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									                                                        Comm 492/Spring 03/Dr. O’Sullivan/pg 1

Reader and Abstracts

Origins and Critiques of the Divide

1. Berger, C. R., & Chaffee, S. H. (1988). On bridging the communication gap.
   Human Communication Research, 15, 311-318.

      Berger and Chaffee discuss the division between mass communication and
  interpersonal communication with respect to scholarly work. While both have similar
  histories and theoretical frameworks they have different purposes, boundaries, and
  methods. Berger and Chaffee explain that after being editors for two communication
  journals they noticed that one, Human Communication Research, was receiving scholarly
  submissions on mostly interpersonal communication and the other, Communication
  Research, was receiving primarily mass communication articles. In an effort to link
  interpersonal communication and mass communication together, they co-edited the
  Handbook of Communication Science. They asked authors to submit research that
  combined different areas of communication. What they received from the authors was
  often just reviews of other research. It seemed that scholars were unwilling or unable to
  link the various types of communication frameworks and instead submitted either mass
  communication or interpersonal communication research. Berger and Chaffee argue that
  while differences exist between mass communication and interpersonal communication
  each influence the other. They point out that media effects research focused on the
  social outcomes of mass communication. There have been studies in many humanistic
  disciplines in regards to mass communication. Berger and Chaffee point out that with so
  many other disciplines focusing on mass communication, there is little opportunity for
  mass communication scholars to put effort into linking mass communication to
  interpersonal communication. Although both fields are within the discipline of
  communication and revolve around the same grounding theories, mass communication
  and interpersonal communication scholars utilize theoretical information differently in
  order to meet their own needs. The argument is posed that if the two fields rely on the
  same theory, they must know how each affects the other.
       - Deanna Welchel, 1/22/03

2. Rice, R. E., Borgman, C. L., & Reeves, B. (1988). Citation networks of
   communication journals, 1977-1985: Cliques and positions, citation made and
   citations received. Human Communication Research, 15, 256-283.

      In an effort to promote the intra- and inter-discipline sharing of information, this
  article looks at patterns of citations made and citations received among twenty unique
  communication journals as designated by the Journal Citation Reports volume of the
  Social Sciences Citation Index. Through cohesion-based analysis, the authors found that
  two distinct cliques emerge within the communication discipline: mass communication
  and interpersonal communication. These two cliques had a generally stable pattern of
  making and receiving citations over the period between 1977 and 1985, with the mass
  media clique giving more to the interpersonal clique than it received from it. The authors
  drive their point home throughout the article by using language that reinforces the
  scientific ideal of sharing information. For instance, through position-based network
  analysis, they found differing relationships between communication journals. Journals
  that transmit and receive fairly equally are called ―leaders,‖ while a journal that only
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  seems to receive information flow is called a ―follower.‖ A journal that transmits much
  more than it receives is referred to as ―somewhat of a snob.‖ The two cliques of mass
  and interpersonal are each found to behave rather ―ethnocentrically,‖ with ―inbreeding‖ in
  evidence within each clique, although reciprocal citing is higher within the mass
  communication clique than within the interpersonal communication clique.
      - Geoff Beran, 1/2103

3. Reardon, K. K., & Rogers, E. M. (1988). Interpersonal versus mass media
   communication: A false dichotomy. Human Communication Research, 15, 284-

      In this research, Reardon and Rogers challenge the divide between interpersonal and
  mass media communication. They recognize that the division results from differences
  between interpersonal and mass media in defining channel type, number of message
  recipients, and potential for feedback. Because of these differences, the divide separates
  the fields of study and leaves discipline scholars favoring the utility of one or another.
      Reardon and Rogers suggest that the divide exists because of history and politics. The
  roots of the communication discipline, lacking structure in the 1950s, provided the
  separation between interpersonal and mass media as a means for organization. Following
  this, as the discipline developed, interpersonal and mass media evolved into different
  departments in the university, the structure ―so as to grow apart instead of together‖
  (289). Reardon and Rogers note the University of Wisconsin as an example of students
  choosing either mass media or interpersonal communication as a field of study.
      Reardon and Rogers offer evidence of the divide through the study of cross-citation in
  discipline journals. Three analyses (Paisley, 1984; Rice, Borgman, & Reeves, 1988; and
  Reeves & Borgman, 1983) show only 0.3%, 6.9%, and 7.7% rates of cross-citation
  between mass media and interpersonal communication journals, respectively. This
  evidence suggests that few scholars reference cross-reference research outside their
  interest areas, increasing the divide and weakening the discipline. Reardon and Rogers
  suggest that Human Communication Research and the International Communication
  Association offer the most viable point of intersection in the discipline.
      Reardon and Rogers state the division between mass media and interpersonal
  communication is problematic. First, because of the divide, communication theory lacks
  integration. Second, the total communication process cannot be understood by a single
  subdiscipline. In fact, the connection between the subdisciplines is essential in
  understanding the socialization process, health communications, family communication,
  and other areas. Third, the interactivity of new communication technologies occurs at the
  intersection of mass media and interpersonal communication. Thus, to fully research and
  understand new communication technology, integration is essential.
      Reardon and Rogers suggest that ―theory, research, and the field of communication in
  general would benefit from increased dialogue across the overestimated interpersonal
  and mass media communication divide‖ (299). An effort to unite the discipline will
  strengthen its purpose overall through more solid theory and research and increased
  understanding of shared concepts.
      - Jennifer Silva; 1/22/03

4. Beniger, J. R. (1993). Communication - Embrace the subject, not the field.
   Journal of Communication, 43(4), 18-25.

     In contrast to the interests in information, media, and communication in the world
  around us, the academic core of communication studies remains nearly the same as it
  was fifty years ago. The study of communication has failed to take a central role as the
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  interdisciplinary focal point for the study of popular culture and information exchange.
  Scholars from other disciplines doggedly fail to recognize or embrace the field of
  communication as scholarly legitimate.
      Beniger proposes that communication scholars embrace the subject matter of
  communication and abandon the narrow and outdated approaches to the field and the
  linear models that have been used to define communication. Beniger proposes the four
  C‘s, as an alternative to the three R‘s of linear information processing: (a)cognition, (b)
  culture (paying attention to cultural artifacts creates a bridge between the humanities
  and the social/cognitive sciences, (c)control (all social behavior is goal-directed, resulting
  in conflict from competition for resources), and (c) communication (the process of
  information flow and how the process flows over into socialization and media content.
      Using the four C‘s as unifying concepts, the focus of the field shifts from
  manifestations of communication to an integrative understanding of wider phenomena.
  For example, popular culture influences the way we think, so that it might be studied as a
  constituent of cognition.
      Rather than developing a unifying theory to advance the status of communication
  study, Beniger proposes that the unifying concepts in the four C‘s would allow
  communication to join forces with economics (allocation of resources) and political
  science (power) as a third force (information and communication) to provide an
  integrative approach to the study of all social behavior.
      By focusing on the exchange and flow of information in a more macro way, Beniger
  claims that communication would find a more distinct place in the social sciences. This
  macro approach to communication would force a universal theory of communication, and
  discourage the development of marginal, fragmented, and contextual theory.
      Acknowledging the complex interrelationships of concepts and behavior in the study
  of communication, Beniger claims that the subdivision of the field has only fragmented
  study further. He does not offer specific or concrete thoughts on how a more macro
  approach to communication study would discourage contextual study and theory.
      - Nancy Farris, 1/29/03

5. Rogers, E. M., & Chaffee, S. H. (1993). The past and the future of communication
   study: Convergence or divergence? Journal of Communication, 43(4), 125-131.

      This article is a dialogue between two professors of communication: Rogers from
  University of New Mexico and Chaffee from Stanford University. While the two do agree
  on some points as to where the future of communication is going, they generally disagree
  to what will happen to the discipline in the future.
      Rogers believes that Wilbur Schramm, whom he credits with the founding of
  communication as a discipline, developed his vision of communication by grounding it in
  the work of psychology and speech. These divergent beginnings, Rogers believes, will
  eventually lead to convergence of the discipline, so long as it is given time to develop.
  Rogers points out that many fields began without a clear direction, but in time were able
  to share a common epistemology, or understanding (p. 129). Rogers argues that as long
  as the communication discipline is given time to develop, it will come to have cohesion.
  Rogers believes it is a positive occurrence that communication as a discipline has
  developed its own scholarly journals, even if they do seem to be divided into
  subcategories of communication. However, he also believes that much work should be
  invested into developing a convergent theory of communication that will be independent
  of channels. The stance that Rogers takes on the future of communication as a discipline
  is that it will continue to grow and become known as a combination of theory and
  practical skills. Communication will then cease to subdivide, after which it will become
  more respectable to other disciplines.
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      Chaffee offers some counterpoints to Rogers. Chaffee agrees that the communication
  discipline is growing at a rapid pace, but he believes that all of the growth will only lead
  to more divergence (not only divergence from the original communication concept, but
  also divergence within the communication field). This divergence has led to sub-
  disciplines created in communication that have little similarities and do little sharing,
  aside from the name communication. Chaffee notes that Schramm‘s original vision of
  communication was to have different units of the field housed under a larger school, but
  as of yet, this has not occurred. In fact, Chaffee does not envision that it will occur at all
  because of the continuous division of the discipline, the communication research journals
  being one example. Chaffee contends that the only way for communication to thrive as a
  discipline is if unifying theories of communication are developed and taught to beginning
  students of communication. Communication scholars must also make new students
  aware that the field is much more broad than other competing disciplines, and each new
  student should also be taught the history of communication.
      Overall, Rogers predicts a much brighter future for the field than does Chaffee.
  However, both agree that some sort of unifying theory should be developed and then
  studied by all who enter the field. The goal of this unifying theory (or theories as Chaffee
  suggests) is to help make communication more respectable to others outside of the
      - Courtney Davis; 1-29-03

6. Rogers, E. M. (1999). Anatomy of the two subdisciplines of communication
   study. Human Communication Research, 25, 618-631.

