Psychological Effects of Inter-Personal Communication

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION MEANING OF INTER-PERSONAL COMMUNICATION Communication according to the seventh edition of the Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary, is defined as ‘the activity or process of expressing ideas and feelings or of giving people information’ but writers of mass communication like Robert M Krauss of the Columbia university and Susan R. Fussell of the Mississippi state university defined communication as the act of sending a signal across.

Such a signal is generated from a from a person or an individual whom is known as the ‘communicator’ and the signal is consumed by an individual or group of persons referred to as the ‘audience’ and these two parties must be present before communication is said to be complete. Communication is of various types depending on the communicator and the audience. When a signal is generated from an individual and is also consumed by the same individual, such kind of communication is referred to as Intra-personal Communication. Such kind of communication includes soliloquizing and murmuring.

When a signal is generated from an individual and is consumed by another individual or people, such kind of communication is called Inter-personal Communication. Such kind of communication includes communication between father and son, teacher and students and so on. When a signal is generated and consumed by group of persons or corporate bodies, such kind of communication is referred to as Group Communication or Organisational Communication. Examples of such includes communications between local governments and state governments, between Ebonyi state university board and that of Lagos state university to mention but a few.

When a signal is consumed by people who are scattered around diverse geographical locations simultaneously and are not aware of each other’s existence, such kind of communication is called Mass Communication. This kind of communication employs agents of science and technology to disseminate information to its audience. Such agents include radio, television, internets etc. One must also note that communication does not only involve human beings; other living things like animals, birds, and also insets communicate to one another and most of them are usually involved in inter-personal communication.

Our major concern here is about the psychological differences of Inter-personal communication in relation to human beings. CHAPTER TWO PSYCHOLOGY OF INTER-PERSONAL COMMUNICATION DEFINATION OF PSYCHOLOGY According to the seventh edition of the Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary, psychology refers to the scientific study of the mind and how it influences behaviour. In some ways, it would be correct to say that psychologists still define psychology as the ‘study of life’.

But the only thing not correct in this definition is that it is not specific enough to distinguish the modern discipline of psychology from the other sciences such as biology that also studies life. Therefore, psychology in its main definition is the science of behaviour and mental process. Notice has been made in this definition and finding out three key points in it; which are science, behaviour and mental processes. Looking at them separately, psychology is considered as to be a science because psychology attempts to understand people through careful, controlled observation.

It could be considered behaviour because behaviour refers to all of a person’s over actions that others can directly observe, when we walk, speak, throw a frisbee, or show a facial expression, you are behaving in this sense. The term mental processes, this refers to the private thoughts, emotions, feelings and motives that others cannot directly observe. Your private thought and feelings about your monkey catching a frisbee in midair are examples of mental processes. This is because mental processes are private and cannot be observed by others; psychologists use observation of public behaviour to draw inferences about mental processes.

Hence, it is pertinent to note that the psychology of inter-personal communication refers to the characteristic temperament and associated behaviour of persons who are engaged in inter-personal communication. CHAPTER THREE PSYCHOLOGICAL DIFFERENCES IN INTER-PERSONAL COMMUNICATION DISTINGUISHING BETWEEN SIGN AND SYMBOL There is a fundamental problem with the attempt to distinguish between signals that utilize symbols and those that utilize signs implicit in both Wiener et al’s. and Ekman and Friesen’s approach: although the difference etween sign and symbol seems clear theoretically, in practice, more often than not the distinction can’t be drawn in a principled way. ?Signs used symbolically Blushing was chosen as an illustrative expressive behaviour because it so nicely fits the specifications of a sign – there can be little doubt that it is unlearned, involuntary, causally related to what it signifies, etc. These properties make it a good example, but blushing really is a typical in the degree to which it is involuntary. For other signs, involuntariness is less clear.

