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Communication Studies as a Social Science Week 1

Science
o Communication studies is an interdisciplinary social science.
o Science is defined as systematically arranged knowledge that shows the operation of
general laws. Describes, arranges, predicts.
o Or, logical, systematic methods by which knowledge is obtained.
o Science operates on the assumption that the universe is governed by patterns that are
at least reliable enough for us to make reasonable predictions based upon them.
Observe, explain, and anticipate repeating phenomenon.
o Scientific method is important to obtaining data.
o There are usually exceptions in these generalizations, esp. in social sciences.
Science vs. Common Sense and Everyday Knowledge
o Representation bias/availability heuristic.
o We arent always careful observers.
o Confirmation bias. Often hold emotional investment in beliefs, religious, etc.
o Common sense can be contradictory; science attempts to explain under what
circumstances common sense actually makes sense.
Science vs. Other Ways of Knowing and Pursuit of the Truth in the Face of Opposition
o All types of knowing involve faith scientists put their faith in the scientific method, in
as cold/hard/objective/reasonable an avenue as possible.
o Science deals with what is, and why. Not what should be.
o Sometimes science reveals truths that we may not want to hear.
o Of course, scientific knowledge can change over time as new data is obtained and/or
interpreted in different ways
Status of the Social Sciences
o Less advanced than the natural sciences
Relatively young
People are complex and dont stay still like rocks.
o Social scientists cant explain every single possibility of human behavior, so we speak in
relatively more important factors or greater averages, etc.
o Communication studies is therefore not less scientific than the natural sciences, just
that it faces greater problems in explanation, generalization, and prediction.
o But remember, social sciences and natural sciences function the same way in terms of
obtaining and interpreting data.
Objectivity
o Researchers must be conscious of what they are doing, and what their biases are (and
try to eliminate them).
o Scientists attempt to be objective to eliminate distortions of data due to these biases.
o Often, procedures undertaken in a study will be detailed in the write-up, allowing for
others to read and criticize.
o Also, to exercise caution (duh).

Theory
o Theory gives meaning to the collected facts.
o Theory is a statement that organizes a set of concepts in a meaningful way by explaining
the relationship between or among them.
o Theory and fact-finding go hand in hand, they function off of one another.
The Scientific Method
o A particular system of rules, principles, guidelines, procedures for collecting evidence.
o We follow the method to ensure that we are objective, and that our procedures can be
replicated by others.
o Science is an empirical endeavor, interested in observation and analysis of the world
as taken in by the five senses.
o Specific terms
Hypothesis tentative, testable statement asserting the existence of a
relationship between one factor and something else. Studies can confirm,
qualify, refute, or support a rival hypothesis.
Unit of analysis who or what is being studied. (e.g. all 10000 COMM 10
students from the 1990s)
Population the total number of cases possessing a particular characteristic
(those having taken COMM 10)
Sampling procedure how we can learn about a large population by studying a
representative sample; difficulty lies in how the sample is gathered. Today we
use computers,
Variable any characteristic that can change or differ, from time to time, place
to place, or individual to individual
Variations in the independent variable (the hypothesized cause) bring
about variations in the dependent variable (hypothesized effect).
Operationalization expression of a variable in measurable terms
(grades, percentages, quotient, degrees, etc.)
Scientists are interested in determining causation we assume that all events
have causes and that those causes repeatedly produce the same effect.
Correlation is an observed association between a change in value of one
variable and the change in value of another variable.
Correlation does not necessarily imply causation.
o Time order (studying before test good grade)
o Third variable might cause the other two
o Unforeseen variable might be intervening (and should be
blocked/control as best as possible)
Control group stands in contrast to experimental group; the only difference is
the independent variable (which the experimenter can control). Unfortunately,
phenomena that most social scientists want to deal with are difficult observe in
a tightly controlled environment.

