Conceptual Components of “Communication”




“Communication is the verbal interchange of thought or idea.”  John B. Hoben, “English Communication at Colgate Re-Examined.” Journal of Communication 4: 76-86, p. 77.




“Communication is the process by which we understand others and in turn endeavor to be understood by them. It is dynamic, constantly changing and shifting in response to the total situation.”  Martin Andersen.  “What is Communication?” Journal of Communication 9:5, 1959



Interaction, Relationship/Social Process:

“interaction, even on the biological level, is a kind of communication; otherwise common acts could not occur.”  George Herbert Mead.  “Mind, Self, and Society.” In Sociology, 3rd ed.  (Edited by Leonard Broom and Philip Selznik). New York: Harper and Row, 1963, p. 107.



Reduction of Uncertainty:

“Communication arises out of the need to reduce uncertainty, to act effectively, to defend or strengthen the ego.”  Dean C. Barnlund.  “Toward a Meaning-Centered Philosophy of Communication.”  Journal of Communication 12: 197-211, 1964, p. 200.




“Communication:  the transmission of information, ideas, emotions, skills, etc., by the use of symbols—words, pictures, figures, graphs, etc.  It is the act or process of transmission that is usually called communication.”  In Bernard Berelson and Gary A. Steiner.  Human Behavior.  New York: Harcourt, Brace and World, 1964, p. 254.




“… The connecting thread appears to be the idea of something’s being transferred from one thing, or person, to another.  We use the word “communication” sometimes to refer to what is so transferred, sometimes to the means by which it is transferred, sometimes to the whole process.  In many cases, what is transferred in this way continues to be shared; if I convey information to another person, it does not leave my own possession through coming into his.  Accordingly, the word “communication” acquires also the sense of participation.  It is in this sense, for example, that religious worshippers are said to communicate.” A.J. Ayer “What is Communication?”  In Studies in Communication.  Communication Research Centre, University College, London: Martin Sacker and Warburg, 1955, 11-28, p. 12.




“Communication is the process that links discontinuous parts of the living world to one another.” Jurgen Ruesch.  ‘Technology and Social Communication.”  In Communication Theory and Research (Edited by Lee Thayer).  Springfield, III.”  Charles C. Thomas, 1957, 452-81,p. 462.




“It (communication) is a process that makes common to two or several what was the monopoly of one or some.” Alex Gode.  “What is Communication?”  Journal of Communication 9:5, 1959.




“(pl.) …the means of sending military messages, orders, etc., as by telephone, telegraph, radio, couriers.”  The American College Dictionary.  New York: Random House, 1964, p. 244.



Replicating Memories:

“Communication is the process of conducting the attention of another person for the purpose of replicating memories.”  F.A. Cartier and F.A. Harwood.  “On Definition of Communication.”  Journal of Communication 3:71-75, 1953, p. 73.



Discriminate Response/Behavior Modifying/Response/Change

“Communication is the discriminatory response of an organism to a stimulus.” S. S. Stevens.  “A Definition of Communication.” Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 22: 689-90, 1950, p. 689. “So, communication between two animals is said to occur when one animal produces a chemical or physical change in the environment (signs that influences the behavior of another…” Hubert Frings.  “Animal Communication in Communication: Concepts and Perspectives (Edited by Lee Thayer), Wash., D.C.: Spartan Books, 1967, 297-329, p. 297.




“Every communication act is viewed as a transmission of information, consisting of a discriminative stimuli, from a source to a recipient.” Theodore M. Newcomb, ‘An Approach to the Study of Communication Acts. In Communication and Culture (Edited by Alfred G. Smith).  New York:  Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1966, 66-79, p. 66




“In the main, communication has as its central interest those behavioral situations in which a source transmits a message to a receiver(s) with conscious intent to affect the latter’s behaviors.”  Gerald A. Miller, “On Defining Communication: Another Stab.”  In Journal of Communication 16:88-98, 1966, p. 92.




“The communication process is one of transition from one structured situation-as-a-whole to another, in preferred design.” Bess Sondel, “Toward a Field Theory of Communication.” In Journal of Communication 6:147-53, 1956, p. 148.




“…communication is the mechanism by which power is exerted.”  S. Schacter.  “Deviation, Rejection, and Communication.”  In Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology 46-190-207, 1951 p. 191.



Frank E. X. Dance, “The Concept of Communication,” Journal of Communication, 20, 1970, p. 201-210