Crying, for example, is ordinarily involuntary, but it can be suppressed to some degree, and some people are able to simulate a pretty convincing episode, complete with real tears. Considering facial expressions, perhaps the most socially important sign, and the subject of considerable research. Like blushing and yawning, facial expression can be a sign of an internal psychological state, and, as such, it appears to be unlearned, involuntary, etc. However, unlike blushing, facial expression is very much subject to voluntarily control.

To a considerable extent, we can suppress facial expressions when we don’t want others to know what we’re feeling, and we can simulate them when we want others to believe we are experiencing a feeling we really are not (DePaulo, Rosenthal, Green, & Rosenkrantz, 1982; Ekman & Friesen, 1974; Krauss, 1981; Kraut, 1978). One of the child’s important tasks in social development is to bring his or her expressive behaviour under voluntary control (Morency & Krauss, 1982). Most children eventually learn not to express their disgust facially when presented with a portion of spinach or squid, regardless of how loathsome they find the food.

There is considerable evidence that facial expressiveness is very much under control in social situations, and is more likely to represent what the individual would like others to believe he or she is feeling than the feelings actually being experienced (Kraut, 1979). Facial expression, then, might be thought of as a sign (or set of signs) that can be used symbolically, and it is not always easy to tell which type of signal is being displayed on a specific occasion. The same can be said for most expressive behaviours. ?Symbol use that functions expressively In a similar fashion, symbolic behaviours can function as signs.

The so-called “Freudian slip” is a vivid example of language use that is both unintended and meaningful. Most slips of the tongue probably reflect relatively simple breakdowns of the speech production process (Fromkin, 1973; Garrett, 1980), and are not particularly revealing of anything beyond that. For example, speakers sometimes exchange word fragments, as when a colleague referred to the main Thanksgiving Day activity as “Turking the roastey. ” However, on occasion unintentionally uttered words or phrases can express a thought the speaker had not intended to make public.

One place this can occur is in “blends” — speech errors in which two words are fused into one. Blends usually occur when two semantically-related words compete for the same syntactic slot (lecture + lesson –> lection). It sometimes happens, however, that the blended words have little in common semantically, and the blend is due to competing plans for the conceptual content of what is to be expressed (Butterworth, 1982, Levelt, 1989). In The psychopathology of everyday life, Freud (described in Levelt, 1989, p. 217) reported on a patient commenting: “Dan aber sind Tatsachen zum Vorschwein gekommen,” [“But then facts come to Vorschwein”].

Vorschwein is a blend of the German words, Vorschein (appearance) and Schweinereien (filthiness). When questioned, the speaker agreed that the idea of filthiness was on his mind, and had intruded itself into what was intended to be a neutral comment about someone’s appearance. Slips of the tongue may be useful grist for the psychoanalytic mill, but more important from the standpoint of communication is the aspect of speech called paralanguage. Speech contains verbal information in the form of words set in their syntactic matrix; a faithful transcript of speech consists almost exclusively of verbal information.

But speech also conveys another kind of information. Vocal information is the name given to what remains in speech when verbal information has been removed — the paralanguage, which consists of such acoustic properties of the speech signal as pitch, loudness, articulation rate, and variations in these properties. When we listen to speech, we normally hear a combination of verbal and vocal information, but it is possible to process speech electronically in a way that makes its content unintelligible but preserves most of the paralinguistic information (Rogers, Scherer, & Rosenthal, 971). Such “content-filtered” speech can convey a great deal of information, principally about the speaker’s emotional state, and judgments made by naive listeners from unfiltered speech of a speaker’s emotional state seems to take such information into account (Burns & Beier, 1973; Krauss, Apple, Morency, Wenzel, & Winton, 1981; Scherer, Koivumaki, & Rosenthal, 1972). In face-to-face interaction, participants have a rich variety of visual information available to them in addition to verbal and vocal information. Some of this information may have symbolic value (e. g. religious ornaments, uniforms, clothing whose style “makes a statement”), and some of the information (e. g. , blushing) is in the form of signs. To complicate matters, visual information like gestures and facial expression combines symbol and sign elements in a way that cannot easily be disentangled. Thus, although the theoretical distinction between symbol and sign seems clear in the abstract, in practice it is a difficult one to draw, and it may be more useful to think of signs and symbols as representing two poles of a continuum rather than discrete categories.