Validity whether the study actually tests what it says it will test
Reliability whether the findings of the study are reputable (consistency)
Steps of the Research Process
o Define the problem you want to investigate; a topic, a solid question, and concepts you
are interested in.
o Read literature that exists on the topic to determine what is already known and what
needs to be done in the area.
o Create a hypothesis.
o Design a research model, plans for selecting a unit of analysis, determining what
variables are to be measured (operationalizing), selecting sample(s),
obtaining/interpreting data
o Collect data.
o Analyze data, find correlation.
o Draw conclusions. What generalizations can you now make? Is your hypothesis
supported, qualified or invalidated by the evidence? Also relate your findings to existing
theory/knowledge, suggest where research might need to go next.
o (Different scientists adhere to these steps to varying degrees, and for good reasons on
all sides; quantitative researchers find sticking to the method more precise, although
qualitative researchers favor the subjective and get a better feel for the texture of real
life without the numbers)
Basic Research Methods
o Experiment used to see whether a change in the independent variable is related to
the change in the dependent variable while other factors are held constant.
Tightly controlled environment is the major advantage; furthermore,
observations can be recorded in greater detail
However, not always good esp. in social science context; for example, people
sometimes act different in a lab than in real life
o Survey in which a population or portion thereof (not necessarily a selected sample) is
questioned to reveal specific facts about itself or discover the distribution and
interrelation of certain variables relating to large numbers of people.
Efficiently gathers data from a large sample; direct access to peoples attitudes,
feelings, thoughts, behaviors
But people are not always reliable, and responses and reasons for response may
be biased.
Sometimes, people lie, for whatever reason (or give an opinion on
something they know nothing about).
o Lying to give a socially desirable answer public opinion as
views people give for public consumption, not actual innermost
thoughts (third-person effect attributing others for their own
feelings that they dont want to take responsibility for;
presentation of self)
Interview interviewer asking the interviewee for a response

Allow more in-depth responses, sometimes even more


accurate/truthful (depending on the question)
Questionnaires individuals fill out themselves
Faster and more efficient
But many people may not answer them truthfully or even return them,
and this can create a biased sample
Questions must always be asked as straightforwardly as possible
They might be closed (ideally precise but sometimes limiting) or openended (ideally more in-depth/accurate, but may lead to problems with
generalizing)
Channel of questioning can have unintended effect/bias; computer vs.
paper, for example
Observation attentively watching in the field, people in their natural habitat, good
for watching human behavior.
Flexible; focus can shift easily as research progresses and interests are refined
Detached no interference with observed behavior
for broader focus
Participant observes while taking part in the action
for more in-depth focus, richer data
highly subjective aspect involved (emotional investment) can distort
data
Case study can be detached or participatory; a complete/detailed record of an
event, group, or social process
Generalization, again, can be a concern
Content analysis describing/analyzing, in an objective way, the content of
literature/speeches/mass media/other communication in an objective way
Can be qualitative or quantitative, sampling is often used
Content is often analyzed in relation to other variables (i.e. comparing
essays of boys and girls to see if one sex is smarter than the other)
Existing artifacts and artifacts are often used to investigate
communication from the past

You Just Dont Understand Chapter 1: Different Words, Different Worlds Week 2
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Introduction
o Tannen observes that many men see themselves as individuals in a hierarchical society
in which they have to constantly defend themselves against attempts to push them
down.
o Women, on the other hand, see themselves as individuals in a non-competitive matrix
of connections; hierarchies of friendship instead of competition.
o Intruders/offenders might be seen as either patronizers (if youre male) or
inappropriately intimate (if youre female).

Intimacy and Independence


o Intimacy connection-based, negotiation of complex networks of friendship,
minimization of differences, consensus building, avoiding appearance of
superiority/differences (female tendencies)
o Independence status-based, hierarchal complexes, often operates on telling others
what to do (male tendencies)
Asymmetries
o Connection and community symmetry, status and contest asymmetry
o Duality is particularly clear in expressions of sympathy/concern; might be interpreted as
patronizing
The Mixed Metamessages of help
o Metamessages information about the relations among the people involved, and their
attitudes toward what they are saying or doing and the people they are saying or doing
it to
o i.e. the circumstances/implications of a given message or act (not always in
communicators control, e.g. a boss giving friendly advice to an employee might come
off as being standoffish)
o i.e. things that color the content of the message
Framing
o Metamessages frame a conversation
o Alignment self-imposed frame/position relative to other communicators in a given
interaction
What you say frames you, just as you frame what you say (content determines
form, form determines content)
The Modern Face of Chivalry
o Continuing on with idea of asymmetry
o Men being chivalrous (giving permission) to women (thus framing them as being
subordinate), who can accept under assumption of politeness. Men being chivalrous to
men; receiving men assert independence by being polite back.
The Protective Frame
o Protecting frames the protector as dominant and the protected as subordinate; status
difference signaled by this alignment more immediately apparent to men, and women
dont understand seem to readily understand this.
Different Means to the Same End
o Getting things done by manipulation of status (help me, Im a helpless waif, vs. Im
important, somebody help me), i.e. taking a one-up or one-down stance,
acknowledgement of asymmetrical relation to one another
o Or by reinforcing sameness (were from the same family, help me, we went to the
same high school)
o But ways of talking are hardly ever purely one or the other; e.g. name dropping
(reinforcing commonality by recognition of a common figure while also asserting a
superiority of connection)