       ―The field of communication study is divided into two subdisciplines—mass
  communication and interpersonal communication‖(618). In this research, Rogers looks
  at why the field is split and why the split is dysfunctional.    When communication was
  created at the university level, the programs were often added on to existing
  departments. Interpersonal and mass communication classes were implemented into
  speech departments and schools of journalism, respectively. There was no just plain
       This split remains today and is especially evident in doctoral programs around the
  country. ―Many doctoral programs of study in U.S. universities focus entirely on either
  mass communication or interpersonal communication‖ (623). Students are allowed to
  enroll in classes in the other subdiscipline, but are often discouraged from doing so.
  Because of this split, students are very unfamiliar with the other subdiscipline. Rogers
  states that they don‘t understand the theories, are uncomfortable reading journal articles
  or books, and their scholarly interests are focused in their own subdiscipline.
       Rogers also offers evidence that the ―low degree to which cross-citations between
  mass communication and interpersonal communication journals occur‖ (619) is another
  factor that indicates separation of the field. While many other disciplines have one
  dominant journal for the field, communication does not. Rogers conducted research
  indicating that cross-citations between mass and interpersonal journals range from a low
  of about 2% to a high of about 8%. ―If scholars publishing in predominantly mass
  communication journals do not cite articles published in predominantly interpersonal
  communication journals and vice versa, then participants in these two subfields perceive
  these two subfields as distinct‖ (619).
       Although Rogers states that on the bright side, scholars only need to be schooled in
  half as much academic material, he believes that there are more negative aspects to the
         ―Today there is one set of theories for interpersonal communication, and a different
  set of theories for mass communication‖ (Reardon & Rogers, 1988, p. 295). Because of
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  this, Rogers asserts that human communication cannot be fully understood by familiarity
  with only one of the two subdisciplines. With the World Wide Web, the Internet, and e-
  mail rapidly becoming large roles in our everyday lives, it is important that we know how
  to study them. Rogers speculates that since these new technologies cannot be classified
  as either mass or interpersonal media, communication scholars in either subdiscipline
  may inadequately study them. He asks, could this lead to, perhaps, the ―formation of a
  third subdiscipline‖ (627)?
       - Amanda Troy 1/29/03

Conceptual distinctions, theoretical linkages

7. Gumpert, G., & Cathcart, R. (1986). Introduction. In G. Gumpert & R. Cathcart
   (Eds.), Inter/Media: Interpersonal communication in a media world (3rd ed.) (pp. 9-16).

       The authors provide a preview of their book as well as a guide on how to digest the
  material. While the first section of the book examines the connection between the two
  fields, the remaining three sections look at their effect on our search for intimacy, on our
  perception of our environment and self, and on our values and roles. Each section
  contains essays that vary from the theoretical to the social scientific to the anecdotal and
  from a wide array of disciplines from history to philosophy to drama. Yet, they all offer
  insights on how our realities are dynamically shaped by the media, and they refute the
  idea that the media is merely entertainment serving no other function in our lives. The
  authors ask us to acknowledge all this before they make us become more aware and self-
  critical. They also ask us to keep in mind that the media is not restricted to television.
       The authors maintain that the essence of human communication has been altered
  with the introduction of new media. It has affected our concept of time and space, added
  new meanings to symbols, increased our knowledge, and changed whom we talk to, what
  we talk about, and how we talk about things.
       Just as the mass communication field has had little to do with the process of human
  communication, the interpersonal field has disregarded the influence of the media on the
  relationship between two people. This disregard for the other fails to fill a necessary void
  in the communication discipline that allows us to demonstrate the dynamic processes of
  human communication and the interdependence of its parts. There is a cyclical process
  involving the two where the media depends on us to alter our relationships in order to fit
  its projected image as it then reflects this image back at us.
       Media is stigmatized in society and is often blamed for our shortcomings, which
  incites guilt in us as we depend and use it despite our skepticism of it. The authors
  believe that mass culture available to all is poor in quality and content and brands its
  users as being duped by commercialism, reduces consumers‘ individualities, and
  threatens their freedom. In order to best understand and analyze the processes of
  human communication in a mediated world, a level of psychological detachment or space
  is necessary as it is difficult to reflect on an activity as we continue to partake in it. As
  people obsessed with our images, we must distance ourselves enough to be able to
  objectively view these images.
       - Kinda Al-Fityani, 2/5/03

8. Gumpert, G., & Cathcart, R. (1986). The interpersonal and media connection. In
   G. Gumpert & R. Cathcart (Eds.), Inter/Media: Interpersonal communication in a
   media world (3rd ed.) (pp. 17-25.)

      Overall, this chapter provides fundamental insight into the history and growth of
  interpersonal and mass communication as a means by which to facilitate the recognition
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  of commonalities between them. The overarching claim forwarded by Gumpert and
  Cathcart is the existence of an inherent connection or relationship between interpersonal
  and media or mass communication. Ultimately, the authors advocate the application of a
  systems approach as a means by which this model of mass and interpersonal
  communication can be validated.
       The chapter begins with a brief examination of what the authors identify as the
  traditional view of human communication; a notion they trace back to antiquity and
  argue is still relevant today even with the advancement of numerous technologies. It is
  stated that this most basic human communication model of a sender transmitting a
  message to a receiver has been expanded, and some of the last centuries more popular
  and intricate models of communication are discussed briefly. The authors note that
  despite a variation in emphasis of these models, all possess similar functions and the
  common assumption that ―the simple face-to-face communicative act is the act of
  communication and the one that contains all the necessary elements of human
  communication (17-18).‖ Consequently, the authors make the claim that this face-to-
  face or interpersonal model of communication is the prototypical representation by which
  all communication can be measured and further, that all forms of communication are in
  essence a variation of the interpersonal communicative act.
       The authors then shift focus to the establishment of what is known today as mass
  communication as the result of the numerous technological advancements brought about
  over the course of the 19th and 20th centuries. In other words the authors explain how
  the use of new technologies allowed for the expansion of the basic interpersonal
  communicative act into a message intended for a mass audience over time and space.
  These new advancements in technology held several implications for society and
  ultimately with time resulted in the emergence and recognition of the discipline of mass
       Gumpert and Cathcart demonstrate the process by which new media related
  technologies ultimately acquire mass embracement by society and present four stages
  over which this acceptance occurs. In addition the development of mass communication
  as an academic discipline is examined as well as the authors illustrate the maturation
  process, which occurred in the studies undertaken, models, and theories of mass
  communication. Essentially, Gumpert and Cathcart outline the progression by which the
  early one step model of mass communication which disregarded the possibility of any
  linkage between mass and interpersonal evolved to the existence of multi-step or flow
  models in which the recognition of a direct connection between the two types of
  communication is acknowledged, however not fully understood even today. The article
  concludes with the authors stressing the importance of systems approach to
  communication a way that would in a sense prohibit the examination of one of these
  types of communication without consideration and acknowledgement of the other.
       - Kelly Caraher, 2/5/03

9. Schramm, W. (1979). Channels and audiences. In G. Gumpert & R. Cathcart
   (Eds.), Inter/Media: Interpersonal communication in a media world (1st ed)
   (pp. 160-174).

