Thursday, September 4, 2008

7 Traditions in the Field of Communication Theory

In chapter 4 Griffin maps out the seven traditions that professor Robert Craig of University of Colorado uses as a "sophisticated solution to help the many different communication theories. The traditions that I seemed to identify most with is the socio-psychological tradition. This is one of the traditions that has been discussed in my previous COMM classes, which is why it is most familiar. This theory makes sense to me because of its simplicity. The framework that was laid out by Psychologist Carl Hovland consists of "who says what to whom and with what effect" (p. 42). That is the base of any communication, there is who, what, and whom. I thought the study that Hovland and his colleagues did was very interesting. The experiment was to see if a message from a highly credible source could change opinions. I thought about how Oprah Winfrey, the who and highly credible source, swayed thousands of Americans on who to vote for, the what, just by backing Barack Obama in the 2008 Presidential election. If just any middle aged women said she was voting for Obama, not too many people would shift their vote, but when someone is credible they are likely to be listened to.

1 comment:

JQ said...

Brooke, I also found the Hovland study to be fascinating. What I particularly find remarkable in what you stated about Oprah is the fact that while she does have a tremendous influence into how people vote and approach other issues, she is not an expert about most of the issues she deals with. I personally do not believe Oprah is a high credible source, yet she seems to have a bigger influence on people than some experts do. She is no politician, therapist or mother for that matter, yet people flock to listen to her on topics of ranging social issues. I guess this would be interesting to further look into since our society is so driven by celebrity opinions when they are not necessarily expert opinions. Things like this impact communication in major ways and have major repercussions in our society as a whole.