Models of Communication

The studies on information theory by Claude Elwood Shannon, Warren Weaver and others, prompted research on new models of communication from other scientific perspectives like psychology and sociology. In science, a model is a structure that represents a theory. [5] Scholars from disciplines different to mathematics and engineer began to take distance from the Shannon and Weaver models as a ‘transmissible model’: They developed a model of communication which was intended to assist in developing a mathematical theory of communication.

Shannon and Weaver’s work proved valuable for communication engineers in dealing with such issues as the capacity of various communication channels in ‘bits per second’. It contributed to computer science. It led to very useful work on redundancy in language. And in making ‘information’ ‘measurable’ it gave birth to the mathematical study of ‘information theory’ — D. Chandler, [6] Harold Lasswell (1902–1978), a political scientist and communication theorist, was a member of the Chicago school of sociology.

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In his work ‘The Structure and Function of Communication in Society’ (1948) he defined the communication process as Who (says) What (to) Whom (in) What Channel (with) What Effect. The distinct model he propounded was known as Dance Model. [7] These first studies on communication’s models promoted more researches on the topic. Wilbur Lang Schramm (1907–1987), called by communication theorist Everett Rogers as the founder of communication study,[8] focused his studies on the experience of the sender and receiver (listener).

Communication is possible only upon a common language between sender and receiver. [9] Everett Roger’s accounts later led to the basis for development communication studies. In 1960, David Kenneth Berlo, a disciple of Schramm, expanded on Shannon and Weaver’s linear model of communication and created the Sender-Message-Channel-Receiver Model of communication (SMCR Model) exposed in his work The Process of Communication, where communication appears as a regulated process that allows the subject to negotiate with his living environment.

Communication becomes, then, a value of power and influence (psychology of communication. )[10] In 1963, Richard Whately’s (1787-1863) ‘Elements of Rhetoric’ was republished[11] with a critical introduction by Douglas Ehninger and a foreword by David Potter. They explored what they called the ‘Aristotle’s models of communication’. James L. Kinneavy[12] (1920–1999) also explored Aristotle’s rhetoric and communication model in ‘A Theory of Discourse’ (1971). [13]

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