style; cues about the intended message are interpreted through nonverbal channels; search environment for cues

Individualistic cultures

focus on individual accomplishments and achievements

*Ex: U.S.


value and concern for the group

*Ex: Asian cultures

Power distances

refers to the distribution of power in personal relationships as well as within organizations

*Lower = have flat structure w/ most individuals being viewed as equals

*higher = depicted by a tall hierarchical structure w/ distinct status differences

Masculine cultures

demonstrate a preference for assertiveness, ambition, and achievement

Feminine cultures

associated with characteristics of responsiveness, nurturance, and cooperation; ender roles in these cultures are perceived to be more equal

Uncertainty avoidance

refers to the willingness of a culture to approach or to avoid change

*high = demonstrate a preference for avoiding change

*Low = welcome the possibility of change and are more willing to take risks

Involuntary/voluntary relatinships

*Types of relationships in which we do not choose (most family relationships)


*Types of relationships that we choose to have (select spouse)

Content expectations

focus on how the relationship is defined by the role each partner plays

Relational expectations

refer to the similarity or correspondence, of the emotional, or affective, expectations each partner has for defining the relationship

*(roles are defined by the expectations held for a position in family)

Traditional couples

Those who exhibit a high level of interdependence and sharing; adopt conventional sex roles

Separate couples

tend to emphasize each individual's identity and independence over maintaing the relationship

*maintain conventional sex roles in the relationship

*Avoidance of conflict

*low levels of marital satisfaction

Independent Couples

simultaneously respect the need for autonomy and engage in a high level communication and sharing with on another

*sex roles are nonconventional or nonexistent

"Launching" stage

The period when children begin the separation process from their parents


an individual's attempt to create a distinct identity that is separate from that of their siblings

Maintenance in Sibling Relationships

*confirmation- used to communicate the importance or value of sibling in one's life

*humor- bring amusement/enjoyment

*social support

*family events

*escape- view relationship as an escape during difficult situations

*verbal aggression- allows siblings to vent frustrations with one another

Family systems theory

one of the most frequently used theories in family communication scholarship; basic premise is that family relationships can be treated as systems and can include the study of systematic qualities such as wholeness, interdependence, hierarchy, boudaries, calibrations, and equifinality


implies that a family creates its own personality or culture, and that this personality is unique from that of each family member


proposes that the family system is comprised of interrelated parts, or members

*A change experienced by one family member is likely to result in changes that impact all other family members


the presents of levels (ex: parents take on powerful roles in family and are responsible for seeing that children's needs are fulfilled and that discipline and control are maintained in the system)


families create these to communicate to members who are considered part of the system; these are often flexible as the family expands to include friends and pets

Ambiguous boundaries

often create confusion about who family members perceive as being part of the system


the mechanism that allows the family to review their relationship and communication and decide if any adjustments need to be made to the system


refers to families' abilities to achieve the same goal by following different paths or employing different communication behaviors

*Ex: Ex: one family may teach the children independence by communicating the expectation that the children are responsible for getting themselves up and ready in the morning; another family might do everything for the children

Family communication patterns theory

a comprehensive theory that focuses on the cognitive processes used to shape and guide our interpersonal interactions; focuses on how a variety of messages are processed and discussed within the family to create shared meaning

*two primary orientations: conversation and conformity

Conversation orientation

refers to the level of openness and the frequency with which a variety of topics are discussed

*high = encourage members to openly and frequently share their thought/feelings

*low = less frequent or less open interactions

Conformity orientation

refers to the degree to which a family encourages autonomy in individual beliefs, values, and attitudes

*high = encourage family members to adopt similar ways of thinking about topics, often with the goal of avoiding conflict and promoting harmony

*low = encouraged to form independent beliefs and attitudes, and these differing opinions are often perceived as having equal value in discussions and decision making

Pluralistic families

adopt a high conversation orientation an a low conformity orientation

*Almost anything goes in this family

Consensual families

adopt both a high conversation and a high conformity orientation

*These families often encourage members to be open in their interactions w/ one another, but expect that family members will adopt similar opinions and values

Laissez-Faire families

adopt both a low conversation and low conformity orientation. Rarely will talk to one another, when they do it is focused on limited number of topics; children are encouraged to make their own decisions, often with little or no guidance or feedback from their parents

Protective families

score low on conversation orientation and high on conformity

*"children should be seen but not heard"

