Understanding Human Communication

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Edition: 13th
Format: Paperback
Pub. Date: 2015-02-09
Publisher(s): INGRAM
List Price: $116.21

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For more than three decades, Understanding Human Communication has been the best-selling text for the Human Communication course. Solidly grounded in scholarship, it provides students with the insights and skills to succeed in today's changing world. This new edition includes updated coverage of culture, gender, social media, and technology to reflect today's scholarship and popular culture.

Author Biography

Ronald B. Adler is Professor of Communication Emeritus, at Santa Barbara City College. He is coauthor of Interplay: The Process of Interpersonal Communication, Twelfth Edition (OUP, 2013), Looking Out, Looking In (2017), and Communicating at Work: Principles and Practices for Business and the Professions (2013).

George Rodman is Professor in the Department of Television and Radio at Brooklyn College, City University of New York, where he founded the graduate media studies program. He is the author of Mass Media in a Changing World, Fourth Edition (2012), Making Sense of Media (2001), and several books on public speaking.

Athena du Pré is Professor of Communication at the University of West Florida. She is the author of Communicating About Health: Current Issues and Perspectives, Fourth Edition (OUP, 2014), as well as other books, journal articles, and chapters on communicating effectively in modern organizations.

Table of Contents



CHAPTER 1. Communication: What and Why?
Communication Defined
Characteristics of Communication
Modeling Communication
Types of Communication
Intrapersonal Communication
Dyadic/Interpersonal Communication
Small Group Communication
Organizational Communication
Public Communication
Mass Communication
Communication in a Changing World
Changing Technology
Changing Discipline
Understanding Social Media
Mediated Versus Face-to-Face Communication
How People Use Social Media
Functions of Communication
Physical Needs
Identity Needs
Social Needs
Practical Needs
Communication Competence: What Makes an Effective Communicator?
Communication Competence Defined
Characteristics of Competent Communicators
Communicating Competently with Social Media
Clarifying Misconceptions About Communication
Communication Does Not Always Require Complete Understanding
Communication Will Not Solve All Problems
Communication Isn't Always a Good Thing
Meanings Rest in People, Not Words
Communication Is Not Simple
More Communication Isn't Always Better
Self-Assessment Your Communication Choices
Communication Skills and Career Success
Self-Assessment Your Communication Strengths and Goals
Understanding Communication Technology Dear Social Media, I Need a Little Space
Checklist Use Social Media Courteously and Wisely
Ethical Challenge To Communicate or Not to Communicate?

CHAPTER 2. The Self, Perception, and Communication
Communication and the Self
Self-Concept Defined
Biology, Personality, and the Self
External Influences on the Self-Concept
Culture and the Self-Concept
The Self-Concept and Communication with Others
The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy and Communication
Perceiving Others
Steps in the Perception Process
Influences on Perception
Narratives, Perception, and Communication
Common Perceptual Tendencies
Perception in Mediated Communication
Empathy, Perception, and Communication
Communication and Identity Management
Public and Private Selves
Characteristics of Identity Management
Why Manage Identities?
Identity Management in the Workplace
Identity Management in Mediated Communication
Identity Management and Honesty
Self-Assessment Communication and Your Self-Esteem
Ethical Challenge Is Honesty Always the Best Policy?
Checklist Check Your Perceptions Before Responding
Understanding Diversity Managing Identity and Coming Out
@Work Humblebragging in Job Interviews
Understanding Communication Technology Identity Management in Social Media
Ethical Challenge Honesty and Multiple Identities

CHAPTER 3. Communication and Culture
Understanding Cultures and Cocultures
Intercultural and Intergroup Communication: A Matter of Salience
Cultural Differences Are Generalizations
Cultural Values and Norms Shape Communication
Individualism and Collectivism
High and Low Context
Uncertainty Avoidance
Power Distance
Beliefs about Talk and Silence
Competitive and Cooperative Cultures
Cocultures and Communication
Ethnicity and Race
Regional Differences
Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
Physical Ability/Disability
Socioeconomic Status
Developing Intercultural Communication Competence
Increased Contact
Tolerance for Ambiguity
Knowledge and Skill
Patience and Perseverance
@Work Power Distance and Culture in the Workplace
Understanding Diversity Communicating with People Who Have Disabilities
@Work Organizations Are Cultures, Too
Self-Assessment What Is Your Intercultural Sensitivity?
Ethical Challenge Civility When Values Clash


CHAPTER 4. Language
The Nature of Language
Language Is Symbolic
Meanings Are in People, Not Words
Language Is Rule Governed
The Power of Language
Language Shapes Attitudes, Beliefs, and Values
Language Reflects Attitudes, Beliefs, and Values
Troublesome Language
The Language of Misunderstandings
Disruptive Language
Evasive Language
Gender and Language
@Work What's in a Name?
Understanding Diversity Language and Worldview
Ethical Challenge Sexist and Racist Language
Understanding Communication Technology Twitter Lingo Incites Controversy
Self-Assessment Your Use of Language
Ethical Challenge Euphemisms and Equivocations
Checklist Choose Your Words Carefully