Most signals combine several elements that vary in their position on the continuum, and signals that are “pure” symbol or sign probably are the exceptions rather than the norm. Where does this leave us in our effort to define communication? Unfortunately, we have no simple answer. If we define communication to include only signals composed of symbols that are intended to convey information (as do Wiener et al. ), we are faced with the problem that in most messages sign and symbol are inextricably intertwined.

On the other hand, if we take the position of Watzlawick et al. that all behaviour performed in the presence of another constitutes communication, we have no principled way of distinguishing between speech and eye blinks. Perhaps a more helpful approach is to ask what communication does rather than on what communication is. Sperber and Wilson have offered such a definition that avoids some of the problems we have reviewed above. They define communication as a process involving two information-processing devices. One device modifies the physical environment of the other.

As a result, the second device constructs representations similar to the representations already stored in the first device (Sperber & Wilson, 1986, p. 1). Sperber and Wilson’s definition focuses on the central role of internal representations in communication, while leaving open the question of precisely how the representations stored in one device come to be constructed by the second device. One way of thinking about the four models of communication we describe below is that they are different characterizations of this aspect of the process. Interpersonal Verbs and Implicit Causality Some of the most sophisticated applications of an Encoder/Decoder model can be found in research on the influence of linguistic form on social inference, particularly with regard to the attribution of causality. In a sentence of the form “A verbed B,” in which A and B are people, and verb denotes an interpersonal action or state, the cause of the action logically could be either the grammatical subject (A) or the grammatical object (B) .

If A praises B, the reason might be that A is an enthusiastic and supportive person or that B had done something especially praiseworthy; A might dislike B because A is a misanthrope, or because B behaves in an obnoxious fashion. Although interpersonal verbs are neutral with respect to explicit cause, it’s been known for some time that they differ considerably in the extent to which causal agency tends to be attributed to their subjects or objects (Caramazza, Grober, Garvey, & Yates, 1977; Garvey & Caramazza, 1974).

Roger Brown and his associates (Brown, 1986; Brown & Fish, 1983; Brown & Van Kleeck, 1989; Van Kleeck, Hilger, & Brown, 1988) has distinguished between verbs denoting interpersonal actions and verbs denoting interpersonal experiences. For interpersonal action (IA) verbs (e. g. , defend, cheat, call), the person who performs the action is the grammatical subject and the recipient of the action is the grammatical object. Brown et al. further distinguished between two types of verbs denoting interpersonal experiences: stimulus experiencer (S-E) verbs (e. g. amuse, disgust), in which the stimulus is the grammatical subject and the person having the experience is the grammatical object; and experiencer-stimulus (E-S) verbs (e. g. , ignore, admire), in which the stimulus is the grammatical object and the person having the experience is the grammatical subject. 11 For IA verbs, the performer of the action tends to be seen as its cause. Subjects reading the sentence “A cheats B” are likely to regard A as responsible for the cheating. But for interpersonal verbs denoting experiences, the stimulus person rather than the experiencer is seen as the causal agent.

Since for S-E verbs the stimulus is the grammatical subject, in the sentence “A disgusts B” A is perceived as causal. However, for E-S verb the grammatical object is the stimulus; hence, in the sentence “A admires B,” B tends to be seen as the cause. Implicit causality appears to be a reasonably reliable phenomenon, but there is little agreement about the factors responsible for it. Among the several possibilities that researchers have considered are: morphological differences in the kinds of adjectives that can be derived from different interpersonal verbs (Brown & Fish, 1983; Hoffman & Tchir, 1990; Van Kleeck, et al. 1988) , schema activation (Brown & Fish, 1983) , differential salience (Kasof & Lee, 1993) , variations in the implicit context (Semin & Fiedler, 1989; 1991; 1992) , the perceived volitional control of A and B (Gilovich & Regan, 1986) , and the accessibility of the subject or object in the comprehender’s discourse model (McKoon, Greene, & Ratcliff, 1993) . Implicit causality also varies in interesting ways with other social variables.