*Parents are considered to be the authority

Symbolic Interaction Theory

perhaps one of the most widely applied theories in the study of family life

*5 key concepts: mind, self, I, me, roles

Family stories

narratives recounting significant events that have been shared by members

*Three types: birth stories, courtship stories, stories of survival

Birth stories

describe how each person entered the family and can define how members "fit" into the system

Courtship stories

provide a timeline for tracing romance in the family

Stories of survival

narratives used to explain how family members have overcome difficult times, and are often told to help family members cope with challenges they face

Family myths

are created to communicate the beliefs, values, and attitudes held by members to represent characteristics that are considered important to the family

*are often fictional as they are based on an ideal image the family wishes to convey to others


created to assist in communicating how family life as a system is experienced by members

*Ex: "three-ring circus" = may be used to describe the chaos and disorganization

*Ex: "well-oiled machine" = can depict emphasis on control and organization


represent important concerns regarding the expected relationship between family members and can assist family members in understanding how to direct their energy as a family unit

*often emerge from two primary sources: background and experience of parents, and the dialectical pulls experienced by the family


occurs when we treat and communicate with family members in a way that is consistent with how they see themselves

*Ex: child sees themselves as independent, parent confirms it by giving them more responsibility


occurs when family members treat others in a a manner that is inconsistent with how they see themselves

*Ex: child feels "grown up" but parents treat them like a kid


occurs when family members fail to offer any type of response; can be viewed as lack of acknowledgement for how they view other family members

*Ex: parent is busy and forgets to comment on child's report card


refers to close relationships in which two or more people share personal and pricate information with one another

ABCX model

a model used to study the stress experienced by families during war

A = stressor event and resulting hardship

B = the resources a family has available to manage the stress

C = used to explain how the family defines the stress

X = the perception of the event as a crisis (depending on how the family defines A, B, C)

Internal stressors

stressors that evolve from a family member

External stressors

stressors that are the result of an event that occurs outside the family

Normative stressors

stressors that are expected to occur at some point during the course of the family life cucle

Non-normative stressors

stressors unpredictable and often catch families "off guard"

Voluntary stressors

events that family members seek out, such as changing careers and moving to a new city

Involuntary stressors

events that simple occur, like a family member being injured in a car accident

Chronic stressor

events that require families to cope with the situation for an extended period of time

Acute stressors

relatively short-lived and include events such as student getting suspended for misbehaving or losing the only set of keys to the family car

The unique Nature of Work Relationships




Superior-subordinate (interactions)

characterized by status differential between individuals, and focus on the interactions that take place between supervisors or managers and their employees or subordinates

Co-worker (or peer) relationships

evolve as a result of interactions between members of an organization at the same status level

Superior-subordinate relationships

differ from other types if interpersonal bonds because of the explicit status differential that is present

*Factors affecting relationship: channels of comm., emphasis on task vs relational needs, communication flow

Classical theories

viewed communication as being primarily one-way

Ex: managers sent info down the channels to employees, and messages were typically formal and focused exclusively on task issues

Human relations (theories of management)

provided valuable insight into the value of social relationships at work

*one weakness: the overemphasis on informal communication and the assumption that face-to-face interactions were most effective

Human resources (theories)

emphasized the importance of the superior-subordinate relationship; attention focused on multi-directional communication and the appreciation for both formal and informal communication styles; focus on teams in organizations

Leader-member exchange theory (LMX)

explains the process of relationship development between superiors and subordinates; states that leaders in organizations develop relationships with all members and that there are qualitative differences in these bonds

*continuum ranging from "in-group" to "out-group"

*high LMX = trust, liking, and support


Tension fueled by the fact that friends at work are together several hours each day


tension; disclosures are common between friends, but organizations often have confidentiality guidelines that could potentially restrict topics of discussion among friends


tension; friends may view themselves equal in their relationships status, but may be unequal in role statuses


tension; treating all members fairly vs. favoring friends


Friends are expected to provide support and understanding to one another w/o judgment; however, depending on role expectations colleagues may be required to assess one another's work or performance

Mentor relationships

characterized by a more experienced member serving as a role model, teacher, or guide for a colleague who is less experienced

*Linked o an individual's career progress, organizational influence, and upward mobility within an organization

Supportive mentors

help employees achieve their goals and include types labeled as the "parent," the "cheerleader," and the "groom"