CHAPTER 5. Listening
The Value of Listening
Misconceptions About Listening
Myth 1: Listening and Hearing Are the Same Thing
Myth 2: Listening Is a Natural Process
Myth 3: All Listeners Receive the Same Message
Overcoming Challenges to Effective Listening
Reasons for Poor Listening
Faulty Listening Habits
Types of Listening
Task-Oriented Listening
Relational Listening
Analytical Listening
Critical Listening
Listening and Social Support
Online Social Support
Gender and Social Support
Types of Supportive Responses
When and How to Help
Checklist 10 Tips for More Mindful Listening
@Work Multitasking Can Make You Stupid
Self-Assessment What Is Your Listening Style?
Checklist Techniques for Listening Nondefensively
Checklist Three Ways to Paraphrase
Checklist Taking Detailed Notes
Ethical Challenge How Carefully Should You Listen?
Checklist Evaluating a Speaker's Message
Understanding Communication Technology Who Is Listening to You Online?
Checklist Factors to Consider Before Offering Advice
Checklist When and How to Offer an Analysis
Checklist Conditions that Make Paraphrasing a Good Option

CHAPTER 6. Nonverbal Communication
Characteristics of Nonverbal Communication
Nonverbal Behavior Has Communicative Value
Nonverbal Communication Is Primarily Relational
Nonverbal Communication Is Ambiguous
Nonverbal Communication Is Different from Verbal Communication
Nonverbal Skills Are Important
Influences on Nonverbal Communication
Functions of Nonverbal Communication
Types of Nonverbal Communication
Body Movements
Building Competence in Nonverbal Communication
Tune Out Words
Use Perception Checking
Pay Attention to Your Own Nonverbal Behavior
Understanding Communication Technology Nonverbal Expressiveness Online
Self-Assessment How Worldly Are Your Nonverbal Communication Skills?
@Work Vocal Cues and Career Success
Ethical Challenge Clothing and Impression Management
@Work Touch and Career Success


CHAPTER 7. Understanding Interpersonal Communication
Characteristics of Interpersonal Communication
What Makes Communication Interpersonal?
Mediated Interpersonal Communication
How We Choose Relational Partners
Evaluating Relationship Potential
Relationship Reality Check
Types of Interpersonal Relationships
Family Relationships
Romantic Partners
Communication Patterns in Relationships
Content and Relational Messages
Self-Disclosure in Interpersonal Relationships
Dialectical Perspective of Interpersonal Relationships
Lies and Evasions
Ethical Challenge Is It Cheating?
Understanding Diversity Can Men and Women Be Just Friends?
Checklist Being a Better Friend
Checklist Being a Better Family Member
Self-Assessment What Is Your Love Language?
Checklist Meeting an Online Flame for the First Time
Understanding Communication Technology To End This Romance, Just Press "Send"
Checklist Self-Disclosing Effectively
Ethical Challenge The Ethics of Lying and Evading

CHAPTER 8. Managing Conflict in Interpersonal Relationships
Understanding Interpersonal Conflict
Communication Climates in Interpersonal Relationships
Confirming and Disconfirming Messages
How Communication Climates Develop
Approaches to Conflict
Styles of Expressing Conflict
Characteristics of an Assertive Message
Gender and Conflict Style
Cultural Influences on Conflict
Conflict in Online Communication
Managing Interpersonal Conflicts
Methods for Conflict Resolution
Steps in Win-Win Problem Solving
Self-Assessment How Sunny Is Your Communication Climate?
Understanding Communication Technology Can You Hear Me Now?
Checklist Creating Positive Communication Climates
@Work Dealing with Sexual Harassment
Ethical Challenge It's Nothing!
Self-Assessment How Assertive Are You?
Understanding Diversity They Seem to Be Arguing


CHAPTER 9. Communicating in Groups and Teams
The Nature of Groups and Teams
What Is a Group?
What Makes a Group a Team?
Virtual Groups
Goals of Groups and Their Members
Group Goals
Individual Goals
Characteristics of Groups and Teams
Rules and Norms
Patterns of Interaction
Leadership and Communication
Understanding Leadership
Leadership Styles
Dimensions of Leadership
Becoming a Leader
Followership and Communication
Types of Followers
The Power of Followers
Checklist Building an Effective Team Online
Checklist Getting Slackers to Do Their Share
Ethical Challenge Rules for Hidden Agendas
@Work "I'll Do It Myself"-Or Should I?
Checklist Working with a Difficult Boss
Self-Assessment Your Leadership Approach
Self-Assessment How Good a Follower Are You?