For example, an IA verb’s valence affects who will be perceived as its cause (Franco & Arcuri, 1990; LaFrance & Hahn, 1991); generally speaking, the actor is more likely to be seen as the cause of negative actions (e. g. , scold, slap). than of positive actions (e. g. , praise, kiss). The gender of A and B also affects who will be seen as the causal agent. LaFrance and Hahn (1991), using a technique developed by Semin and Fiedler (1991), gave subjects sentences like “A insulted B” and asked them to provide the sentence that preceded it (e. g. , “B contradicted A,” “A disliked B,” etc. ).

The variable of interest was whether A or B was seen as the cause in the preceding sentence, which forms the implicit context for understanding the target sentence. LaFrance and Hahn systematically varied the gender of the names in the A and B slots. When A was a male, B’s gender did not affect perceived causality. However, a female A was much more likely to be perceived as the cause when B was a female than when B was a male, suggesting that females tend not to be seen as causal agents of actions affecting males. Among the most interesting and productive applications of implicit causality has been to the area of group stereotypes.

Using Semin and Fiedler’s linguistic category model (Semin & Fiedler, 1989; 1991; 1992), Maass, Salvi, Arcuri, and Semin (1989) have shown an important asymmetry in the implicational value of the words group members use to describe the behaviour of in-group and out-group members. As one moves from DAVs to IAVs to SVs in the Semin and Fiedler category system, one moves from depictions of specific behavioural episodes to depictions of abstract states or predispositions. Any particular behavioural episode can be characterized in a variety of ways at different levels of abstraction: “A punches B,” or “A hurts B,” or “A dislikes B. The most abstract way to characterize a behaviour would be as evidence of a predisposition: “A is aggressive. ” Maass et al. found that negatively valent behaviours of out-group members tend to be characterized at relatively high levels of abstraction, and those of in-group members are characterized more concretely, but for positively valent behaviours the pattern is reversed. Positively valent behaviours of out-group members are characterized as specific episodes, while those of in-group members are characterized abstractly.

Maass et al. call this the “linguistic intergroup bias” (see also Hamilton, Gibbons, Stroessner, & Sherman, 1992; Maass & Arcuri, 1992). One consequence of the linguistic intergroup bias is to help make stereotypes resistant to disconfirmation, since behaviours that are congruent with the negative out-group stereotype will tend to be characterized as general properties (“Smith is lazy”), while behaviours that are inconsistent with the stereotype will tend to be characterized in quite specific terms (“Smith painted his house”).

Although examining the causal implications of language has yielded fascinating results, there are reasons to be cautious about generalizing these findings to language use. Edwards and Potter (1993) have pointed out that simple, out of context subject-verb-object sentences of the kind typically used in studies of implicit causality are rarely encountered in discourse. Consequently, the judgments subjects make from them may have little to do with the way language normally is processed in communication.

Seen in isolation, “Alan desires Jane” may be understood as consequence of Jane’s desirability, but in the context of a narrative that depicts Alan as a compulsive womanizer, his desire for Jane may be attributed less as to her desirability than it is to his proclivity. Is implicit causality really a matter of encoding and decoding? Or, to put it another way, is an interpersonal verb’s causal implications part of its linguistic meaning, or is it an inference an addressee will draw in a particular context of usage about what the speaker intended?