      Schramm provides an explanation and framework of channels of media and
   audiences. To begin Schramm defines channel broadly as the way signs in a message
   are made available to receivers. Schramm defines audience simply to mean receivers of
   messages, more specifically as receivers of interpersonal and mass media messages.
      Schramm establishes that communication is emerging as a relationship between 2 or
   more persons with shared signs. While the sign system and context have emerged as
   significant and essential, Schramm concludes that a review of new concepts over 20
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years is necessary for understanding.
   Schramm classifies aspects of the channel, comparing interpersonal and mass
communication approaches and noting areas for interest and study:
1. The senses affected. Interpersonal communication involves all senses while sensory
   effect in mass communication is more limited. Research on various sensory appeals is
2. The opportunity for feedback. Interpersonal communication, especially face-to-face,
   maximizes feedback whereas mass communication limits feedback. In all cases, as
   interruptions occur, feedback decreases. Research on the types and effects of
   feedback in mass communication is important.
3. The amount of receiver control. Interpersonal communication allows for receiver
   pacing and control whereas mass communication, radio and television viewing, does
   not. However, new technologies allow mass media to have a persuasive and cognitive
   effect by allowing for more efficient sender and receiver controls, requiring further
   measurement and study.
4. The type of message coding. Interpersonal, nonverbal sign effects are more
   understandable than mass media effects. Research in sign types and systems is
5. The multiplicative power. Interpersonal communication cannot be multiplied easily
   while mass communication is easily multiplied and readily available. Research in the
   effect of multiplied messages is significant.
6. The power of message preservation. Interpersonal communication is not easily
   preserved while mass communication is easily maintained, documented, and
   Further, Schramm defines that ―no communication will take place except as a receiver
selects from the signs available to him, processed the resulting stimuli, and translated
them into something cognitive or behavioral‖ (p. 166). In mass communication,
individuals, then, give selective attention to concepts, making decisions based on their
expectation of reward versus effort required in such interaction. However, prior research
provides vague conclusions about exposure behavior and selectivity decisions. According
to Schramm, these decisions are grounded in a complex set of variables, independent
and/or dependent of each other:
1. The availability of the stimulus. How available is the stimulus?
2. The contrast with its background. Does the stimulus demand attention?
3. The set of the receiver. How does previous experience impact the cues of the
4. Estimated usefulness of the stimuli. How useful is the information?
5. Education and social status of the receiver. How does the individual‘s status change
    their needs for information?
   After the receiver diverts their attention to the stimulus, the information is stored and
coded in the selective perception process. Schramm describes this process as
information is interpreted in the receiver‘s framework of understanding. Like schema
theory, an individual organizes only selected information, much less than that actually
available in the channel, in a process of consideration against personal needs,
relationships, past experience, values, and beliefs. Thus, individual perceptions
determine different information selected and processed from different channels. Further,
learning occurs from different channels based on the selection of the receiver.
   To this end, Schramm determines that it is necessary to consider the effects of mass
communication channels and provides generalizations of the media as a social channel
within an interpersonal society:
1. Media have the power to focus attention, and thus to direct much of the interpersonal
   discussion within society.
2. Media have the power to confer status and focus special status.
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   3. Persuasive powers of media differ among channel types.
   4. The combination of face-to-face and media communication is likely to be more
      effective than either alone.
   5. Social effects of any medium depends on the variable audience.
      Overall, content and audience determines media effect. Schramm concludes that in
   media, the message is more important than the medium.
      - Jennifer Silva, 2/5/03

10. Rogers, E. (1979). Mass media and interpersonal communication. In G.
    Gumpert & R. Cathcart (Eds.), Inter/Media: Interpersonal communication in a
    media world (1st ed.) (pp. 192-213).

       Rogers (1979) acknowledges that there is a divide between interpersonal and mass
   communication. However, he believes that the two together benefit each other in the
   flow of communication. He points out that mass communication and interpersonal
   communication have different communication channels. The interpersonal channel is
   "the individual through whom information is flowing" (193). He describes mass
   communication channels as the means of getting the message to the audience. Rogers
   points out that different channels can be used depending on particular goals of
   communication. He goes on to point out different models of mass communication flow
   including the Hypodermic Needle Model, the Two-Step Flow Model, the One-Step Flow
   Model, and the Multi-Step Flow Model. Rogers goes on to talk about opinion leaders,
   which are the people within an audience that have the ability to change the opinions of
   others. The leaders take hold of the position by being more competent, more accessible,
   and aware of the norms in society. The opinion leaders themselves become the source
   of communication and the rest of the audience become receivers. Some opinion
   leaders are polymorphic and possess such qualities that people turn to them with many
   topics. Other leaders are monomorphic and only rise to leadership for a certain topic.
   Opinion leaders are important to mass communication because they are able to relay
   messages to parts of the audience that need guidance. According to Rogers, the source
   and receiver are important to mass communication. Depending on who the source is
   and who the receiver is the message can be better received. Homophily describes the
   similarities of the individuals who are participating in the communication. Heterophily
   refers to the differences that the source and receiver possess. Both homophily and
   heterophily can produce negative repercussions for the flow of communication.
   Heterophily without empathy is considered to be ineffective. Empathy is the ability of
   the source to relate to the audience. A source with empathy is able to make it seem as
   if she or he is similar to the audience. Thus, increasing the effectiveness of the
   communication act. Homophily can cause problems with new innovations because
   people that are more likely to buy into new innovations usually only interact with others
   like themselves. Therefore, communication does not flow downward. Rogers points
   through a combination of mass communication and interpersonal communication
   channels an innovation can both reach people with new ideas and get them to utilize the
       - Deanna Welchel, 2/12/03

11. Chaffee, S. (1986). Mass media and interpersonal channels: Competitive,
    convergent, or complementary? In G. Gumpert & R. Cathcart (Eds.),
    Inter/Media: Interpersonal communication in a media world (3rd ed.) (pp. 62-

       In this article, Chaffee attempts to destroy the myth that mass and interpersonal
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   channels of communication are in competition with each other. In what we might
   loosely term a ―water-cooler‖ model, Chaffee determines that mass and interpersonal
   work together as channels of information and communication transactions within
   society. Through an analysis of communication motivations across various types of
   communication studies, Chaffee weeds out the factors that seem most consistent and
   generalizable in regards to the reasons people use mass and/or interpersonal channels.
   He finds that while mass media tend to set the agenda of what people talk about
   (interpersonal communication), people most often seem to gather information that they
   can share with others. Accessibility is an important factor in determining what channel
   a person will use to seek out information. The more educated a person is, the more
   they will seek out various points of view, from both media, peers, and experts. Chaffee
   points out that a person who is not familiar with certain channels (like a person who
   does not know how to use the library, for instance) has a more limited access to those
   channels, at least psychologically. What is interesting is that some will seek out
   information (or opinions) from those who are in contact with experts—and also from
   those people that they know are well-versed on a topic through the mass media. This is
   typical of the way mass and interpersonal channels work together to influence people‘s
   opinions. Mass communication stimulates interest in a topic, which in turn produces
   further communication via all sorts of channels (mass and interpersonal). Chaffee
   characterizes this as an ―ongoing series of transactions‖ among all kinds of channels,
   concluding that communication of any sort breeds more communication of all sorts,
   although he seems to see the media as instigator (agenda-setter).
       - Geoff Beran, 2/12/03

12. Ruben, B. (1986). Intrapersonal, interpersonal, and mass communication
    processes in individual and multi-person systems. In G. Gumpert & R. Cathcart
    (Eds.), Inter/Media: Interpersonal communication in a media world (3rd ed.)
    (pp. 140-159).

       In this article, Ruben presents a different paradigmatic approach to the study of
   communication. The traditional approach to communication study, beginning with
   Aristotle, is that of descriptive analysis. The act, the transaction, and/or the process of
   communication have been dissected into component parts in an effort to explain how
   communication works. Applying systems theory to the most basic functions of human
   life, Ruben constructs a paradigm for functional analysis of communication.
       The paradigm depicts a multi-functional, multi-faceted, and multi-layered
   communication process that serves both the individual and multi-individual systems.
   While traditional approaches have sought answers to how communication works,
   Ruben‘s paradigm suggests research into how and why humans communicate. It is
   through the use of communication that the individual system comes to know and make
   sense of itself and its place in the environment – from a basic bio-physical level to how
   an individual relates to other humans and comes to make sense of cultural norms.. The
   multi-individual system (the organization, society, the family) uses communication to
   share meanings, create and maintain order, and to perpetuate social norms. Personal
   (individual), social (multi-individual), and mass (diffusion of shared meaning)
   communication each serve distinct, but overlapping, functions for humans as
   metabolizers of information.
       Ruben notes that humans are unique in their creation and accumulation of symbols as
   knowledge; his paradigm focuses attention on how humans use communication to be
   functional, rather than on how communication functions.
       - Nancy Farris, 2/12/03
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Bridging the Divide: Mass Communication Approaches

13. Horton, D., & Wohl, R. R. (1956). Mass communication and parasocial
    interaction: Observations on intimacy at a distance. Psychiatry, 19, 215-229.

