4001. Explain how the quote from Ong that heads this chapter describes a situation that belongs within the study of communication rather than (or perhaps as well as) within the study of psychology or sociology.

4002. Trentholm describes a common relational situation known as a paradox:

Paradoxes are a particularly destructive kind of relational intricacy in which two equally valid but contradictory messages are simultaneously given.... A classic example is the injunction, "Dominate me!" This is a command that cannot be obeyed, for, if you try to obey by being dominant, you are actually submitting to the command. If you try to disobey by being submissive, then you are actually being dominant.... Paradoxes are frustrating and confusing. They allow the receiver no resolution. The only way out of a paradox is to recognize it. Paradoxes, however, are generally so confusing that we are unable to see them for what they are. - Trentholm, 180.

Is the phenomenon of paradox something that we would study as communication, or does paradox lie within the mind of the person facing the paradox and therefore within the study of psychology?

4003. Trentholm also discusses a particular kind of paradox (originally described by Gregory Bateson) known as the double-bind:

Double binds are special paradoxes in which the individual's relationship with the person creating the paradox is such that it is impossible to comment about or withdraw from the paradox.... Take an example where a father says to his daughter, "I want you to be independent and make your own life," but whenever she tries to do so, the father gets sick and has to be taken care of. The daughter is the victim. She is told to be independent, but every time she tries to be she is punished for it. If she gives up her independence, then she is also punished, since she is disobeying her father. Because the relationship is important and long lasting, she cannot withdraw or escape. She may eventually see every choice as impossible. - Trentholm, 183.

  1. Use Jakobson's Model and the Johari Window to explain this situation.
  2. Singer/songwriter Tracey Chapman issued a hit song in 1988 called Fast Car. Is the character who is the "voice" of that song trapped in a double bind?
  3. Explain why the double bind is studied within the discipline of communication rather than in psychology or sociology.

4004. Formal dance (such as ballet) is non-verbal. Yet choreographers often speak of developing their own languages of dance. How can this be?

4005. Rudolf Laban is known for having developed a notational language for describing movement. "Effort-shape," as he called it, or "Labanotation," as it is more commonly called, was originally developed in order to record the body movements of dancers, but later found application in industrial studies and more recently in studies of nonverbal communication. Use the resources available in your library to investigate Labanotation. See if you can find information about the computer-generated simulation languages that are beginning to replace Labanotation as a means of describing dance.

4006. A situation known generally as the Prisoner's Dilemma, arises in relationships when the two participants are unsure as to whether they should cooperate or not. The original anecdote was developed by Albert Tucker in 1950. [See Poundstone, 117.] The following story is based on the original.

Two members of a criminal gang are captured in the act of committing a crime and are held separately by the police. Each is told that

  1. if one confesses and the other does not, the former will be set free and given a reward of $1000 and the other will be sent to prison for three years,
  2. if both confess, each will be sent to prison for two years,
  3. if neither confesses, each will be sent to prison for one year.

What is the best course of action for the two prisoners? Notice that a key fact is that even though the two know each other, in this situation they are not allowed to communicate with one another.

4007. Bernstein's theory of elaborated and restricted codes argues that the language code that members of a group use in everyday conversation helps shape the behavior of the group. "Restricted" codes are used in groups which share a common set of assumptions which can be referenced by implication and need not be stated directly. "Elaborated" codes are used in groups in which members must make their assumptions apparent in order to conduct discussion. Read the description of this theory in Littlejohn (209).

  1. Give an example of a group, of which you are a member, that uses a restricted code. Describe the code.
  2. Give an example of a group, of which you are a member, that uses a elaborated code. Describe the code.
  3. Contrast the effects of each kind of code on the group that uses it.

4008. Berger's Model of Uncertainty Reduction is concerned with the ways that people gain information about themselves and about others. Read the description of this model in Littlejohn (162).

  1. Is Berger's Model consistent with the definition of "information" presented in this tutorial?
  2. Give examples of "high context" and "low context" cultures. Which best describes the culture of the society in which you live? How might your life be different if you lived in a society that had the other kind of culture?

4009. In common speech Americans use the phrase "attracted to one another." Search the literature and write a report that defines the term "attraction" as it is used in the context of human relationships.

4010. Give an example of how each expression shown below could function emotively, conatively, or contextually according to Jakobson's Model. (Of course, you will have to investiage the nature of Jakobson's Model.)

six faces

4011. Face `E' in the previous question illustrates a facial expression often called a "wink." Research and then discuss the role of the wink in human communication.