Semin and Marsman (in press) argue that interpersonal verbs invite inferences about a variety of properties (e. g. , the perceived temporal duration of the action or state, how enduring a quality they imply, affective consistency, etc. ), causal agency being only one of them. Researchers have assumed that interpersonal verbs automatically trigger inferences about causal agency, but Semin and Marsman suggest that such inferences are themselves a consequence of contextual factors (e. g. , the question the subject is asked).

Much of the work on implicit causality has approached the phenomenon in linguistic terms, but it may be more readily understood as part of the addressee’s attempt to infer an intended meaning. The general question of how addressee’s extract intended meanings from messages is discussed in Section 3. ?Issues and Limitations Two features of the Encoder/Decoder model should be highlighted. One is implicit in the very notion of a code, and is illustrated in the early colour codability studies. It is that the meaning of a message is fully specified by its elements—i. . , that meaning is encoded, and that decoding the message is equivalent to specifying its meaning. The other feature is that communication consists of two autonomous processes—encoding and decoding. We have tried to illustrate the Encoder/Decoder schematically above. Despite the fact that language can in certain respects be regarded as a code, and the fact that both encoding and encoding processes are involved in communication, encoding and decoding do not adequately describe what occurs in communication, as will be discussed in the next three sections.

Here we will just briefly point to some areas where the approach falls short. In the first place, it is often the case that the same message can (correctly) be understood to mean different things in different circumstances. For example, some messages are understood to mean something other than their literal meaning. While there is not universal agreement on the value of the literal vs. nonliteral distinction (Dascal, 1989; Gibbs, 1982, 1984; Katz, 1981; Keysar, 1989; Searle, 1978), it is abundantly clear that the most commonplace utterance (e. . , “You’re leaving”) can be understood differently in different contexts (e. g. , as an observation of a state of affairs, as a prediction of a future state of affairs, etc. ). Without making the relevant context part of the code, a model that conceptualizes communication as simply encoding and decoding will have difficulty explaining how the same message can be understood to mean different things at different times. Moreover, even when context is held constant, the same message can mean different things to different addressees.

And there is considerable evidence to indicate that speakers design messages with their eventual destinations in mind (Bell, 1980; Clark & Murphy, 1982; Fussell & Krauss, 1989a; Graumann, 1989; Krauss & Fussell, 1991). Similarly, there is growing evidence that nonverbal behaviours are not simply signs that encode internal state in a straightforward way. A facial expression may be related to a person’s internal state, but comprehending its significance can require considerably more than simply identifying the expression as a smile, a frown, an expression of disgust, etc.

For example, smiles are understood to encode a affectively positive internal state, but they hardly do this in a reflexive fashion. In a series of ingenious field experiments, Kraut (1979) found smiling to be far more dependent on whether or not the individual was interacting with another person than it was on the affective quality of the precipitating event, and Fridlund (1991) has shown that even for people who were alone, the belief that another person was engaged in the same task (albeit in another room) was sufficient to potentiate smiling.

In dyadic conversations, the facial expressions of the listener (i. e. , the person not holding the conversational floor at a given moment) may change rapidly. Some of these changes (e. g. , smiles) may represent back-channel signals (Brunner, 1979; Chen, 1990), while others (e. g. , wincing at the other’s pain) may serve to signal the listener’s concern (Bavelas, Black, Chovil, Lemery, & Mullet, 1988; Bavelas, Black, Lemery, & Mullet, 1986). Even aspects of voice quality cannot be straightforwardly interpreted. For example, a speaker’s vocal pitch range is a consequence of the architecture of the vocal tract.

However, social factors can influence how a given speaker places his or her voice within that range. Men seem to place their voices in the lower part of their vocal range, and women do not, which, incidentally helps explain why a man’s size can more accurately be predicted from his voice than a woman’s (Gradol & Swann, 1983). In addition, a speaker’s pitch and amplitude will be influenced by the pitch and amplitude of the conversational partner (Gregory, 1986, 1990; Lieberman, 1967; Natale, 1975). In a similar fashion, a speaker’s internal state can induce changes in voice quality, but the relationship is hardly one-to-one.

