COMM001 Study Guide

Site: Saylor Academy
Course: COMM001: Principles of Human Communication
Book: COMM001 Study Guide
Printed by: Guest user
Date: Wednesday, May 18, 2022, 11:23 AM

Unit 1: Foundations of Human Communication

1a. Define the major components of the human communication process

1. We engage in communication every day. It is an important part of human life.

  • Briefly define the concept of communication.
  • Explain the levels of communication as a part of our daily lives using the pyramid of communications model.

Review the definition of communication and its general applications in Defining Communication and Communication Study, Elements of Communication, and What is Communication?.

2. two basic models describe the communication process.

  • Define the five components of the linear model of communication: sender, receiver, message, channel, and noise.
  • What distinguishes the transactional model of communication from the linear model of communication?

If these models sound unfamiliar, review Defining Communication and Communication Study and Oral vs. Written Communication.


1b. Recognize the impact of diversity and culture on interpersonal communication and group communication

1. Why should we learn about other cultures and develop intercultural communication competence?

Review Intercultural Communication and Effective Cross-Cultural Communication.

2. Culture and diversity are a fact of life in this multicultural world.

  • What does it mean when we say that communication is learned?
  • What does it mean when we say that language is relational?
  • How do accents and dialects affect our impressions of others and our ability to communicate within a diverse community?
  • How do cultural customs and norms affect our impressions of others and our ability to communicate within a diverse community?
  • Name five classifications that are often attributed to cultural bias.

There are quite a few variables that affect culture and diversity. If you missed any of these review sections 3.1, 3.2, and 3.4 in Verbal Communication.

3. Define gender communication.

  • Why is gender an important element of a diverse society?
  • Explain how verbal and nonverbal communication are used in the production of the meaning of gender.
  • Explain how verbal and nonverbal communication define gender.

Review Gender CommunicationLanguage Defines Gender, and Nonverbal Communication Between Men and Women.

4. It is not uncommon for individuals to experience culture shock.

  • Define the concept of culture shock.
  • What are the stages of culture shock?


1c. Explain the functions of verbal and nonverbal communication

1. What is the definition of verbal communication? Along with a definition, provide some examples of verbal communication strategies.

To review, see Verbal Communication and section 3.1 of A Primer on Verbal Communication.

2. Verbal communication can be very powerful.

  • What are the functions of verbal communication?
  • Name four types of verbal expressions.
  • Name six types of unsupportive verbal communication messages.

Review section 3.2 in A Primer on Verbal Communication.

3. If language (verbal communication) is so powerful, how can it be arbitrary, ambiguous, and abstract?

To review the nature of verbal communication, see section 3.3 of A Primer on Verbal Communication and pages 2-3 in Verbal Communication.

4. What is the difference between connotative and denotative language?

  • When would it be most appropriate to use connotative language?
  • When would it be most appropriate to use denotative language?

Review section 3.1 in A Primer on Verbal Communication and Verbal Communication.

5. What is the definition of nonverbal communication?

  • Provide some examples of nonverbal communication strategies.
  • What are the functions of nonverbal communication?
  • Define and describe demonstrations of support with nonverbal communication.

It is surprising how much we communicate and how much we can understand about other people by observing nonverbal communication. To review, see A Primer on Verbal Communication.

6. Compare and contrast verbal and nonverbal communication. Using a chart may help you to see how these two forms of communication complement one another and where each is more powerful. You can use these headers:

  • Characteristics of Verbal Communication
  • Characteristics of Nonverbal Communication
  • Example You Have Observed

Review A Primer on Verbal Communication.

7. Compare and contrast written and spoken communication.

  • When would it be appropriate to use written communication?
  • When would it be appropriate to use spoken communication?

Review pages 5 through 7 in Survey of Communication Study: Chapter 2: Verbal Communication, Oral vs. Written Communication, and Elements of Communication.


1d. Use language accurately, expressively, and appropriately in communication settings

Verbal communication serves many functions. We use verbal communication to define reality, organize complex ideas and experiences into categories, think, and shape our attitudes about the world around us. Verbal communication is instrumental to self-expression, informing, persuading, and entertaining others; and developing relationships with others. Verbal expressions are categorized into the following four types: observations, thoughts, feelings, and needs.

We express ourselves through our use of verbal communication. How we use our verbal communication skills allows us to improve our credibility and as a means of control. How well we know the other person (the receiver) and the type of relationship we have with the receiver influence how we use verbal communication. Using inclusive pronouns (we, our, us) shows the relationship with others. In more formal relationships, like work relationships, our language use is also more formal. Using slang and jargon can separate people and make others feel excluded from the message.