        This article written by Horton and Wohl was first published in 1956 in the Journal of
   Psychiatry, and was one very earliest examinations of how the media, and media
   performers specifically what they term ―personae‖ have the potential to create an
   illusion of interpersonal relationships. In other words, popular mass media forms
   present an illusion in which the observer has a face-to-face relationship with the
   performer. Horton and Wohl characterize these para-social relationships as those, which
   are ―based upon an implicit agreement between the performer and the viewer that they
   will pretend the relationship is not mediated‖ (p 32). Presented in the article is an
   examination of the nature, implications, and functions of these relationships, as well as
   specific examples of interaction of this type. Situations of extreme para-social
   interaction are explored as well.
        The one-sided nature or lack of reciprocity, and lack of the potential for mutual
   development are cited as key components of para-social interaction, and also as what
   distinguishes para-social interaction from traditional forms of direct interpersonal
   relationships. The authors focus their examination on what at the time had emerged as
   a new type of performer, which included talk show and game show hosts. They refer to
   these performers as ―personae‖ and discuss the nature of para-social relationships of
   this type. Horton and Whol note that these personae are often viewed in somewhat
   same way as an individual‘s actual chosen friends. They explain that over time viewers
   who choose to engage in these relationships will add to them through the use of fantasy,
   and can come to believe that individually they know and understand the persona on a
   deep level and more so than any others do.
        An illusion of intimacy fostered by the personae in para-social relationships is
   discussed, and several methods by which personae achieve this illusion are presented.
   The role of the audience is described in the article, as well as the ways in which the
   attitudes of the audience members are influenced and shaped by the program, its
   format, and or those who promote the program and or persona. Distinction is made
   between complementary and compensatory functions of para-social interaction. While a
   great majority of individuals do to some extent engage in para-social interaction as a
   way to complement their regular social life and reaffirm their assumptions. For those
   who feel that they lack the opportunity for the development of relationships in their
   environment and therefore turn to para-social interaction are said to form compensatory
   attachments. Horton and Wohl explain that para-social interaction can be regarded as
   pathological when it becomes a substitute for social interaction and a defiance of
   objective reality.
        Finally, specific examples of para-social interaction from television and radio are
   mentioned to illustrate the nature of the interaction and also to illustrate the notion of
   public versus private life of personae, and audience interest in seeking to go beyond the
   public image. Future avenues for research are presented as hopes to foster an
   examination of how para-social relationships are integrated with usual social activity.
        - Kelly Carahar, 2/19/03

14. Cathcart, R. (1986). Our soap opera friends. In G. Gumpert & R. Cathcart
    (Eds.), Inter/Media: Interpersonal communication in a media world (3rd ed.)
    (pp. 207-218).
                                                         Comm 492/Spring 03/Dr. O’Sullivan/pg 11

       In this article Cathcart describes daytime soap operas as a form of mediated
   interpersonal communication. He believes that in this busy era, people have less time
   and will to develop interpersonal relationships. He suggests instead that people rely on
   soap operas to fulfill their longing for those kinds of relationships. People can use the
   soap opera as a substitute for their own real interpersonal relationships. In this article,
   Cathcart goes on to explain just how soap operas, as a genre, help viewers create
   interpersonal relationships with characters on their favorite soap opera.
       There are many reasons why Cathcart considers soap operas to be mediated
   interpersonal communication, while other television genres are not looked at in the
   same light. Soap operas operate on a more realistic time schedule than other television
   programming. Events that occur on a soap opera occur over what seems to be a
   realistic time period, as opposed to a typical sit com in which a half hour can span the
   time of any number of days or weeks. Soap operas do not end neatly in an hour
   episode; instead, they carry plot lines over long periods of time as to imitate real life.
   When a television program portrays events that occur over realistic time periods,
   viewers tend to identify with it more than if the event occurred in just one episode of the
   program. This identification is the first step in developing the mediated interpersonal
       Another way that soap operas develop this kind of communication is that they always
   remain in contemporary times. Soap operas do not attempt to transcend eras; rather,
   they play in the present. Soap opera characters discuss current issues, wear current
   clothes, and speak using current language and slang terms. These characteristics may
   help to make the viewer want to know more about what will happen in the ―lives‖ of the
   characters, thus leading to mediated interpersonal communication.
       While Cathcart goes further in depth discussing ways in which soap operas work to
   achieve mediated interpersonal communication, the above brief description of two ways
   illustrates the point that he tries to make. He goes on to say that most people in society
   have less time to get to know people on a personal level, and that this quick (usually
   one hour) way fulfills our need for interpersonal relationships. With the sprawl of society
   to all corners of the country, there is no longer a general meeting place for people to
   come together regularly to discuss life events like marriage, divorce, birth, and death
   (pg. 217). People today have less and less time for other people; they are too busy
   with work and other obligations that they do not have time to develop interpersonal
   relationships to the level that they once could. According to Cathcart, this is exactly
   where soap operas come in. They simulate actual interpersonal relationships because a
   viewer can leave for a few days (even weeks) and come back with the likelihood that
   many things will still be the same (people will still be married, people will still be living
   with the same disease, people will still be planning the same wedding). Of course some
   things will change, but that simulates actual interpersonal relationships: some things will
   change, but the person will still be overall unchanged. Soap operas also impersonate
   interpersonal relationships because the viewer is able to learn many different aspects of
   the characters. This way the viewer can choose characters that they identify with, as
   well as characters they like and dislike.
       Cathcart concludes by stating that soap operas meet the need ―for the emotional
   interpersonal intimacy which is difficult to come by and much too time consuming in
   actuality‖ (p. 218). By this he means that soap operas are a quick and easy substitute
   for the interpersonal relationships that people used to have to work at much harder to
       - Courtney Davis, 2/19/2003

15. Caughey, J. L. (1986). Social relations with media figures. In G. Gumpert & R.
    Cathcart (Eds.), Inter/Media: Interpersonal communication in a media world
                                                         Comm 492/Spring 03/Dr. O’Sullivan/pg 12

   (3rd ed.) (pp. 219-252).

       I was driving in the car the other day with my friend the other day when a J‘Lo song
   came on the radio, and I found myself asking her if she and Ben Affleck got married yet.
   I really didn‘t care; I just felt I should have heard something about it. It made more
   sense to me when I read the Caughey article. ―Information about media figures is a
   core aspect of American cultural knowledge‖ (221).
       We wonder why the media and media figures are so important to us, but they have
   become part of our every day lives. ―By age sixteen, a contemporary child has spent
   more time watching TV than attending school‖ (221).
       Caughey states that we are not only watching the shows but also becoming part the
   characters we see, playing roles in many situations beyond those of actual social
   experience. He says that we are engaging in these relationships even long after we are
   done watching a show or reading a book.
       We view many relationships as those in our real lives and many are ―directly parallel
   to actual social relationships with real ―fathers,‖ ―sisters,‖ ―friends,‖ and ―lovers‖ (227).
   Sometimes even ―artificial romances‖ result. At some point or another most everyone
   has probably said, ―I love‖ naming some actor/actress or singer, etc.
       These relationships are seen through media consumption as well as acquiring
   mementos, while some people try to make contact with their ―loves.‖ ―‗Groupies‖
   represent a culturally recognized category of successful celebrity seekers who have
   managed to turn a fantasy attraction into a ―real‖ relationship‖ (231).
       Caughey says that the relationships fill gaps in our social worlds. When we are
   alone, we often substitute the media for a physical companion. He goes on to say that
   in some ways the fantasy relationships are better than real love relationships. ―It is the
   fantasy that helps to make these relationships superior to actual social interactions‖
       Hate relationships are also formed, and some people even watch certain shows just
   ―for the pleasure of hating the celebrity‖ (236). Sometimes hate fantasies are acted out
   which ―allows the expression of a hatred that is more extreme and presumably more
   satisfying than that which can safely be expressed in real social situations‖ (236).
       Caughey says that we choose to focus on certain figures because they may have
   qualities we see in ourselves or that they may mirror some of our actual social
       He also states ―artificial contact with an admired figureis often felt to be
   subjectively beneficial‖ (247). This communication may put someone in a good mood.
       Caughey concludes by saying these attachments are not simple and may have both
   positive and negative consequences, but ―any approach to American society that ignores
   these social relationships is seriously incomplete‖ (249).
       - Amanda Troy 2/19/03

16. Meyrowitz, J. (1994). The life and death of media friends: New genres of
    intimacy and mourning. In R. Cathcart and S. Drucker (Eds.), American heroes
    in a media age (pp. 62-81). New York: Hampton Press.

       In this article, Meyrowitz (1994) establishes a new genre of grief and loss over the
   death of media friends. In doing so, Meyrowitz further defines and validates the
   existence of relationships between media consumers and their media friends.
       Meyrowitz defines media friend as, ―A direct one-to-one tie . . . that exists apart
   from, and almost in spite of, how widely known the person is‖ (63). In fact, the intimacy
   of this tie exists despite having never actually met face-to-face and/or corresponded
   directly with celebrities, rock start, actors, sports figures, politicians, etc. Because the
                                                         Comm 492/Spring 03/Dr. O’Sullivan/pg 13

