Contemporary Communication Theory

Author(s): Dominic Infante, Andrew S Rancer, Theodore A Avtgis, Erina L. MacGeorge

Edition: 2

Copyright: 2017


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Striking a balance in coverage between the extremes of analyzing too many or too few theories, Contemporary Communication Theory examines important theory building activity in the field of communication. The text continues the tradition of being primarily social science based yet includes research and theories from other theoretical paradigms.

The NEW second edition of Contemporary Communication Theory

  • Features a Streamlined Approach! The publication’s chapters have been condensed and streamlined to improve readability and accessibility. 
  • Integrates New Content! New theories have been added and five new chapters have been created (Relational Contexts, New Media/Computer Mediated Contexts, Health Contexts, Cultural Contexts, and Research Methods).
  • Goes Beyond Theory Handbooks! The text features a new chapter on communication research methods that demonstrates research examples and shows readers how theories are tested.
  • Is Current! New studies, new research and new citations have been added to most chapters.
  • Is Practical! Seamlessly integrated within the book’s pedagogy, the accompanying content includes interactive exercises, glossary of terms, and an extensive instructor’s resource package. 

Part I Theory Building in Communicati on 
CHAPTER 1 Introduction to Studying Communication 

Issues in Understanding Communication
Basic Components and Concepts 
Defining Communication
Characteristics of Communication
Points of Controversy about Communication 
Communication and Intent
Communication as Planned Behavior
Infante’s Communication Plan Perspective 
Transactional Nature of Communication 
The Importance of Communication 
Creating Cooperation
Acquiring Information 
Forming Self-Concept 
As Entertainment 
Key Terms 

CHAPTER 2 Perspectives on Communication Theory 
The Scientific Method 
Theory Building Through Deductive and Inductive Approaches 
Identifying Variables to Be Investigated
Development of Hypotheses 
Conduct an Empirical Investigation 
Compare Results to the Original Hypothesis 
Assess Theoretical Significance of the Findings and Identify Threats to Validity
What Makes a Quality Communication Theory? 
Communication Theory Development 
Fundamental Goals and Functions of Communication Theory
How Many Theories Are Enough?
Seven Theoretical Traditions in Building Communication Theory
The Sociopsychological Tradition 
The Cybernetic Tradition
The Rhetorical Tradition 
The Phenomenological Tradition
The Sociocultural Tradition
The Critical Tradition
The Semiotic Tradition 
Key Terms 

CHAPTER 3 C ommunication Research Methods 
The Scientific Method
Research Variables 
Types of Research Variables 
Types of Relationships
Constitutive and Operational Definitions 
Hypotheses and Research Questions
Reliability and Validity 
Reliability is a Necessary Condition for Validity
Levels of Measurement
Rating Scales 
Behavioral Observation 
Content Analysis 
Physiological Measures
Experimental Design 
Factorial Design 
Field Research 
Key Terms

Part II Theory Building in Major Approaches to communication
CHAPTER 4 Trait Approaches 

Contexts, Traits, and States
The Cross-Situational Consistency Framework
Apprehension Traits
Presentation Traits 
Adaptation Traits
Self-Monitoring of Expressive Behavior 
Aggression Traits 
Key Terms

CHAPTER 5 Verbal Behavior Approaches 
Signs, Symbols, and Signals 
Language and Meaning 
Language and Perception 
Theory of Linguistic Relativity 
Language and Power
Communicating Power and Status
Sex, Gender, and Power: Differences in Verbal Behavior1
Language Intensity and Opinionation 
Theoretical Approaches to Verbal Behavior
Communication Accommodation Theory
Language Expectancy Theory
Politeness Theory and Face Management
Information Manipulation Theory
Key Terms