Parent mentors

mentors who are considered to be "older and wiser" as a result of their tenure in the organization

Cheerleader mentor

mentor who provides encouragement, and the mentor often describes the pride resulting from the protégé's success

Groom mentors

mentors who hole positions of power in an organization and are viewed as "grooming" a protégé for specific responsibilities or roles

"Self-promoter" mentors

mentors describes as those who want to work with the best new members in order to surround themselves with high quality colleagues

"Guilt-trip producer"

a mentor who motivates a protégé by communicating messages of disappointment when performance fails to meet expectations

Sexual harassment

ay unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature; contribute to an unpleasant or uncomfortable work environment

Quid pro quo

"something for something"

*Ex: boss telling subordinate that she will not receive a promotion or raise unless she engages in sexual acts w/ him

Hostile work environment

might include employees exchanging sexual jokes, stories, or materials in front of other employees, or ongoing unwanted sexual behavior from a coworker

Organizational orientation (theory)

identifies three approaches used by members to enact their work roles

*upward mobiles



Upward mobiles

refer to those members who demonstrate a high level of dedication toward accomplishing the organization's goals


view work as a means to earn a living


often the most difficult to communicate w/ at work; often become frustrated w/ their jobs, suggest changes that need to be made, and if things fail to turn around, they often decide to seek employment elsewhere

Organizational culture

the shared systems of symbols and meanings created by members through their interactions with on another

*Stories, language, rituals

Anticipatory socialization phase

new members form expectations regarding their role in the organization

Encounter phase

occurs once a newcomer enters the organization; newcomer may find that she may not yet be considered part of the group


involves changes in the new employee's behavior to adapt to the role expectations in the new environment; at this point the employee beings to be viewed as an "insider"

Routinizing actions

incorporate recurring patterns or interactions to accomplish daily routines


Ex: daily calls to coordinate schedules w/ a spouse, or contacting the child care facility to check in on the child are examples of this management strategy


involves interactions between spouses to negotiate "trade-offs" or exchange tasks in the daily routine


a nightly strategy used to maintain order in the routine

Reciprocating strategies

often involve conversations to coordinate the exchange of child care issues on a regular basis

*Ex: carpooling to sport

Improvising (action messages)

help coordinate the demands of work and family

*Requesting assistance

*Trading off


Requesting assistance

involves asking others for work accommodations or childcare assistance as a result of last-minute circumstances

Trading off (or alternating)

a strategy that involves negotiating responsibilities between spouses when unique situations arise

*Ex: alternating staying home with sick kid


involves withholding information, or intentionally deceiving others, as a means for managing multiple demands

*Ex: call in sick to work

Health communication

an area of study concerned with human interaction in the health care process

Assertive communication

involved defending your own rights and wishes while still respecting the rights and wishes of others

*3 components: empathy, rationale, action


indicted to the other person that you understand his/her position or feelings. This statement illustrates your concern for the other person.


the reason for bringing up the request. The rationale is the thesis or main concern you have and, without it, people will be left guessing what it is you want or need from the interaction


communicates specifically what you want done. Booth-Butterfield emphasized the importance of providing specific information about what exactly it is that you would like to have done, changed, improved, etc. because of this interaction

*Preparedetailed, descriptive info about how you are feeling to you health careprovider

*Askquestions if appropriate info is not provided by your health care provider

*Checkyour understanding of info that is given to you (ex: paraphrasing)

*Express any concerns that you may have about therecommended treatment.


*Clarity- communicate directions and explanationsclearly

*Humor- use appropriate humor to reduce stressfulsituations

*Immediacy- be responsive to the patients

*Listening- pay attention to the patient’s needs,fears, and concerns

*Empathy- express understanding and sympathy



When individuals have either a mental or physical condition that substantially limits one or more of their major life activities

Visible disabilities

are noticeable to others and might include physical deformations, deafness, or blindness and require the use of a wheelchair

Hidden disabilities

are not typically noticed by the co-interactant except under unusual circumstances or if the individual with the disability discloses information about it (ex: learning disabilities, arthritis, diabetes, asthma, AIDS, heart disease)

Real barriers

Some disabilities create more real obstacles, or barriers to communication through regular channels

*Ex: a non-disabled individual attempting to communicate with someone who is deaf may not know sign language

Perceptual barriers

those internal obstacles that often disrupt communication due to cognitive or emoitional reactions located within the individual

Denial stage

*Patient: may deny their illness, continue towork and live as if they were perfectly healthy*Loved ones: May continue to treat and interactwith them as if they were not sick

*Unproductive: may prevent patient from gettingtreatment, may accelerate death, or may inhibit important end-of-lifeconversations and grieving with loved ones

Anger stage

*Why me?