For example, stress profoundly affects voice fundamental frequency, but in any specific instance the effect can vary considerably depending on the conversational partner (Streeter et al. , 1983). So, while encoding and decoding may characterize the role of nonverbal behaviour is some communication situations, the applicability of the model is far from universal. ?Non-linguistic Aspects of Meaning A comprehensive account of interpersonal communication must explain how nonverbal and verbal information work in concert to create meaning.

Much of the research we have discussed either ignores nonverbal sources of information or focuses on nonverbal and paralinguistic cues as signs rather than symbols (see Section 1. 2). For example, Clark and Wilkes-Gibbs (1986) discuss addressees’ use of head nods and the like to indicate comprehension. By neglecting nonverbal and paralinguistic signs and symbols, researchers may overlook important components of the processes they examine. The taking of another’s perspective, for example, can be revealed not only in the words the speakers utter, but also in their tone of voice and facial expression.

A speaker relating bad news will convey an appreciation of the addressee’s perspective by selecting appropriate lexical items, speaking in tone of voice associated with sadness (cf. , Fairbanks & Pronovost, 1939), and displaying an appropriately somber facial expression. Motor mimicry (e. g. , displaying an expression that is appropriate to the partner’s emotional state) is one means by which interactants convey their understanding of their partners’ points of view (Bavelas, Black, Lemery, & Mullett, 1986; Bavelas , Black, Chovil, Lemery, & Mullett, 1988) .

It is reasonable to suppose that the absence of appropriate nonverbal cues may lead an addressee to infer that an utterance is in some way defective — e. g. , that it’s not what it appears to be. Judgments of subjects trying to determine which of two versions of the same narrative was the spontaneous one were reliably correlated with the rate at which the speaker displayed particular kinds of gestures and speech dysfluencies (Chawla & Krauss, 1994) .

Interestingly, although subjects were considerably more accurate than chance, they were unable to articulate the clues they used to make their judgments. ?Communication and Thought Models of message production depict the process by which messages are generated and have an effect on addressees. With few exceptions (Zajonc,1960; Higgins, 1981), such models give little consideration to the cognitive consequences of message production for the speaker. There is, however, abundant evidence that creating a message can affect the way the creator perceives, remembers and thinks about the message’s contents.

Beginning with the classic experiment by Carmichael and his colleagues in the 1930’s, a substantial body of evidence has accumulated indicating that labelling a stimulus affects its representation in memory (Carmichael, Hogan, & Walter, 1932; Daniel, 1972; Thomas & DeCapito, 1966) . Labelling is one of the means by which communicators coordinate perspectives, and Wilkes-Gibbs and Kim (1993) found that incorporating a particular perspective into the verbal label for an ambiguous figure affects the speaker’s subsequent memory for the figure.

For example, subjects who referred to a figure as a “camel,” rather than a “barn with a silo,” later over-estimated the similarity of a camel-like figure to the original. Recent work by Scholars and his colleagues (Fallshore & Scholars, in press; Scholars & Engstler-Schooler, 1990; Scholars, Ohlsson, & Brooks, 1993) on “verbal overshadowing” suggests a possible cognitive mechanism for such effects. According to their recoding interference hypothesis, verbalizing a description can produce a memory representation that is biased in the direction of a particular perspective.

Such representations can compete with other representations in memory (e. g. , visual) and affect recognition. Interestingly, the effects of verbal overshadowing are not limited to visual stimuli. Similar effects have been found for taste preferences and for satisfaction with one’s choices (Wilson, Lisle, Scholars, Hidges, Klaaren, & LaFleur, in press; Wilson & Scholars, 1991) . Speakers’ interpersonal attitudes and memory also can be affected when they formulate messages about others.