CHAPTER 6 Nonverbal Behavior Approaches
Affective-Cognitive Dimensions of Communication
The Contextual Nature of Nonverbal Communication 
Nonverbal Behavior and Intentionality
Nonverbal Communication Abilities
Functions of Nonverbal Communication 
Sending Uncomfortable Messages 
Forming Impressions
Making Relationships Clear
Regulating Interaction
Influencing People
Reinforcing and Modifying Verbal Messages
Nonverbal Expectancy Violations Theory 
Interaction Adaptation Theory
Strengths and Weaknesses of IAT
Nonverbal Immediacy 
Cognitive Valence Theory: An Extension of Nonverbal Immediacy 
Key Terms

CHAPTER 7 Persuasion Approaches 
Conceptualizing Persuasion
Self-Awareness and Persuasion 
Approaches to Understanding Persuasion 
Looking at the Source, Message, Channel, and Receiver: The Variable-Analytic Approach
Research on Message Variables
Witte’s Extended Parallel Process Model: An Extension of Previous Research on Fear Arousal and Persuasion
Source Credibility and Persuasion 
Cognitive Dissonance Theory
Social Judgment/Ego-Involvement Theory
The Theory of Reasoned Action
The Theory of Planned Behavior 
Elaboration Likelihood Model 
Cialdini’s Persuasive Heuristics
Preventing and/or Resisting Persuasion 
Inoculation Theory
Psychological Reactance Theory 
Personality Traits and Persuasion 
Key Terms

Part III Theory Building in Communication Contexts
CHAPTER 8 Interpersonal Contexts 

The Interpersonal Communication Motives Model 
Goals-Plans-Action Theory and Planning Theory 
GPA Theory
Planning Theory
From Goals and Plans to Action
Constructivist Theory 
Relational Framing Theory 
Truth Default Theory 
Uncertainty Reduction Theory 
Three Stages of Initial Interactions
Uncertainty Reduction Axioms 
Uncertainty Reduction Theorems 
Motives to Reduce Uncertainty
Strategies to Reduce Uncertainty 
Testing and Extending Uncertainty Reduction Theory 
Key Terms 

CHAPTER 9 Relational Contexts 
Similarity and Interpersonal Attraction 
Predicted Outcome Value Theory 
Relationship Interaction Stages Model
Relationship Maintenance Model 
Relational Dialectics Theory
Relational Turbulence Model
Communication Privacy Management Theory
Family Communication Patterns Theory 
Understanding Families 
Patterns of Communication in Families 
Key Terms

CHAPTER 10 Group Contexts 
Nature of Groups
Group Size
Types of Groups
Group Roles
Group Leadership 
Group Conflict 
Group Conformity
Functional Theory of Group Decision Quality 
Theory of Groupthink
Multiple Sequence Model of Group Decisions 
Key Terms 

CHAPTER 11 Organizational Contexts
Classical Management Perspectives
Scientific Management Theory
Bureaucracy Management Theory
Effective Management Theory 
Human Relations Management Perspectives
Human Resource Management Perspective 
System 4 Management Theory 
X,Y Management Theory 
Theory Z of Management 
Model I and Model II Theory
Managerial Grid Theory 
Theory of Independent Mindedness
Theories of Organizational Leadership
Trait Approach to Leadership
Situational Approach to Leadership 
Exchange Approaches to Leadership
Worker Motivational Theories
Hierarchy of Needs Theory
Motivator Hygiene Theory 
Acquired Needs Theory
Organizational Socialization
Model of Organizational Assimilation 
Organizational Information Processing 
Information Systems Theory 
Organizational Ethical Perspectives and Theories 
Practices of Ethical Organizations
Key Terms 

CHAPTER 12 Media Contexts
Early Theory-Building Efforts in Mass Communication
The “Magic Bullet” Theory 
The Two-Step Flow Theory 
Diffusion Theory
The Functional Approach to Mass Communication Theory 
Agenda-Setting Theory and Mass Communication 
Mass Communication and Parasocial Interaction
The Influence of Interpersonal Communication Theory on Parasocial Relationships
Measuring Parasocial Interaction
Uses and Gratifications Theory 
Objectives of Uses and Gratifications Theory 
Examples of Uses and Gratifications Research 
Cultivation Theory
The Interaction of Media and Reality
Heavy versus Light Television Viewers 
Refinement of Cultivation Theory 
The Spiral of Silence Theory
Media Dependency Theory
Key Terms 