Review A Primer on Verbal Communication, Oral vs. Written Communication, and The Power of Verbal Communication for discussions of the appropriate use of language for clarity and inclusion. Also, review Understanding Nonverbal Communication, since our nonverbal communication is often aligned with our verbal communication.


1e. Explain the perception of self and others

1. The process of perception is inseparable from the process of communication.

  • Name and define the phases of the perception process.
  • How does motivation affect the perception process?
  • Define the five perceptual schemes.
  • Explain how the four types of verbal expression relate to the perception process.

To review, see A Primer on Verbal Communication.

2. What is impression management?

  • How do we use it daily? Write a few examples to reinforce your understanding of the concept and its applications.
  • Consider the importance of impression management as part of our intercultural communication skills. (1b).

Just as we use the perception process as a tool to plan our communication interactions, we have the ability to shape how we are perceived by others. Review Impression Management.


1f. List the ethical responsibilities of communicators in a diverse society

  • List the ethical responsibilities as defined by the National Communication Association's Credo for Ethical Communication.
  • List from the examples of your personal experiences of the expectations in the Credo for Ethical Communication. These examples may be positive or negative since we know that not all people communicate ethically.
  • Why do some people communicate in an unethical manner?
  • Is swearing unethical? Why or why not?
  • Is gossip unethical? Why or why not?


1g. Identify and apply communication theories

1. Define each of the following general communication theories: Attribution Theory, Cognitive Learning Theory, Constructivism, Coordinated Management of Meaning, Elaboration Likelihood Model, Face Negotiation Theory, Psychodynamic Theory, Social Judgment Theory, Social Learning Theory, Social Penetration Theory, Standpoint Theory, and Uncertainty Reduction Theory.

Theories help us understand how a concept operates in our daily lives. Once you have defined these theories, review Communication Theory.

2. Define rhetorical criticism. How does rhetorical criticism contribute to our understanding of human communication today?

Review Rhetorical Criticism.


Unit 1 Vocabulary

This vocabulary list includes terms that might help you answer some of the review items above and some terms you should be familiar with to be successful on the final exam.

  • artifacts
  • audience
  • chronemics
  • collectivism/individualism
  • context
  • culture
  • ethnicity
  • ethnocentrism
  • gender
  • haptics
  • high and low context
  • identity
  • kinesics
  • metaphor
  • neologisms
  • paralanguage
  • persuasion
  • phonology
  • pragmatics
  • privilege
  • proximity
  • race
  • rhetoric
  • selective perception
  • selective exposure
  • selective retention
  • semantics
  • simile
  • slang
  • stereotyping
  • Symbolic Annihilation
  • Symbolic Interaction
  • symbols
  • syntactics

Unit 2: Interpersonal Communication

2a. Identify competencies in interpersonal communication

  • Define each of these four competencies.
  • Provide examples of these competencies.

Verbal and nonverbal communication are competencies that are universal to human communication as a process. Four other important competencies to master as part of interpersonal communication include listening, negotiation, conflict management, and self-disclosure.

How we share information and what information we share with others influences our success in developing interpersonal relationships. Using the Johari window model, name and describe the four quadrants of self-disclosure.

To review the competencies necessary for interpersonal communication, see Interpersonal Communication Processes and Interpersonal Communication.


2b. Use language accurately, expressively, and appropriately in communication settings

  • Explain three types of messages that create confirming and disconfirming communication climates.
  • Explain when it is most appropriate to use each of the above types of messages.
  • Name six common types of unsupportive messages or use of language.
  • Explain how nonverbal communication can be used to support verbal communication.

Interpersonal communication is communication between individual people, like a conversation. We also call it dyadic communication. How we use language in conversations with friends, family, and colleagues at work or in school can have a powerful influence on our relationships and the outcome we hope to get from the interaction or transaction.

To review the competencies necessary for interpersonal communication, see Interpersonal Communication and "I" and "You" Messages in Conflict. You may also want to reflect on More on Interpersonal Communication.


2c. Identify relationship development, both personally and professionally

  • Name and define the six basic stages of relationship development.
  • Name the seven stages of romantic relationship development and the five stages of relationship deterioration.
  • Compare and contrast how personal relationships and professional relationships are developed using the relationship development model.
  • What makes relationships within families more complex than relationships between friends or coworkers?