4012. If we could identify general patterns that are present at the beginning of any relationship, we would be on our way to describing a "general theory of relationship initiation". What advantage would there be in our possessing such a theory? Might we be able to predict the beginnings of relationships? (Would this be good or bad?) Do you think that such a theory is possible?

4013. Consider the various people who are "your friends." Even though you have a friend-to-friend relationship with each, it is likely that the quality of each relationship' is different. Do you feel "closer" to some friends than to others? As an experiment, divide your friends into to groups, "close" and "distant" -- some friends will fall in between; just leave them out. Think about the way you communicate with the friends in each group. Are there aspects of your communication that are common? See if you can develop a communication rule that distinguished close from distant friends.

4014. With which person are you more likely to develop a continuing relationship: a stranger who has just been introduced to you at a party, or a stranger who you have just said "hello" to in line at the grocery store? Why? How does your communication behavior differ in each case? How does this relate to the possible development of a relationship?

4015. How does the cultural rule of shaking (or not shaking) hands support the development of relationships?

4016. Choose two people with whom you relate. Pick someone you know very well, and someone you do not know very well. Describe your communication with each person in terms of Miller and Steinberg's cultural, sociological and psychological rules. Do you observations confirm or deny the Miller-Steinberg theory?

4017. Categorize each of these situations using the terminology of the Johari Window:

  1. Only Lin's mother knows why she hates the taste of asparagus.
  2. As a young child, Gerald was frequently beaten by his father. Gerald, who ran away from home when he was sixteen and never returned, is now sixty-three.
  3. Although his early mistreatment has had an effect on his personality, he has suppressed, or forgotten, the beatings, and his parents have been dead for some time now.
  4. For years, Tom has been lying about his age.
  5. One night at a party, Marylin told Ron about her dream to go on to medical school after college and eventually become a doctor. She doesn't remember telling him.
  6. Henry has never been able to tell his son, Michael, how much he loves him. But he has written about his feelings in his will. The message will be delivered by the executor of his estate after his death.

4018. Give an example of how both participants of a relationship might be informed by the self-disclosure of one of them.

4019. To what extent is listening a communication skill? Do you think that people listen functionally -- that is, do they sometimes hear only what they want to hear?

4020. In each of the "Carlos and Merissa" examples speculate as to the nature of the relationship between them. First, consider that they are closer in the first example than in the second -- write a story to provide context for their discussions. Second, assume that they are closer in the second scenario and write stories to provide context.

4021. Davis notes that noise and smell are powerful media of communication.

...of all the experiences that impinge upon us, noise and smell are the two that are irresistible. An individual can close his eyes, he can refuse to touch r to eat, but he has trouble shutting out the noises of others and it's impossible to shut out their smell. Margaret Meade has suggested that the famous ethnic mix of the United States may be partly to blame for the American odor phobia. In this country, very different groups of people who eat differently, live differently, and even sleep differently, live in close proximity, often with poor ventilation. Alien smells seem to be harder to take, and Americans have long been sensitive to them. In early pioneer reports the men who moved on west often complained not only that they felt crowded by the sight of another man living on the next hill, but that the smell of his cooking offended them, carried by the wind perhaps from two or three miles away. - Davis, 144

  1. Are there "languages" of odor and taste?
  2. Look at magazine ads or watch TV -- how do advertisers convey the senses odor and taste?

4022. Kinesthetic communication is so powerful that a dramatic actor, or a ballet dancer, can communicate emotion from a great distance by means of posture and facial expression. Why is kinesthetic communication so powerful? Compare the kinesthetic communication of actors and politicians --in what ways are they similar; different?

4023. Because kinesthetic communication is indexical, it is very sensitive to context. The winking eye in the earlier illustration might be taken as a supportive affirmation in one context and a intrusive suggestion in another. Discuss the importance of context in kinesthetic communication.

4024. Eric Berne's Games People Play discusses interaction in relationships. The book is very "readable" and was extremely popular in the late 1960s. Find a copy of the book in your library and read it. Prepare a report that compares Berne's "transactional analysis" with one of the models presented in this chapter.

4025. In his book, The Hidden Dimension, Hall discusses proxemics not only from the point of view of face-to-face communication, but also in terms of architectural space. That is, to Hall the term proxemics includes the way human societies arrange themselves on the largest scale. Find this book in your library and read it. Do you agree with Hall when he says that there is a "language of space?" Can you find examples in the literature of corporations that have made use of this idea when designing buildings or production facilities?