   relationship is unique, expectations of media friends differ than expectations of actual
   friends. These expectations include a heroic aura about media friends that deepens the
   intimacy of the relationship, often leading one to exhibit fan behavior including visits to
   Graceland or the grave of John F. Kennedy.
       Meyrowtiz notes that the evolution of television, radio, and more recently, new
   technology, offers new opportunities for relationships with media friends. In fact,
   popular programs and publications reveal insider details of the lives of media friends.
   Also, over time, these relationships become more sustainable than actual relationships
   due to time, space, or other restrictions. Still, media friends reveal limited details about
   their personal lives, and often rely on media production to alter their public images. True
   behaviors can even either weaken a media relationship through changing public
   perception or strengthen the relationship through enhancing the public view.
       Meyrowitz offers important insights into how relationships develop with media
   friends. Fans may become enlightened about their friend‘s actual life through their
   mediated performances, blurring the line between what is real and what is not. For
   example, song lyrics may provide information about personal struggles, widely shared
   among fans. Further, media friends overlap in professional responsibilities: actors that
   become politicians, sports figures in advertising, or celebrity reality television shows,
   confuse viewers as to what is real and what is not, providing for increased intimacy and
       Meyrowitz confirms that this intimacy is indeed evident at the death of a media
   friend. When this occurs, fans hold large, around the clock vigils at various locations, to
   mourn the loss of their friend. These events are mediated by other media friends,
   newscasters, etc., that provide narration and visuals of bouquets of flowers and
   handmade tributes. Further, media professionals provide images to immortalize the
   friend, suspending regular programming to tributes and specials. This continues long
   after the death through the release of ―rare footage‖ or new information about the
   celebrity. In addition, fans may continue to follow the children and families of media
   friends to further the intimacy of the relationship. Lastly, media friends may be even
   more widely accepted and publicly embraced following their death than ever before.
       In conclusion, Meyrowitz notes that new technology will continue to strengthen and
   lengthen fans bonds with their media friends. While these relationships are markedly
   different than those with actual friends, media friendships engage emotions and affect
   fans. Further, when media friends die, fans grieve and mourn their loss. Meyrowitz
   mentions that although these relationships seem absurd because they lack most
   characteristics of human attachment, they exist for most, if not all, viewers of media.
   Overall, Meyrowitz concludes, ―No theoretical discussion of these unreal, but real
   relationships can explain them away or weaken their emotional power‖ (81).
       - Jennifer Silva, 2/26/03

17. Rubin, A. M., & Perse, E. M. (1988). Audience activity and soap opera
    involvement: A uses and effects investigation. Human Communication
    Research, 14, 246-268.

       Rubin and Perse (1987) explore the involvement that soap opera viewers have with
   the shows. They examine whether interpersonal relationships and parasocial
   relationships occur between the characters and the viewers. They define involvement as
   being ―parasocial interaction with television personalities, and thinking about and
   discussing media messages‖ (Rubin & Perse, p.247). Three types of involvement are
   discussed within the article. They are affective, cognitive, and behavioral. Affective
   involvement is explained as the friendships that the viewers form with the characters in
   the shows. Cognitive involvement occurs when viewers reflect back on or think about
                                                       Comm 492/Spring 03/Dr. O’Sullivan/pg 14

   the television shows that they watch. Behavioral involvement is explained as being
   what happens when television consumers discuss shows with other people afterward.
   Rubin and Perse (1987) go on to explain that an audience member‘s activity in the
   program is based on her or his motives and behaviors toward the shows that they are
   watching. Depending on the viewers motives, he or she may develop a parasocial
   relationship with the characters. Rubin and Perse (1987) examine soap operas because
   they have a large amount of repeat viewers which makes it more likely that parasocial
   relationships will be formed. Soap operas create a highly involved audience due to ―the
   development of personal problems encountered by attractive characters‖ which the
   shows are based on (Rubin & Perse, p.251). A study was designed to look at what kind
   of involvement is produced by the motives, attitudes, and activity of the audience.
   Realistic content had an effect on the parasocial interaction. Respondents who where
   seeking utility gratification through the shows were more likely to discuss the shows
   after viewing them. A viewer may be seeking entertainment, relaxation, useful
   information, and voyeurism. These variables were linked to the cognition that a viewer
   has. Behavioral involvement was more often connected to a viewer that watches the
   shows for social reasons. In this case a person wants to watch the particular show in
   order to socialize and discuss it with others. Parasocial interaction was a result of
   voyeurism. Viewers were more likely to form a connection with shows that have
   sexually attractive characters. The study suggests that it is possible for a person to
   substitute relationships with characters in shows and shows themselves for interpersonal
   relationships. The authors conclude that involvement could be the outcome of a
   person‘s intentions and attitudes toward a certain program.
       - Deanna Welchel, 2/26/03

18. Katz, E., & Liebes, T. (1986). Decoding Dallas: Notes from a cross-cultural
    study. In G. Gumpert & R. Cathcart (Eds.), Inter/Media: Interpersonal
    communication in a media world (3rd ed.) (pp. 97-109).

      Along the lines that television viewing is not a passive process but an active and
   social one, the authors assert that messages from the media are defined by our culture‘s
   parameters, become part of our culture, and hence bring about interaction between the
   media and the viewers. The authors ponder the ease in which American television
   programs are understood in other cultures. To answer their question, they undertake a
   qualitative study in which 50 groups on three couples each are asked to watch an
   episode of Dallas and engage in an hour-long, recorded discussion about what they
   recently watched afterwards. The couples were from diverse, lower-middle class, high
   school education or less, minority groups in Israel. The discussions are then analyzed to
   shed light on how messages are understood cross-culturally, to affirm that we bring our
   backgrounds to understand messages, and that we seek confirmation from others that
   our interpretations stand corrected. The authors also seek the extent to which viewers
   ―critically distance‖ themselves from the program.
      The authors came to many conclusions. First, viewers help each other in making
   meanings. This includes helping each other come to inaccurate conclusions that fit their
   culture‘s parameters. Second, viewers judge programs‘ values, which are juxtaposed
   with proposed alternative values within the audience‘s cultural parameters. After
   discussion, the audience may find the program‘s values as more acceptable than their
   own. Third, while some audiences use the program to talk about their own lives, are
   more involved with the characters, and use referential statements, other audiences keep
   a more critical distance, with poetic statements relating the dramas to its characters and
   not to reality.
                                                       Comm 492/Spring 03/Dr. O’Sullivan/pg 15

      Perhaps the most interesting point the authors make is that hegemonic theorists
   would find American TV shows aired in other countries as imperialist, slowly integrating
   Western values into cultures that did not hold those values previously. What is even
   more hegemonic is when these audiences reject Western values, grasping tighter onto
   their own, maintaining the status quo, thus allowing hegemonies to continue their
      - Kinda Al-Fityani, 2/26/03

19. Bryant, J., & Street, R. (1988). From reactivity to activity and action. In R. P.
Hawkins, J. M. Wiemann, & S. Pingree (Eds.), Advancing communication science:
Merging mass and interpersonal processes (pp. 162-190). Newbury Park, CA:

       ―You got peanut butter in my chocolate!‖ ―You got chocolate in my peanut butter!‖
   This chapter attempts to illustrate how two great tastes can taste great together. The
   authors trace the separate histories of mass and interpersonal communication research,
   pointing out that in the early days of each paradigm, receivers of messages were
   perceived (or at least were studied) as lacking individual psychological characteristics.
   To put it in mass communication terms, receivers of both paradigms were made up of a
   general mass of similar individuals with similar reactions to received messages. He
   stemmed from the dominant way of thinking about society in the early 20 th century. In
   early mass and interpersonal studies, then, a message was thought to ―do things to
   perceivers,‖ or to have some sort of laser-like effect on individuals, resulting in what
   researchers perceived as shared experiences. In each paradigm, these rather passive
   reactors to messages slowly began to be seen as more complex, active agents who are
   involved in communication processes. In mass communication, this resulted in a more
   dominant focus on the selective receiver who makes choices about what to attend to,
   while in the interpersonal paradigm, this shift led to a receiver who made goal-oriented
   choices about what messages to send. In short, while each paradigm now acknowledged
   a receiver‘s cognitive complexity, mass remained focused on the receiver, while
   interpersonal remained source-oriented.
       In interpersonal, the perception processes and judgments of a communicator tend to
   be looked at in terms of how they produce messages, as opposed to simply (or rather
   complexly) how messages are received. What is good about this is that interpersonal
   looks more at the overall process of communication. Mass, on the other hand, still tends
   to view communication in linear terms. As technology allows for more immediate
   interaction within mass, the authors suggest that scholars within mass communication
   can make some intriguing discoveries by integrating the cognitive processing work being
   done successfully in interpersonal studies. Interpersonal research tends to determine
   whether a receiver perceives messages as they are intended by a source. The authors
   suggest that mass communication research might do well to perform such checks within
   mediated message contexts. Subtle differences between the two paradigms‘ theoretical
   underpinnings lead interpersonal scholars to test for differences of perception among
   different types of people who receive the same message, while mass scholars,
   acknowledging that receivers‘ cognitive structures are dynamic, study the influence of
   message features on a receiver‘s cognitions and attitudes. Interpersonal can learn more
   from mass about why people choose to expose themselves to certain messages and not
   others, via mass researchers‘ extensive studies of selection processes. Both can
   integrate the other‘s models, theories, and methods to discover more about the active
   roles of receivers in message processing.
       - Geoff Beran, 2/26/03
                                                         Comm 492/Spring 03/Dr. O’Sullivan/pg 16

Bridging the Divide: Interpersonal Communication Approaches

20. Cathcart, R., & Gumpert, G. (1986). Mediated interpersonal communication:
    Toward a new typology. In G. Gumpert & R. Cathcart (Eds.), Inter/Media:
    Interpersonal communication in a media world (3rd ed.) (pp. 26-40).

