chapter 2 outline - DeVito

Concepts of this Chapter

the self in human communication
After completing this chapter, students should be able to
• define self-concept and explain how it develops
• define self-awareness and explain how it can be increased
• define self-disclosure, the factors influencing it, and its potential awards and dangers
• explain the nature and working of perception as related to self and others
After completing this chapter, students should
• communicate with a better understanding of who they are
• regulate their self-disclosures and respond appropriately to the disclosures of others
• increasing their accuracy in perceiving other people and their messages
• regulate their self-disclosures on the basis of the potential rewards and dangers
Instructional Outline
I. The Self in Human Communication
• Self-Concept – refers to how you perceive yourself: your feelings and thoughts about your
strengths and weaknesses, your abilities and limitations. Self-concept develops through
- Others’ Images of You – according to the concept of the looking-glass self, you develop
images of yourself by attending to the way others, particularly others who are most
significant in your life, communicate with you
- Comparisons with Others – you develop images of yourself by engaging in social comparison,
comparing yourself with others, particularly your peers
- Cultural Teachings – culture instills in you a variety of beliefs, values, attitudes that serve
as benchmarks against which you measure yourself
- Self-Interpretations and Self-Evaluations – you react to your own behavior; the more
you understand why you view yourself the way you do, the better you’ll understand who you
• Self-Awareness - the degree to which you know yourself and know how you appear to others;
One tool commonly used to assess self-awareness is the Johari Window, a metaphoric division of
the self into four areas:
- Your Four Selves
o the open self - represents all information, behaviors, attitudes and feelings about
yourself that you and others know
o the blind self - represents knowledge about you that others have but you do not
o the unknown self - represents those parts of yourself that neither you
nor others know
o the hidden self - represents all the knowledge that you have of yourself but keep
secret from others
- Growing in Self-Awareness
To become more aware of your own needs, desires, habits, beliefs, and attitudes:
o listen to others and notice their feedback
o increase your open self by revealing yourself to others
o seek out information about yourself to reduce your blind self
o dialogue with yourself through journal writing, meditation, contemplation
- Self-Esteem – a measure of how valuable you think you are; how good you feel about your
perception of your self. Increasing self-esteem leads to a better personal and professional
life. Suggestions for increasing self-esteem include:
o attack self-destructive beliefs such as the belief that you must be perfect at
everything, loved by everyone, succeed at everything
o seek out nourishing people who are positive and optimistic
o work on projects that will result in success rather than projects that may be
impossible to complete
o remind yourself of your successes rather than dwelling on your failures
o secure affirmation both through self-affirmation and affirmation from others with
whom you identify
II. Self-Disclosure – communication in which you reveal information about yourself, your history,
your circumstances to others; moving information from hidden self to the open self
• Factors Influencing Self-Disclosure
- Who You Are: highly sociable, extroverted people who are competent communicators
are likely to engage in healthy self-disclosure
- Your Culture: culture influences our decisions concerning what we disclose and who
we disclose to
- Your Gender: research suggests women may engage in self-disclosure more than men
although exceptions to this generalization exist
- Your Listeners: self-disclosure occurs more readily in small groups than in large
groups; people are more likely to disclose when they interact with people who selfdisclose
(dyadic effect)
- Your Topic and Channel: generally, the more personal and negative the topic, the less
likely people are to self-disclose; people may be more willingly to self-disclose on-line
than in face-to-face interactions due to a disinhibition effect grounded in perceptions of
anonymity and invisibility
• The Rewards and Dangers of Self-Disclosure
- Rewards of Self-Disclosure
-- contributes to self knowledge
-- improves your coping abilities
-- improves communication
-- helps you establish meaningful relationships
- Dangers of Self-Disclosure
-- personal risk of possible exposure to possible attack
-- social risk of possible rejection by loved ones and friends
-- professional risk that may result in material, status, employment losses
• Guidelines for Self-Disclosure
- Guidelines for Making Self-Disclosures
-- consider the motivation for the self-disclosure
-- consider the appropriateness of the self-disclosure
-- consider the disclosures of the other person
-- consider the possible burdens self-disclosure might entail
- Guidelines for Facilitating and Responding to Self-Disclosures
-- practice the skills of effective and active listening
-- support and reinforce the discloser
-- be willing to reciprocate
-- keep the disclosure confidential
-- don’t use the disclosures against the person
- Guidelines for Resisting Pressure to Self-Disclose
-- don’t be pushed
-- be indirect and move to another topic
-- be assertive in your refusal to self-disclose
III. Perception – an active process by which you become aware of objects, events, and people
through your senses and the lens of your past experiences and your desires, wants and needs,