Relationships are important to all humans. We use communication to develop relationships at the personal level (friends and romances) and the professional level (with coworkers, superiors, and subordinates).

To review, see Interpersonal Communication ProcessesInterpersonal Communication, and Stages of Relationship Theory.


2d. List the components of conflict and identify strategies for conflict management

  • Describe how conflict between individuals can be both destructive and productive.
  • Describe the following five types of conflict in interpersonal relationships: affective, conflict of interest, value, cognitive, and goal.
  • Describe five major strategies for managing conflict in interpersonal relationships. Which of the five conflict management strategies do you favor when dealing with interpersonal relationships? What factors affect the strategy that you choose?

Conflict between individuals is inevitable. We cannot expect to agree with everyone all of the time. And sometimes, we need to be able to defend our ideas with others.

To review conflict as a concept and strategies for managing your response while in conflict with others, see Interpersonal Communication Processes, Interpersonal Communication, and "I" and "You" Messages in Conflict.


2e. Explain the role of critical and active listening in various communication climates

  • Describe the five stages of listening and two types of feedback.
  • Describe the four listening styles.
  • How do we balance critical listening with responding to others in each of the communication climates?

Listening is a skill we learn through practice. It is also a process. Understanding that people satisfy their individual needs from interpersonal relationships, describe the three relational dialectics: autonomy-connection, novelty-predictability, and openness-closedness. Relational dialectics become the foundation for both stronger relationships and conflict between individuals. Name three ways to manage relational tensions. Listening is a critical component of human communication in general and specifically for interpersonal communication. Through our thoughtful and gracious acts of listening, we come to know other people and learn.

To review the concept of listening and its practice, see The Importance of Listening and 5 Simple Ways to Become a Better Listener.


2f. List barriers to effective listening and strategies to improve critical listening

  • Describe the four types of noise and how each can be a barrier to being a good listener.
  • How do personal bias and attention span affect our listening skills?
  • What are six strategies for improving critical listening?

Reflect for a moment on the stages of the listening process and the components of the communication model. It is a compliment to be called a good listener and a quality that everyone can benefit from in our personal and professional relationships.

To review the process and barriers of effective listening, see The Importance of Listening.


Unit 2 Vocabulary

This vocabulary list includes terms that might help you answer some of the review items above and some terms you should be familiar with to be successful on the final exam.

  • communication climate
  • conflict
  • dyad
  • proximity
  • self-identity

Unit 3: Group Communication

3a. Identify specific competencies of the interpersonal communication process used in facilitating small group communication

  • Define primary groups and secondary groups. What is the difference between groups and teams?
  • Define the following group communication competencies: cohesiveness, common goals, interaction, interdependence, synergy, and shared norms.
  • What are four typical ways that members make decisions in small groups?

Based on how confident you with the concept of groups and communicating in groups, you review the definition and competencies in Group Communication and Group Problem-Solving Procedures.


3b. Identify the stages of small group development

  • Name and define the five stages of group development in the proper order.

The group development model is a reflection of interpersonal relationship development. For a review of the stages of group development, see Group Formation, Group Communication, and Managing Groups and Teams.


3c. Identify typical setting for small group communication

  • Define the following small group settings: activity groups, learning groups, personal growth groups, problem-solving teams, temporary teams, and virtual groups.
  • What makes these settings differ from one another?

We work and affiliate in groups regularly in our social activities, with family, and at work or school.

To review settings or types of groups we find ourselves in, see Group Communication and Managing Groups and Teams.



3d. Explain the roles of people in small groups

  • Name and define the four types of roles people take on when they participate in group communication and group decision making.
  • Define the following sixteen roles that group members may be described as playing in a group setting: aggressor, blocker, clown, compromiser, devil's advocate, encourager, energizer, facilitator, follower, gatekeeper, information gatherer, opinion gatherer, playboy/girl, recorder, self-confessor, and tension releaser.
  • Define the three types of leadership styles often found in small groups.

Depending on how confident you are with your recall and identification of these roles and functions, review Group Communication and Managing Groups and Teams. You may also review Small Group Roles and Leadership and Making Group-Work Work.


3e. Apply the theories of communication to the small group setting

In addition to the communication theories presented in Unit 1, four theories were presented in this unit that focus on group decision making and group behavior. Define each of the following theories: diamond of participatory decision-making, functional theory, groupthink, and procedural model of problem-solving.

To review decision-making theories and models applied in the group communication process, see Group CommunicationGroup Problem-Solving Procedures, and Groupthink.