       Cathcart and Gumpert ―outline the various ways interpersonal communication
   currently may be mediated and forecast a new typology to include (a) interpersonal
   mediated communication, (b) media-simulated interpersonal communication, (c)
   person-computer interpersonal communication, and (d) uni-communication‖ (39).
       ―Mediated interpersonal communication‖ refers to situations where a technological
   medium is introduced into face-to-face interaction.
       ―Interpersonal mediated communication refers to any person-to-person interaction
   where a medium has been interposed to transcend the limitations of time and space‖
   (44). This includes telephone conversations, letters, e-mail, etc.
       Media-simulated interpersonal communication suggests the ambiguity of private and
   public communication in instances such as parasocial interactions and broadcast-
   teleparticipatory communication.
       Person-computer interpersonal communication includes ―any situation in which one
   party activates a computer which in turn responds appropriately in a graphic,
   alphanumeric, or vocal mode thereby establishing a sender/receiver relationship‖ (48-
       ―Uni-communication is that communication mediated by objects of clothing,
   adornment, and personal possessionswhich people select and display to communicate
   to others their status, affiliation, and self-esteem‖ (49).
       Cathcart and Gumpert discuss how media is not looked at as an important
   component of communication, especially in the interpersonal level. They feel that media
   ―should not be relegated solely to the category ‗mass communication,‘ nor should it be
   excluded from the other categories: interpersonal communication, group
   communication, and public communication‖ (41).
       Much of our self-image is formed from interactions with others. Cathcart and
   Gumpert believe that factors influencing this image could easily come from the media.
   ―Obviously television, radio, and film provide feedback which reinforce, negate and/or
   verify and individual‘s self-image‖ (41).
       Parasocial interactions are also important. These interactions function as substitutes
   for face-to-face relationships. Cathcart and Gumpert feel that in these situations there
   can only be an illusion of intimacy and friendship. They say the roles are clearly defined
   and cannot be changed.
       ―Broadcast teleparticipatory media‖ is similar in this way. The sender-receiver roles
   are fixed, and there is little room for callers to have freedom. Those in control of the
   program view the shows as entertainment, just like media producers set up unreal
   expectations and base the relationships upon ―an ideal of face-to-face communication
   which is seldom achieved in practice‖ (47).
       - Amanda Troy, 3/5/03

21. Avery, R. K., & Ellis, D. G. (1979). Talk radio as interpersonal phenomenon. In
   G. Gumpert & R. Cathcart (Eds.), Inter/Media: Interpersonal communication in
   a media world (1st ed.) (pp. 108-115).

        This article attempts to frame talk radio in an interpersonal context. This is a review
   of literature of earlier works (composed primarily of unpublished master theses and the
                                                        Comm 492/Spring 03/Dr. O’Sullivan/pg 17

   researchers‘ previous work).
        The first works that were reviewed were studies that focused mainly on the
   demographics of the people that chose to call in to specific radio talk shows. Several of
   these studies hypothesized that people calling into radio talk shows would be people
   who wished to fulfill a need for interpersonal communication. The largest finding from
   the variety of studies was that the typical person that actually made the jump from a
   listener to a caller was someone that is likely to have a higher level of loneliness than
   the average person. Examples include people that are single, divorced, widowed, or the
   elderly. Multiple studies have supported the idea that a frequent caller to radio
   programs ―is more likely to be faced with interpersonal isolation‖ (p. 111).
        The second half of the article focused on what the authors called the ―most extensive
   research project designed to analyze talk radio as an interpersonal phenomenon‖ – their
   own research (p. 111). This research was different from the aforementioned studies
   because the primary focus was not on demographics; rather, it focused on the message
   exchange and interaction pattern between callers to the radio show and the radio host.
   This research yielded several interesting results. First, and contrary to previous
   predictions by other researchers, radio talk show callers are more interested in
   conformation and support for their beliefs than they are arguing and trying to shape the
   beliefs of others. Another finding of this study is that interaction patterns differ
   depending on the time of day. Morning hours tended to have callers that provided more
   new information and positive reinforcements, while late afternoon and evening callers
   almost always extended on previously discussed information. The researchers deduced
   this phenomenon is dependent on the particular personality on air at those times.
        The final aspect of the article was a breakdown of caller participation. The first,
   aroused curiosity, is when the listener is first introduced to talk radio (be it by a friend
   or a switch of the dial). The second phase, passive involvement, is when listeners report
   that they have become ―hooked on talk radio‖ (p. 113). Some listeners will never move
   past this phase, but when they do, they enter the third phase, active participation. It is
   at this point when the listener becomes a participant in the radio program.
        The only real conclusion drawn from this review of literature is that there should be
   more research done to look at talk radio as a form of interpersonal communication. The
   authors suggest that since radio can be different things to different people, it can be
   looked at from any number of different perspectives.
        - Courtney Davis, 3/5/03

22. Avery, R. K., & McCain, T. A. (1986). Interpersonal and mediated encounters: A
reorientation to the mass communication process. In G. Gumpert & R. Cathcart
(Eds.), Inter/Media: Interpersonal communication in a media world (3rd ed.)

       This article argues for the creation of a new paradigm within which to study what the
   authors call a unique media phenomenon: a media-person encounter. What
   distinguishes a media-person encounter from an interpersonal encounter and a normal
   mass media encounter is that a communicator engages in conversation with a mass
   media source that lacks integration of normal face-to-face communication senses, but
   also gives the communicators more control over the transaction than a typical mass
   media interaction (which is traditionally one-way, with no immediate feedback from
   receivers). The authors use talk radio as an example of the kind of unique phenomenon
   they are talking about. In talk radio, listeners frequently are involved in telephone
   interactions with the host, and their conversation goes out over the air to other
   listeners. Taking a receiver-oriented approach, the authors point out that in most mass
   media, receivers have little or no control over the messages they receive—this is altered
                                                         Comm 492/Spring 03/Dr. O’Sullivan/pg 18

   when the receiver becomes an instant part of that message on a radio talk show. Yet
   despite this, certain other aspects of mass media limit the degree of interaction such a
   participant has with the radio host and other listeners. Key among these are the seven
   modalities that make interpersonal communication so unique. These are sensory
   systems that affect our perception of the communication interaction: audio verbal, audio
   nonverbal, visual verbal, visual pictoral, olfactory, tactile, and taste. Mass media can
   only integrate certain amounts of these sensory data at a time for a receiver, with
   television and film being able (at the time of writing) to integrate the most (audio
   verbal, audio nonverbal, visual verbal, and visual pictoral). A call-in listener on a radio
   talk show still cannot see the host, for instance, but the authors point out that this is
   actually one of the reasons some listeners find it so easy to share their opinions with the
   host (thus a ―unique phenomenon‖). But it is this same lack of knowledge about media
   sources that limits what a receiver can truly know about the person they are interacting
   with. People working within the media tend to have a perceived higher status, simply for
   being ―chosen‖ to speak to so many. Another part of what makes talk radio unique is
   that it provides a direct link for listeners to connect with those who have decision-
   making power in society. Finally, the authors contend that this new paradigm should be
   as unique as American interpersonal studies are to studies of interpersonal
   communication within other cultures, in which different rules and assumptions apply.
      - Geoff Beran

23. Husson, W., Stephen, T., Harrison, T. M., & Fehr, B. J. (1988). An interpersonal
communication perspective on images of political candidates. Human Communication
Research, 14, 397-421.

24. Danowski, J. A. (1986). Interpersonal network structure and media use: A focus on
radiality and non-mass media use. . In G. Gumpert & R. Cathcart (Eds.), Inter/Media:
Interpersonal communication in a media world (3rd ed.) (pp.168-175).

25. Rubin, A. M. & Rubin, R. B. (1985). Interface of personal and mediated
    communication: A research agenda. Critical Studies in Mass Communication, 2,

       The broad focus of this article is an examination of the interface of personal and
   mediated or mass communication. This essay provides an extensive research agenda for
   exploring this intersection, which calls for the widening of the application of the Uses
   and Gratifications perspective to encompass not only mass communication, but
   interpersonal communication as well. Rubin and Rubin begin with an explanation of the
   Uses and Gratifications perspective and its basic components, which they argue can be
   applied beyond its traditional application to the mass communication realm into that of
   personal interaction. As a means of providing a rationale for their argument, the
   authors outline five parallels between personal and mediated communication, which
   support the notion that there is utility in using the Uses and Gratifications perspective in
   the area of interpersonal communication. Rubin and Rubin identify and focus on two
   interpersonal communication dimensions that are represented in Uses and Gratifications
   including the notion of interpersonal channels as functional alternatives to media use,
   and second the individual‘s needs and motives for the use of media. Based upon these
   two areas, the article is divided into sections at the conclusion of which a set of possible
   research questions are posed for possible future inquiry.
       The first area addressed deals with the topic of mass and interpersonal
   communication as functional alternatives. A fundamental element of the argument
                                                       Comm 492/Spring 03/Dr. O’Sullivan/pg 19

   presented by the authors is the idea that mass and interpersonal communication are
   regarded as coequal alternatives. In other words, the authors state that it is
   unproductive to consider one as being a functional alternative to the other. The Uses
   and Dependency Model is introduced as a close variation of the Uses and Gratifications
   perspective and states that the more an individual begins to rely on a single channel of
   communication, the more predictable the outcome of communication becomes. Rubin
   and Rubin argue that this model further demonstrates the notion of mass and personal
   communication as coequals. They explain that the gratification of social interaction
   needs can be met through various methods including both mediated and interpersonal
       Also addressed by the article are the needs and motivations for communication, and
   the various parallels between the two areas of communication regarding the functional
   nature of communication and the gratification of an individual‘s needs and motives.
   Seven research questions are posed by the authors as possible future directions for the
   better understanding of human needs and motivations as a means to provide an
   explanation of communicative behaviors. Further, a brief review of the traditional
   approaches to interpersonal communication research is included and utilized as grounds
   for facilitating the link between mass and interpersonal. Overall, the article concludes
   with a summary of various avenues, which they claim need to be pursued to better
   understand the interface of mediated and personal communication.
      - Kelly Caraher, 3/19/03

