COMM001 Study Guide

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