4026. In their book Language and Social Knowledge Berger and Bradac discuss the importance of overcoming uncertainty to the development of relationships. Find this book in your library and read it. Compare Berger and Bradac's model of relationship development to that of Miller and Steinberg. How are the two models similar; different?

4027. Edward Hall's studies found that Americans identify three zones of space in their offices:

  1. The immediate work area of the desktop and chair.
  2. A series of points within arm's reach outside of the area above.
  3. Spaces marked as the limit reached when one pushes away from the desk to achieve a little distance from the work without actually getting up.

An enclosure that permits only movement within the first zone is experienced as cramped. An office the size of the second is considered "small." An office with Zone 3 space is considered adequate and in some cases ample.

two offices
- from Hall, 53.

Discuss at least three ways in which the dimensions of the room in which you spend the majority of your time affects communication.

4028. In the typical American classroom the teacher's desk is at the front of the room facing the class. The students' desks are arranged in straight rows and fill the remaining space of the room.

  1. What does this arrangement communicate to the students? To the teachers?
  2. What other arrangements of desks might be used in class? How would the adoption of each of these arrangements affect communication during the class?

4029. How are the tables in your school's cafeteria arranged? How does the arrangement affect communication during meals? What difference might you expect in communication patterns if once cafeteria's table were arranged end-to-end in long rows while another's were spaced separately apart?

2 tables

4030. In The Hidden Dimension Hall discusses the implications of personal distance, social distance and public distance in human communication. Read that section of the book and relate Halls observations to circumstances that you observe in your daily surroundings.

4031. The following quotation is taken from an essay titled "Force as Communication" that is part of a collection of essays, Through the Communication Barrier, by S. I. Hayakawa. Discuss this quotation. What do you think the author means? Do you agree or disagree? Why or why not?

Please close the door, son.

Will you, please, close the door!


And what if, after we have shouted at him several times, the little boy still won't close the door? What if, after repeated attempts to pierce the Iron Curtain with messages carrying assurances of our peaceful intentions, the Russians remain evasive and uncooperative?

The first thing that occurs to all of us, and the only thing that occurs to some of us, is to replace verbal force with physical force. Force, in other words, is regarded by most people as a techniques of communication, a method of education. As the stern parent says, sparing neither rod nor child, "That will teach you a lesson!"

But when the purpose of communication is to bring about peace, a certain logical contradiction enters into such forceful methods of communication, persuasion -- or education. It is the kind of contradiction the detached observer might point out on seeing a father spanking his son while saying to him, "This will teach you not to hit your little sister!" When the father himself becomes aware of the contradiction--and it sometimes happens--he is paralyzed with indecision. What does one do?

4032. Telephones connect people in a way that is similar to face-to-face communication in some respects but not in others. Compare and contrast this form of "person-to-person" communication.

4033. Look back at the examples that show Carlos and Merissa. For each example develop a scenario in which their expressions convey a different set of meanings than the ones described in the text.

4034. Use the smile/frown notation of the Carlos and Merissa example to annotate a recent conversation of your own or a conversation that you have observed between two family members or friends. If "smile" and "frown" are insufficient to convey the meanings needed, develop additional symbols.

4035. Go to your library and research the subject of "body language." How do the codes the we use to interpret gestures, facial expressions and the like differ from the codes used in spoken and written language? Is "body language" truly a form of language?

4036. Smiles and frowns seem to have the same relative meaning throughout the world. Are there any other gestures or facial expressions that have a common meaning everywhere? (Note: this is a tricky question -- head nodding, for example, means different things in different societies, as do gestures such as waving one's hand. You will need to do the research necessary to support your conclusions.)

4037. Look at each face and write down the name of the emotion or mental state that you think the face is showing.

five faces
Now, redraw each face leaving the eyes as they are, but changing the mouth to better fit your interpretation. Compare your newly drawn faces with those of others in the class.

4038. Critique the following excerpt from a poem by William Wordsworth in light of your knowledge of human communication.

The eye - it cannot choose but see;
we cannot bid the ear be still;
our bodies feel, where'er they be,
against or with our will.

4039. One way to study the differences in conversational distance among societies is to consider "greeting behavior," or the actions that the participants take when they come together to begin the conversation. In this respect, consider the Japanese bow, the American handshake, the Mediterranean hug, and the Arabic kiss.