Integrative approaches: Synthesis Scholarship

26. Pingree, S., Wiemann, J. M., & Hawkins, R. P. (1988). Editor's introduction:
Toward conceptual synthesis. In R. P. Hawkins, J. M. Wiemann, & S. Pingree
(Eds.), Advancing communication science: Merging mass and interpersonal
processes (pp. 7-17). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

        Pingree and colleagues (1988) argue that the diversity in the communication field
   has many downfalls. Communication scholars often forget that there are other areas in
   the communication field. They also tend to disrespect and discount the scholars working
   in other areas of communication, thinking that their area is the only one worth studying.
   This great divide has been with communication since it was born like ―twins separated at
   birth‖ (p. 10). Scholars in the field often have different ideas of what ―communication‖
   is. Pingree and colleagues (1988) divide mass communication and interpersonal
   communication saying that mass communication ―places the communication behavior
   first and studies it consequences on individuals and/or societies,‖ while interpersonal
   studies communication as the consequence of something that came before (p. 8). They
   clarify mass communication as being behavior-product oriented and interpersonal as
   being antecedent-consequences oriented. This difference in what they believe
   communication to be limits the amount of influence that they can have on each other.
   One possibility of why the communication field is this way is because when it started
   scholars were migrating from many other disciplines and brought much of their ideas
   and theoretical frameworks with them. The organizations and journals that have been
   created for the communication field only worsen the gap between mass communication
   and interpersonal communication by focusing on one or the other. Pingree and
   colleagues (1988) want to focus on the similarities within the discipline and bring the
   two sides together. They propose a scholarly association that would encourage the two
   sides to look at both the outcomes of communication and the things that lead to
   communication. If this type of association were to be integrated mass and interpersonal
   scholars would see that they have work that fits in both the ―consequences‖ and
                                                       Comm 492/Spring 03/Dr. O’Sullivan/pg 20

   ―antecedent‖ end of the spectrum and would eventually the line of distinction between
   the two areas would seem to become thinner. This volume is prepared to function as an
   adjoining of the sub-disciplines through many different means. They are hoping to bring
   together theories, models, and methods that could work in both areas allowing a scholar
   to borrow from the other sub-discipline when in need of a certain technique that the
   other is using. This volume of work is an attempt to integrate the two disciplines.
       - Deanna Welchel

27. Newhagen, J.E., & Rafaeli, S. (1996). Why communication researches should study the
Internet: A dialogue. Journal of Communication, 46, 4-13.

       As the title of this article suggests, this piece presents a dialogue between the two
   authors regarding the question posed by Newhagen to Rafaeli as to why researchers in
   the field of communication should study the Internet. Rafaeli‘s initial response argues
   that the Net, while indeed multi dimensional does in fact possess five distinct and
   defining qualities that make it worthy of inquiry by communication researchers. These
   five qualities of the Internet and Internet based communication identified by Rafaeli
   include multimedia, hypertextuality, packet switching, synchronicity, and interactivity.
   Rafaeli provides a brief description of each of these elements and in several places
   draws parallels to similar elements or concepts in both traditional mass communication
   as well as links to interpersonal communication concepts in support of his overall
   argument that the Internet should be studied by communication researchers in order to
   examine the extent to which each of the five qualities are present.
       Newhagen‘s reply to Rafaeli‘s initial comments focus around what Newhagen labels
   as the two things that set the Internet apart from earlier forms of communication
   technologies such as newspapers and television. While Newhagen aggress with Rafaeli
   on the fact that the Internet is a complex and revolutionary communication technology,
   he argues that the need is for bridging the gap between communication and the
   engineering principles behind the Internet. He argues that the architectural difference in
   that the Internet possesses a nonlinear character different from traditional mass
   communication technologies, and also the digitization of information into 0‘s and 1‘s in
   the message stream are two distinct features that set the Internet apart from traditional
   or earlier forms of mass communication technology. Newhagen‘s argument suggests
   that the study of the technology‘s interface and its architecture would be of the most
   value. Also questioned by Newhagen is the usefulness of media effects studies, as he
   proposes in his argument that perhaps the direct impact of the mass media is small.
       In response, Rafaeli refutes Newhagen‘s limitation of studies to that of Internet
   effects and suggests that perhaps the rejuvenation and incorporation of the uses and
   gratifications perspective may be a helpful approach in understanding what people get
   from Internet use. Also included in his response is the notion that it is important to
   examine the evolution of media, their contexts, and roles. Rafaeli also proposes that
   perhaps an examination of the effects not of the media on people but of the effects on
   the media should be of focus. Also, the macrolevel changes and effects as a result of the
   Internet are worthy of study according to Rafaeli, which he argues impacts and redefines
   the value and exchange of information and knowledge for example.
       Newhagen‘s final thoughts center around the issue of access to the Internet. He
   claims that before any investigations into the marcrolevel effects discussed by Rafaeli
   are examined that we must first look at the challenges and the barriers that the
   individual faces in accessing the Internet. He directly refers to issues such as cognitive
   requirements and skills that must be possessed by an individual to fully experience the
   Internet‘s potential.
       - Kelly Caraher
                                                         Comm 492/Spring 03/Dr. O’Sullivan/pg 21

28. Okeefe, B. (1993). Against theory. Journal of Communication 43(4), 75-82.

       Several scholars in the field of communication have called for the need to bridge the
   gap between interpersonal and mass communication. Several studies have proven that
   the two fields rarely ever cite each other and operate independently of each other. While
   several scholars provide for reasons why these two fields should find common
   theoretical grounds, O‘Keefe argues that that need not be the case. Although the two
   fields have been merged together institutionally over time, they have not done so
   theoretically and need not be forced to rationalize an integration. Instead of seeing
   fragmentation between the disciplines, O‘Keefe finds opportunities to find support for
   one another if possible.
       The first half of O‘Keefe‘s argument focuses on how an attempt to find a common
   theoretical framework for both disciplines displaces substantial research from the field.
   Cultural studies has been suggested as a context that could provide this framework. The
   nature of cultural studies, however, asks it to cross over into the general intellectual
   culture and resist a specific focus. Moreover, the link between cultural studies and
   interpersonal communication is not clear. Social constructivists find that they offer the
   cultural approach that could lend itself to interpersonal communication. This creates a
   muddled mess, loosening the meaning of social constructivism as it is stretched to fit
   several disciplines, and leaving doubts as to whether social constructivism is an
   application of cultural studies at all. Besides the fact the social constructivism has been a
   prevalent viewpoint in interpersonal communication recently with the use of
   ethnomethodological and conversation analyses, O‘Keefe argues that the best approach
   to study a phenomenon is by matching the questions to the method as opposed to
   insisting on method regardless of the questions. Cognitive science is the next candidate
   O‘Keefe discusses for integrating the communication disciplines. The study of messages
   as processes of production and comprehension ignores the popular belief amongst these
   disciplines that individuals collectively assign meanings. Such a study is very limited in
   scope and interests only few scholars in the field.
       The second half of O‘Keefe‘s argument focuses on why the field of communication
   should focus more on cohesion and less on theoretical and methodological coherence.
   An institutionally large department can protect itself better than smaller ones, and its
   sub-disciplines can defend one another. O‘Keefe warns that to gain the respect of other
   fields, the communication sub-disciplines must respect each other first. Instead of
   competing against one another, they ought to offer support to each other. To achieve
   cohesion, these sub-disciplines may seek to work together on problem-centered
   research, a specific application area. Another way to establish cohesion is to systemize
   the field‘s contribution to theory and method. Lastly, curriculums should be adjusted so
   that survey courses cover the field as a whole
       - Kinda Al-Fityani

29. Babrow, A. S. (1993). The advent of multiple process theories of
communication. Journal of Communication 43(4), 110-118.