loves and hatreds. Our perceptions influence our communication choices including who we
choose to interact with, where we choose to interact, what we choose to share, how we choose
to share, as well as our understanding of what we have created through our interactions with
• The Stages of Perception
- Stage One: Stimulation – hearing, seeing, smelling, touching, tasting something people
engage in selective perception because it is impossible to take in everything. Selective
perception includes
o selective attention: attending to those things that we anticipate will meet our
needs, bring us pleasure
o selective exposure: attending to people or messages that confirm our existing
beliefs, help us meet our objectives, satisfy us
- Stage Two: Organization – categorization of sensory stimuli based on rules, schemata,
or scripts
o Organization By Rules: Categorizing stimuli based on common assumptions such
?? things that are physically close together constitute one unit (proximity
?? things that are physically similar or look alike belong together and form
a unit (similarity rule)
?? things that are too different do not belong together (contrast principle)
o Organization By Schemata – using mental templates or structures to classify and
remember information and people
o Organization By Scripts – preconceived notions of how actions, procedures, or
events should progress. In essence scripts are cognitive shortcuts and as such
interactants would do well to remember the following:
• Everyone relies on shortcuts to simplify, understand, remember, and
recall information. If we didn’t, we would approach each experience as
if it were new, we would have no sense of how people, events,
experiences are connected, and we could not profit from previously
acquired knowledge.
• Shortcuts can mislead us, distorting our perceptions
• Perceptions and memories are not objective and are always interpreted
through individuals’ past experiences, preconceptions, and schemata
• Judgments about members of other cultures are often ethnocentric and
can contribute to intercultural misunderstandings
• Media images of various ethnic groups can lead to stereotyping and
inaccurate interpretations of the individual actions of members of these
- Stage Three: Interpretation-Evaluation – assigning meaning and judgment to sensory
stimuli based on past experiences, needs, wants, beliefs, expectations, physical and
emotional states, how the stimuli has been organized, etc.
- Stage Four: Memory – storing information for later retrieval
- Stage Five: Recall – reconstruction of sensory stimuli. Recall is open to a variety of
inaccuracies because of how we may have categorized the sensory stimuli.
• Perceptual Processes – we use a variety of processes to organize, interpret, evaluate, and
recall experiences, people, and information
- Implicit Personality Theory – the system of rules that tells a person which
characteristics go with which other characteristics
o halo effect: believing if a person has some positive qualities, she or he also
possesses other positive qualities
o reverse halo effect: believing if a person has some negative qualities, she or he has
other negative qualities
- The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy - occurs when a prediction becomes true because a
person acts on it as if it were true; self-fulfilling prophecies can have positive effects
(e.g., Pygmalion effect) or negative effects; they occur in four steps:
o formulation of a belief about a person or situation
o action toward a person or situation based on the formulated belief
o interpretation of the person or situation based on the formulated belief without
consideration of the effect of one’s own actions
o reinforcement of preconceived belief
- Primacy-Recency - the relative influence of stimuli according to when they occur in
o primacy: what occurs first exerts greater influence
o recency: what occurs most recently exerts greater influence
- Stereotyping - a fixed and often distorted impression of a group of people; stereotyping
can lead a person to ignore an individual’s unique characteristics
- Attribution - the process by which we try to explain the motivation for a person's
- Potential Attribution Errors
o self-serving bias: an error made to preserve your self-esteem by taking credit for
the positive and denying responsibility for the negative
o overattribution: the tendency to single out one or two obvious characteristics of a
person and attribute everything that person does to the one or two
o fundamental attribution error: the tendency to conclude that people do what they do
based primarily on internal factors (e.g., their personality types) rather than
considering the influences of external factors (e.g., different situations,
circumstances) on people’s actions
• Increasing Accuracy in Perception – successful communication depends largely on
accuracy of perception. Some ways to increase perceptual accuracy include:
- Analyze Your Perceptions
o Recognize your own role in perception: consider the influence of your emotional and
physical states and your biases on your perceptions
o Avoid early conclusions: delay formulating conclusions until you have had a chance
to process a wide variety of cues
- Check Your Perceptions
o Describe what you see or hear, recognizing that even descriptions are not really objective
o Avoid mind reading: seek confirmation of your assumptions
- Reduce Uncertainty
o Observe people in informal situations before interacting with them
o Observe people in manipulated situations (e.g., job interviews, theatrical auditions, student
o Collect information about a person through asking others
o Ask people questions about themselves
- Increase Your Cultural Sensitivity
o Be mindful of cultural differences
o Be mindful of differences within cultural groups