In a series of studies, Higgins and his colleagues have shown that a speaker’s attitudes toward, and memory of, another person can be affected when the speaker tailors messages to the perspective of an addressee (e. g. , Higgins et al. , 1981; Higgins & Rholes, 1978; McCann, et al. , 1991; see Kraut & Higgins, 1984; Higgins 1992, McCann & Higgins, 1992 for a review of this work). In these studies, speakers read brief personality sketches of a fictitious target person, and then described him to an addressee who was said either to like or to dislike him.

Speakers tended to bias their characterizations of the target’s ambiguous traits in the direction of the addressee’s attitude; he might be described as persistent to an addressee who liked him, but stubborn to one whom didn’t. Subjects’ subsequent recollections of these traits tended to be distorted in the direction of their descriptions. Krauss and Chiu (1993) have proposed a reformulation of the traditional Whorfian view, contending that language use, rather than linguistic structure, affects cognition.

They hypothesize that particular linguistic forms can be associated with specific mental representations, and that using a particular form communicatively can create a representation in the speaker’s memory that may compete with other memorial representations. Considered solely from the point of view of successful reference, two alternative referring expressions may be equally effective. In a group of five males and one female, either “That lady over there” or “That woman over there” would enable the addressee to identify the referent.

However, if the meanings associated with lady and woman differed in some important way, attributes of those meanings could become part of the speaker’s mental representation of the person referred to. A corollary of this position is that factors that influence usage (i. e. , that determine the particular form a linguistic representation takes on a particular occasion of use) can come to influence the way a speaker thinks about the state of affairs under discussion.

Since a large variety of factors can determine the particular form a linguistic expression takes, the potential implications of this point of view are quite far reaching. Recent years have seen a rekindling of interest in the effects of language on cognition (Hardin & Banaji, 1993; Hoffman, Lau, & Johnson, 1986; Hunt & Agnoli, 1991; Hunt & Banaji, 1987; Kay & Kempton, 1984; Semin & Fiedler, 1991) , but the topic may turn out to be better described as the effects of communication on cognition. ?The Social Roots of Meaning

Rommetveit (1983) contends that much recent work in communication, including research motivated by the Collaborative approach, constitutes little more than minor elaborations of an Encoding/Decoding model. Although his argument is not completely persuasive, there is at least one respect in which Rommetveit’s point is well taken: All of the models we have discussed can accurately be characterized as individualistic: they attempt to account for communication in terms of the mental processes of individual speakers and hearers between whom meaningful utterances are exchanged.

Even those models that stress the critical role interaction plays in clarifying speakers’ intentions identify these intentions as attributes of individuals. Rommetveit’s argues that such intentions are themselves socially constituted, and contends that “…no authentic social psychology of language can be developed by adding auxiliary notions about social-interactional features of verbal communication onto such basic presuppositions” (1983, p. 4). In contrast to this individualistic view, what we will call (for want of a better term) a Fully Dialogic view would start from the assumption that, quite apart from its expression, meaning is inherently social – that it does not reside solely in the mind of individual speakers and hearers (Bakhtin, 1981; Markova & Foppa, 1990; Rommetveit, 1974; Volosinov, 1986; Wold, 1992).

One source of this view is Vygotsky’s socio-genetic approach to thought, which characterizes learning to think as a process of internalizing external dialogues with significant others (Vygotsky, 1962; Wertsch, 1985). These external dialogues take place in an intersubjective context (a state of mutual orientation toward the other) that appears to exist from birth (Braten, 1992; Trevarthen, 1992).

For individualistically-oriented models, our perceptions of the world are precursors to communication and exist independently of it. In the Fully Dialogic view, however, our perceptions of the world derive from the state of mutual orientation and the way we talk about the world. REFERENCES 1. Oxford Advanced Learner’s dictionary – 7th edition. 2. Clayton, V. (1982) – Wisdom and intelligences. The nature and function of knowledge in the years. International