A model of communication refers to the conceptual model used to explain the human communication process. The first major model for communication came in 1949 by Claude Elwood Shannon and Warren Weaver for Bell Laboratories Following the basic concept, communication is the process of sending and receiving messages or transferring information from one part (sender) to another (receiver).
Shannon and Weaver Model
The new model was designed to mirror the functioning of radio and telephone technologies. Their initial model consisted of three primary parts: sender, channel, and receiver. The sender was the part of a telephone a person spoke into, the channel was the telephone itself, and the receiver was the part of the phone where one could hear the other person. Shannon and Weaver also recognized that often there is static that interferes with one listening to a telephone conversation, which they deemed noise. The noise could also mean the absence of signal. In a simple model, often referred to as the transmission model or standard view of communication, information or content (e.g. a message in natural language) is sent in some form (as spoken language) from an emisor/ sender/ encoder to a destination/ receiver/ decoder. This common conception of communication views communication as a means of sending and receiving information. The strengths of this model are simplicity, generality, and quantifiability. Mathematicians Claude Shannon and Warren Weaver structured this model based on the following elements MODELS OF COMMUNICATION
In this section, you will learn about three models of communication: a. Linear model
b. Interactive model
c. Transactional model
The linear model views communication as a one-way or linear process in which the speaker speaks and the listener listens. Laswell’s (1948) model was based on the five questions below, which effectively describe how communication works:
Shannon and Weaver’s (1949) model includes noise or interference that distorts understanding between the speaker and the listener. Figure 1.3 shows a linear model of communication:
Figure 1.3: A linear model of communication
The main flaw in the linear model is that it depicts communication as a one-way process where speakers only speak and never listen. It also implies that listeners listen and never speak or send messages. Schramm (1955) in Wood (2009) came out with a more interactive model that saw the receiver or listener providing feedback to the sender or speaker. The speaker or sender of the message also listens to the feedback given by the receiver or listener. Both the speaker and the listener take turns to speak and listen to each other. Feedback is given either verbally or non-verbally, or in both ways. This model also indicates that the speaker and listener communicate better if they have common fields of experience, or fields which overlap (please refer to Figure 1.4):
Figure 1.4: An interactive model of communication
The main drawback in the interactive model is that it does not indicate that communicators can both send and receive messages simultaneously. This model also fails to show that communication is a dynamic process which changes over time. The transactional model shows that the elements in communication are interdependent. Each person in the communication act is both a speaker and a listener, and can be simultaneously sending and receiving messages. There are three implications in the transactional model:
i. “Transactional” means that communication is an ongoing and continuously changing process. You are changing, the people with whom you arecommunicatingare changing, and your environment is also continually changing as well. ii. In any transactional process, each element exists in relation to all the other elements. There is this interdependence where there can be no source without a receiver and...
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