3f. Identify ethical and unethical applications of communication in small groups

  • Define ethical behavior for members of small groups and teams.
  • Explain the concepts of conflict of interest and power (power-from-within, power-over, power-with).

Ethical behavior is expected in all our communication transactions. It is especially important during group communication because the decisions we make in groups affect other people and ourselves.

To review, see Group Communication, Managing Groups and Teams, and Making Group-Work Work.

Unit 4: Organizational Communication

4a. Identify the characteristics of organizations

  • What is the difference between small groups, teams, and organizations?
  • Name and describe the five perspectives for understanding organizational communication.

Understanding this basic concept is key to our understanding of organizational communication. To review the definition and characteristics of organizations, see Organizational Communication.


4b. Identify competencies in interpersonal communication that occurs in organizations

  • Define organizational communication.
  • Identify five functions of organizational communication.

To review the definition and functions of organizational communication, see Organizational Communication.


4c. Describe the interpersonal relationships between coworkers and their supervisors

  • Define self-disclosure in the workplace.
  • What types of conflicts occur in the workplace?
  • Describe the ways that we manage our emotions in the workplace.
  • What is the difference between evaluation and criticism?
  • How must our listening skills change when we engage in interpersonal communication with supervisors and coworkers?
  • Name and describe the five stages of the conversation model.

Relationships in the workplace – between coworkers and between employees and supervisors – can create some challenges. Concepts we learned in Unit 2 (Interpersonal Communication) must be revisited in light of the power relationship between employees and supervisors and between coworkers.

To review communication among coworkers and between supervisors and subordinates, see Internal Communication and Intrapersonal and Interpersonal Business Communication.


4d. Explain the differences between informal and formal messages

  • Define the formal network and the informal network.
  • Explain the difference between formal and informal messages.
  • Who is more likely to share informal messages?

There are typically two communication networks through which messages travel within an organization. For a quick refresher of communication networks and messages, see Communication in the Organization.


4e. Define the concept of information overload

  • Define the concept of information overload.
  • Explain why information overload is a concern for organizational productivity.

To review, see Social Media in the Workplace.


4f. List ethical concerns regarding organizational communication

  • List ethical concerns that could be of concern in organizational communication.
  • Explain the key concepts of the NCA code of ethics as these apply to communicating in organizations.

Ethical behavior is expected in all our communication transactions. It is a core competency for organizational communication. We often hear the cliché "knowledge is power". The National Communication Association (NCA) code of ethics makes it quite clear that we are responsible for how we communicate and what we communicate and the consequences thereafter.

To review, see Organizational Communication and Communication.


Unit 4 Vocabulary

This vocabulary list includes terms that might help you answer some of the review items above and some terms you should be familiar with to be successful on the final exam.

  • Bureaucracy
  • Complexity
  • Defensive Climate
  • Equifinality
  • Homeostasis
  • Negative entropy
  • Permeability
  • Requisite variety
  • Sociability
  • Solidarity
  • Supportive Climate
  • Values

Unit 5: Mass Communication

5a. Identify the characteristics of mass media and mass communication

  • Define mass communication and mass media.
  • Define the following characteristics of mass communication: correlation, entertainment, mobilization, sensationalization, surveillance, transmission, validation.
  • Why are mass media described as gatekeepers?

To review mass communication and mass media, see Mass Communication.


5b. Identify the effects of mass communication on human communication

  • Explain how each of the following mass media affected society and our expectations of government: the printing press, radio, television, internet, and social media.
  • Explain how mass communication has affected how we develop and maintain interpersonal relationships reflecting on the concepts of mass personal communication and the global village.

Over the decades, mass communication and mass media have affected how we communicate and how cultures have developed. To review media effects on human communication, see Mass Communication.


5c. Explain different mass communication theories

  • Define the following mass communication theories: cultivation theory, magic bullet theory, multi-step flow theory, two-step flow theory, and uses and gratification theory.

Throughout this course, we looked at several theories. Some explain the general nature of human communication, and others specifically explain how communication is used or affects outcomes in more specific areas of our lives. To review, see Mass Communication.


5d. List ethical concerns regarding mass communication

  • List ethical concerns regarding mass media and mass communication.
  • Explain the key concepts of media literacy based on its eight principles.
  • Apply the National Communication Association code of ethics to the practices of mass communication.

We often expect higher ethical behavior from individuals who produce mass-mediated messages because the mass media has such a profound impact on all members of society. To review, see Mass Communication, Eight Key Concepts for Media Literacy, Media Literacy, and The Ethics of Social Media.