      The basic claim the author makes in this article is that the field of communication
   should move beyond theorizing that treats communication only as a process to what
   could be called multiple-process theory. By this the author means that communication
   as a discipline should cover broad perspectives in order to be more effective and
   recognized by other disciplines. The author thinks that it will be more beneficial to the
   discipline if communication concepts were studied together instead of separately, as
   they generally are now. The article also goes on to offer guidelines for possible future
                                                         Comm 492/Spring 03/Dr. O’Sullivan/pg 22

   theory development to make the discipline more known and read by scholars of other
      The author begins his argument by explaining that multiple-process theory is
   beginning to be developed by combining communication, cognition, affect, and
   motivation. There are different perspectives of multiple-process theory that incorporate
   various aspects of these concepts (either in dyads or other combinations).
      The next section that the author discusses in the article is that analytical levels should
   be crossed in order to produce more multiple-process theories. This concept
   encompasses the basic idea behind this course. The author mentions examples of
   different kinds of communication being studied together to produce these multiple-
   process theories (such as studying interpersonal, group, and mass communication
   processes). Multiple-process theories can also be developed when different levels of the
   same phenomenon are studied. Concepts can be studied at a micro or a macro level (or
   any combination of the two). The author suggests that this kind of analytical study will
   eventually help to unify the discipline. This kind of study will likely be more desirable to
   scholars and students of other disciplines.
      A third section of the article discusses dialectical perspectives in producing multiple-
   process theories. The author explains that, by nature, processes imply opposing forces
   (the dialectics), and these relationships are ―associated with and encompassed by still
   broader relationships‖ (p. 116).
      The final section of the article involves complexities. Multiple-process perspectives
   recognize and attempt to explain the complexities of human communication and social
   experiences. The author believes that these perspectives will eventually bring the
   communication discipline into the eyes of scholars in other areas. However, this will not
   happen until communication concepts are studied in carefully selected groups to develop
   multiple-process theories.
      - Courtney Davis

30. O'Sullivan, P. B. (1999). Bridging mass and interpersonal communication:
Synthesis scholarship in HCR. Human Communication Research, 25, 569-588.

       Human Communication Research (HCR) has provided for discussion on ways to
   strengthen the Communication field‘s legacy. In a special 1988 issue, the ―false
   dichotomy‖ between mass and interpersonal communication research was discussed but
   few solutions were provided besides encouraging researchers to broaden their
   perspectives. On HCR‘s 25th anniversary, O‘Sullivan reexamines this state throughout
   the journal‘s history by exploring how the journal contributed in the bridging of the two
   disciplines, how the journal compares to other communication research journals in its
   contributions, and how new communication technologies presses the need for a bridge
   to advance theory.
       O‘Sullivan traces the origins of the bifurcation and notes that while mass
   communication emerged from sociologists and political sciences with a potentially
   powerful public policy implications, interpersonal communication emerged from
   psychologists and social psychologists with few such public policy implications. Studies
   carried out to examine the crossover between interpersonal and mass communication
   found an unfortunate state of affairs where there was sparse communication between
   communication scholars as is evidenced in cross-citations, organization of
   communication associations, and doctoral degrees awarded. The consequences of such
   artificial bifurcation leads to missed opportunities for fresh perspectives such as
   increasing our understanding of the communication process.
       O‘Sullivan undergoes a quantitative analysis of HCR‘s effort at synthesis scholarship,
   or theory synthesis across the mass and interpersonal levels of analysis. Here, the
                                                          Comm 492/Spring 03/Dr. O’Sullivan/pg 23

   author searched for articles in all issues of HCR whose titles or abstracts suggested
   mass-interpersonal synthesis as a theoretical or structural issue, examined mass and
   interpersonal communication in the same context, examined phenomena or processes in
   both interpersonal and mass channels, and applied traditional theories of one discipline
   to the other. Less than 4% (n=22) of articles fit the scholarship synthesis model. If the
   special issue was set aside, this figure would decrease to 3% with a steady frequency
   throughout the 100 issues. In comparison, Communication Monographs (CM) only had
   one such article since 1976, Journal of Communication (JOC) had 11 articles within the
   past 25 years, and Communication Research (CR) had 45 articles in the past 25 years.
   The most common issues discussed were synthesis of the two disciplines as an issue,
   mass and interpersonal as contexts, common framework to mass and interpersonal, and
   parasocial interaction.
       The introduction of new technologies gives optimism that new interactive models of
   communication may bridge the two disciplines. While mass communication scholars
   would give more attention to mediated communication that is not directed towards mass
   audiences, interpersonal scholars would do so with interpersonal interactions that were
   not face-to-face. Internet friendships, interactive cable, on-line forums, digital television,
   webphones, voice mail, videophones, and e-mails are regular features of our lives that
   are disconcertingly ignored by the communication field.
       - Kinda Al-Fityani

31. Morris, M., & Ogan, C. (1996, Winter). The Internet as mass medium. Journal
of Communication, 46(1), 39-50.

       Mass communication research has failed to embrace new communication
   technologies, like the Internet, as mass media, preferring to cling to traditional media,
   such as television and newspapers. The authors argue that, despite the difficulties
   inherent in studying new communication technologies, failing to advance theory and
   research on the Internet will resign mass communication theory to relative uselessness
   as media continue to converge and blur traditional lines of study.
       The two main stumbling blocks to developing a research agenda for the Internet has
   been lack of theoretical grounding and the unwillingness of scholars to broaden their
   own perspectives on what constitutes mass communication. The defining lines between
   mass communication and other subfields of study (i.e., interpersonal and group
   communication) have been based on type of medium involved; mass communication has
   sub-subfields of study focusing on print media or television, and interpersonal
   communication regularly disregards mediated forms of interaction. The Internet, then,
   presents a unique challenge for communication scholars, as this new technology is
   capable of supporting many types of communication simultaneously, reconfiguring
   sender/receiver/message models in ways that traditional theory did not account for or
       Exploring the concept of the Internet as mass medium, the authors outline
   challenges to traditional mass communication models: knowing who the audience really
   is and how information is accessed, the ability of the audience (and scholars) to judge
   the credibility of the source or veracity of content, and the potential of any audience
   member to be both a receiver and a producer of messages. Clearly, the Internet
   advances the notion of an active audience and locus of control to new levels that current
   mass communication theory cannot fully capture or explain.
       Finally, the authors attempt to apply uses and gratifications theory, social presence
   and media richness theory, and a few theoretical concepts as starting points for the
   study of communication on the Internet. The concepts presented – critical mass,
   interactivity, and networking seem to hold little promise for long-term research agendas
                                                        Comm 492/Spring 03/Dr. O’Sullivan/pg 24

   or theories. The Internet has certainly reached critical mass in 2003 – what more might
   this approach offer? Interactivity is an interesting approach; however, beyond
   measuring levels and types of interactivity online for the inevitable comparison to face-
   to-face interaction or traditional mass media philosophy, I don‘t see how this approach
   might result in theory-building or a broad research agenda. Networking, though
   interesting from a systems approach, would undoubtedly resort to a process orientation,
   rather than a more integrated approach that might focus on function or another level of
       Of the theories presented by Morris and Ogan as possible springboards for cohesive
   research, only uses and gratifications holds much promise, especially when combined
   with a reconceptualization of social presence. Still, nearly all of these approaches are
   grounded in the medium itself, rather than in the subject of communication.
       - Nancy Farris

32. Chaffee, S. H., & Metzger, M. (2001). The end of mass communication? Mass
Communication and Society, 4(4), 365-379.

        Chaffee and Metzger describe mass communication in three ways: as a set of media
   institutions, as a societal problem, or as an academic field of study. They define media
   institutions as organizations that send mediated messages through various channels.
   ―New technologies extend our networks across the globe and blur the boundaries
   between mass and interpersonal communication‖ (370).
        The second way Chaffee and Metzger see mass communication is as a societal
   problem. Along with mass production came mass persuasion, and the average person
   had almost no opportunity for personal expression to reach a mass audience.
   ―Opportunities for self-expression one denied by the old media are celebrated by the
   new media‖ (370).
        Chaffee and Metzger say that mass communication as an academic field has three
   strands: basic education in mass communication practice, empirical research of mass
   communication processes and effects, and critical and cultural studies of the mass
         ―Traditional research on media content and its effects on audiences will become
   more complex because of the vastness of media communication and the dispersion of
   the mass media audience‖ (373). Media effects studies are more difficult and critical
   and cultural approaches to mass communication will have to adapt as well.
        Agenda setting, cultivation theory, and critical theory and cultural studies all have
   potential downfalls. In agenda setting, the ―daily me‖ is discussed. This is where new
   technologies are programmed to automatically select news and other media content that
   fit individual users‘ tastes and political perspectives. Therefore much of society will not
   share common issues. On the positive side, the new technologies give more power to
   people whose agendas would not normally be reported in the major mass media.
         ―Cultivation theory may shift toward a vision in which individuals are cultivated to
   specialized worldviews of their own choosing‖ (376). ―Audiences for new media will
   likely opt for content that is consistent with their preexisting ideas and prejudices, thus
   allowing them to match their media experience to their own views with greater precision
   than ever before possible‖ (376).
        Critical theory and cultural studies ask how attention is captured in these new
   technologies. Chaffee and Metzger discuss the ―digital divide.‖ Here less privileged
   groups in society will be left behind during the information revolution because of their
   impaired economic ability to access new technologies.
        Chaffee and Metzger conclude that in some ways this is the end of mass
   communication, but in other ways it is not.
                Comm 492/Spring 03/Dr. O’Sullivan/pg 25

- Amanda Troy

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