*Take anger out on everyone around them,including loved ones

*Lashing out at loved ones => may result inisolation

*Unproductive: “prevents individual from enjoyingtime they have left, engaging in grief work, and dealing with end-of-lifeissues”

Bargaining stage

*“Individuals try to strike deals with others inorder to recover from their illness”

*Ex: bargaining with God = promise to go tochurch more or be a better person in exchange for more time or nopain/suffering

*Unproductive- “may prevent further treatment,create a sense of false hope, or prevent individuals from facing end-of-lifeissues”

-Also may be taken advantage of

Depression stage

*“May lose interest in the outside world andsignificantly reduce his or her contact with other people”

*Depression => may lead to drug and/or alcoholabuse or suicide

*It is vital to provide help during this stage(possibly even seek professional help)

Acceptance stage

*“If the dying person is afforded the opportunityto grieve and his family members have learned to let go, then he will be ableto die in a stage of acceptance”

*"Patients would typically reach the acceptancestage of death and dying if it were not for members who are reluctant to let goof their loved one”

*Acceptance stage = can then focus time andenergy on treatment to prolong life

Comforting communication

the type of communication behavior having theintended function of alleviating, moderating, or salving the distressedemotional states of others

*Verbal example: “ am really sorry this happenedto you”

*Nonverbal example: eye contact, attentiveness,crying, hugs, gestures

Person-centered comforting messages

strategies that help a person explain how he isfeeling at the moment, recognize and validate the expressed feelings, andillustrate how those feelings fit in a broader social context

Cognitively complex

people who possess more highly abstract anddifferentiated construct systems

*More likely to enact sophisticated comfortingmessages compared to individuals low in cognitive complexity

*Can access a variety of different comfortingstrategies and, as a result,, are more likely to employ more sophisticatedperson-centered messages than those low in cognitive complexity

Affective orientation

affects the types of nonverbal comfortingindividuals provide

*Females tend to be higher in this than males*More likely to use their emotions to guidecommunication decisions

*Employ more diverse nonverbal comfortingstrategies

Nonverbal comforting strategies

examples are hugging, patting the person on theback, and showing concern through their voice

Social networking

refers to the process of connecting with others to form different types of relationships


involves divulging personal info to another individual and is usually delivered through FTF or CMC channels

Hyperpersonal model CMC

online communication often facilitates relationship development and perceptions of intimacy

*The sender's ability to construct a specific and desired image of him/herself

*The sender's ability to alter any message content prior to sending them

*The receiver's propensity to create positive impressions of the partner

*The increased depth and breadth of self-disclosure exchanged between relationship partners

4 factors of Walther's hyperpersonal model of CMC

Active vs. passive participants in communication

Reduced social cues theory

according to this theory, humans depend on social cues such as a person's appearance, attire, facial expressions, and gestures to help interpret received messages

*Many of the social cues we depend on in FTF are absent in CMC


refers to aggressive attacks made against another person

*Ex: using all capital letters


another consequence of reduced social cues; in CMC environments, participants may perceive themselves to be less connected to the conversation => they may exit a chat room discussion abruptly and w/o warning or may deliberately ignore attempts by others to communicate

Formal/informal language styles


the sending and receiving of messages occurs in real time, or simultaneously


communication involves a time lapse between when a message is received and when a response is made

Media richness theory

describes the capability of a communication channel to convey a variety of cues

*media richness = channel's level of synchrony, the availability of social cues, the ability to use natural language, and the ability to convey emotions using the channel

Social presence theory

created to describe the perceived psychological closeness that occurs during FTF interaction

*Ex:; a lingering glance or a forward lean w/ a smile can make a person feel more connected to the other

Digital divide

the gap between those who have access to the Internet and those who do not


a deceptive practice that often involves presenting oneself as the opposite sec in chat rooms or online video games to experience what it is like to be a man or woman

Coup de foudre

(bolt of lightning) accelerated intimmacy

Behavioral cues

these are essential when forming online relationships