CHAPTER 13 Computer-Mediated Communication Contexts
Cues-Filtered-Out Theories of CMC
Social Presence Theory 
Lack of Social Context Cues 
The Social Identity Model of Deindividuation Effects
Channel Selection Theories
Media Richness Theory
Channel Expansion Theory
Media Synchronicity Theory
Theories of Adaptation to CMC 
Social Information Processing Theory
Efficiency Framework 
Hyperpersonal Model
Key Terms

CHAPTER 14 Health Contexts 
Functions of Communication in the Health Context
Communication Contexts within Health Communication 
Relational Control/Compliance
Communication Traits and Health Behavior 
Health Beliefs Model 
Uncertainty Management
Diffusion of Innovation 
Transtheoretical Model 
Key Terms

CHAPTER 15 Cultural Contexts 
Hofstede’s Dimensions of National Culture 
Face Negotiation Theory
Face Concerns
Conflict Styles
Anxiety/Uncertainty Management Theory
Cross-Cultural Adaptation Theory 
Cross-Cultural Adaptation 
Factors Influencing Adaptation
Key Terms



Subject Index 

Name Index

Dominic Infante

Dominic A. Infante
His life as a Scholar, Teacher, Mentor,
Husband, Father, Grandfather,
and Friend illustrate his gravity
during his time on this earth

Andrew S Rancer

Andrew S. Rancer (Ph.D., 1979, Kent State University) is Professor in the School of Communication at The University of Akron. He is the co-author of six books and numerous book chapters. His research has largely centered on argumentative and aggressive communication and has appeared in several national and regional journals including Communication Education, Communication Monographs, Communication Quarterly, and Communication Research Reports, among others. He is the recipient of several honors, including the Centennial Scholar, Distinguished Research Fellow, and Past President’s Award from the Eastern Communication Association. In 2011, his teaching was recognized by the National Communication Association when he was the recipient of an Exemplary Teacher Award.

Theodore A Avtgis

Theodore A. Avtgis (Ph.D., Kent State University, 1999) is President of Medical Communication Specialists (MCS), a consulting firm that focuses on communication training and development efforts for medical personnel and first responders. He has published dozens of peer-reviewed research articles, thirteen books, twenty-two book chapters, and dozens of professional presentations. His research focuses on health communication, risk and crisis communication, and aggressive communication.

Erina L. MacGeorge

Erina MacGeorge (Ph.D., 1999, University of Illinois) is Associate Professor of Communication Arts and Sciences at Pennsylvania State University. Her research interests span interpersonal and health communication, with a focus on social support and social influence. With her students, she developed advice response theory, which explains advice outcomes for recipients as a function of message, advisor, situation, and recipient characteristics. Her work has been published in outlets that include Communication Research, Journal of Health Communication, Human Communication Research, Communication Monographs, and the Sage Handbook of Interpersonal Communication. Recent studies examine advice between doctors and parents about childhood antibiotic use and breast cancer patients making surgical decisions with input from their social networks, as well as advice between college student friends coping with everyday problems. She is currently editing the Oxford Handbook of Advice, and is co-author of the textbook Inter-Act (14th ed.).

"Contemporary Communication Theory’s focus on the social scientific makes the universe of topics easier to structure." 
Edward Woods, Marshall University

"The organization of Contemporary Communication Theory is intriguing in that it works at a more conceptual level, rather than moving along more by specific theories. I appreciate the inclusion of Craig's seven traditions. That is a useful tool."
David Carlone, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

"I really like the organization of Contemporary Communication Theory.  I think students will appreciate the ways in which many theories are covered under a coherent theme of topics (i.e. ELM in persuasion).  Often students don't understand how theories connect together, but rather see them as very separate bodies of research. The nice thing with this organization is that the professor can always choose to add his or her own depth to a theory.
Alicia Alexander, Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville

Related ISBN's: 9781792420856, 9781792422171

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