CHAPTER 10. Solving Problems in Groups and Teams
Problem Solving in Groups: When and Why
Advantages of Group Problem Solving
When to Use Groups for Problem Solving
Setting the Stage for Problem Solving
Maintain Positive Relationships
Recognize Stages of Team Development
Group Problem-Solving Strategies and Formats
Group Discussion Formats
Solving Problems in Virtual Groups
Approaches and Stages in Problem Solving
A Structured Problem-Solving Approach
Decision-Making Methods
Overcoming Dangers in Group Discussion
Information Underload and Overload
Unequal Participation
Pressure to Conform
Understanding Diversity Maximizing the Effectiveness of Multicultural Teams
Checklist Is This a Good Opportunity for Teamwork?
Self-Assessment How Effective Is Your Team?
Checklist Dealing with Difficult Team Members
@Work The Power of Constructive Dialogue
Understanding Communication Technology Developing Trust Long Distance
Checklist Coping with Information Overload
Ethical Challenge Overly Talkative and Quiet Group Members
Checklist Avoiding Groupthink


CHAPTER 11. Preparing and Presenting Your Speech
Getting Started
Choosing Your Topic
Defining Your Purpose
Writing a Purpose Statement
Stating Your Thesis
Analyzing the Speaking Situation
The Listeners
The Occasion
Gathering Information
Online Research
Library Research
Survey Research
Managing Communication Apprehension
Facilitative and Debilitative Communication Apprehension
Sources of Debilitative Communication Apprehension
Overcoming Debilitative Communication Apprehension
Presenting Your Speech
Choosing an Effective Type of Delivery
Practicing Your Speech
Guidelines for Delivery
Sample Speech
Ethical Challenge Adapting to Speaking Situations
@Work Sample Analysis of a Speaking Situation
Checklist Evaluating Websites
Self-Assessment Speech Anxiety Symptoms
Checklist Practicing Your Presentation
Understanding Diversity A Compendium of American Dialects

CHAPTER 12. Organization and Support
Structuring Your Speech
Your Working Outline
Your Formal Outline
Your Speaking Notes
Principles of Outlining
Standard Symbols
Standard Format
The Rule of Division
The Rule of Parallel Wording
Organizing Your Outline into a Logical Pattern
Time Patterns
Space Patterns
Topic Patterns
Problem-Solution Patterns
Cause-Effect Patterns
Monroe's Motivated Sequence
Beginnings, Endings, and Using Transitions
The Introduction
The Conclusion
Using Transitions
Supporting Material
Functions of Supporting Material
Types of Supporting Material
Styles of Support: Narration and Citation
Sample Speech
Self-Assessment Main Points and Subpoints
Understanding Diversity Nontraditional Patterns of Organization
Checklist Capturing Audience Attention
Checklist Effective Conclusions
@Work Organizing Business Presentations
Ethical Challenge The Ethics of Support
Understanding Communication Technology Plagiarism in a Digital Age

CHAPTER 13. Informative Speaking
Types of Informative Speaking
By Content
By Purpose
Informative Versus Persuasive Topics
An Informative Topic Tends to Be Noncontroversial
The Informative Speaker Does Not Intend to Change Audience Attitudes
Techniques of Informative Speaking
Define a Specific Informative Purpose
Create Information Hunger
Make It Easy to Listen
Use Clear, Simple Language
Use a Clear Organization and Structure
Use Supporting Material Effectively
Emphasize Important Points
Generate Audience Involvement
Using Visual Aids
Types of Visual Aids
Media for the Presentation of Visual Aids
Rules for Using Visual Aids
Using Powerpoint
Sample Speech
Self-Assessment Are You Overloaded with Information?
Understanding Diversity How Culture Affects Information
Ethical Challenge The Ethics of Simplicity
@Work The Pros and Cons of Presentation Software

CHAPTER 14. Persuasive Speaking
Characteristics of Persuasion
Persuasion Is Not Coercive
Persuasion Is Usually Incremental
Persuasion Is Interactive
Persuasion Can Be Ethical
Categorizing Types of Persuasion
By Types of Proposition
By Desired Outcome
By Directness of Approach
Creating the Persuasive Message
Set a Clear, Persuasive Purpose
Structure the Message Carefully
Use Solid Evidence
Avoid Fallacies
Adapting to the Audience
Establish Common Ground
Organize According to the Expected Response
Neutralize Potential Hostility
Building Credibility as a Speaker
Sample Speech
Ethical Challenge Analyzing Communication Behaviors
Understanding Diversity Cultural Differences in Persuasion
Ethical Challenge Adapting to a Hostile Audience
Self-Assessment Persuasive Speech
@Work Persuasion Skills in the World of Sales
Checklist Ethos, Pathos, and Logos


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