Meaning in conversation (here ill-defined) resides more (questionably) in the hearers


own focus than on the speakers intention.
Whos Deceptive?
o Status-minded people might think connection-minded communication is insincere
o Connection-minded people might think status-minded communication is douchey
(manipulative/unfair)
o Both of them, though are ways of being involved with others and showing involvement
with others, although it may not seem obvious to either group at first
Mixed Judgments and Misjudgments
o Men might misjudge connection-minded women as being weak and un-independent,
and therefore incompetent and insecure
In Pursuit of Freedom
o In relationships, men desire freedom and independence while women desire
interdependence and connection difference is one of focus and degree, not of
absolutes (men dont necessarily not value connection to others, etc.)
o Women after divorce: I can do what I like
o Men after divorce: I dont have to do what I dont like
Male-Female Conversation is Cross-Cultural Communication
o Men and women raised differently in this society, as from two different cultures
It Begins at the Beginning
o Boys tend to play in hierarchically structured groups, achieve status by taking center
stage and telling jokes/stories, and interrupting those that are doing so (i.e. they are all
raging egomaniacs)
Chief commodity that is bartered in the boys hierarchical world is status, and
the way to achieve and maintain status is to give orders and have others follow
Monitor relations by checking for subtle shifts in who is giving orders and who is
following
o Girls play in small groups or pairs, not hierarchical; not concerned with jockeying for
status in an obvious way, more concerned about being liked
Popularity is a kind of status but one based on connection/intimacy
The Key is Understanding
o Knowing these things wont necessarily solve all problems, but it is a start to
understanding the opposite sex

You Just Dont Understand Chapter 2: Asymmetries : Women and Men Talking at Cross-purposes
Week 2
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Women are often frustrated because men dont offer matching troubles to theirs, and men are
frustrated because women do. Again, connection vs. status.
Women resent mens tendency to offer solutions to problems, men complain about womens
refusal to take action to solve the problems they complain about.

Basically, men are all patronizing/condescending jerks, even to one another, and women are just
pouty waifs who like to wallow in their emotions, and dragging others into their problems too
Mutual understanding is symmetrical. Offering help is asymmetrical.
Evidenced even in children/young adults. Girls talk about their problems and identify with each
other while boys say belittle each others situations (it could be worse). This is all supposed to
be comforting.
Women feel belittled by men who tell them their situation is not so bleak, and men feel belittled
by women who say they understand how they feel.
Mens approach seeks to assuage feelings indirectly by attacking their cause. Women expect to
have their feelings supported, mens approach makes them feel like they are being attacked.
Many women are comfortable seeking help, but also feel honor-bound to seek it, accept it, and
display gratitude in exchange. Men feel honor-bound to fulfill the request whether it is
convenient or not
Theres a balance between seeking help and showing appreciation women and men seem
equally bound in this arrangement
Men like to show off what they know. Women are more sensitive to having a student follow
along.
o But, Tannen reminds us, lets not forget that there are many gifted teachers who also
happen to be men.
o I really hate this book.
Expert stance is characteristically male. Women gain power by being teachers/helpers,
creating equal connections.
Men like fixing things because it gives them a feeling of being in control, of some kind of
mastery.
When those closest to us respond to events differently than we do, we are shaken.

You Just Dont Understand Chapter 3: Put Down That Paper and Talk to Me!: Rapport and Report
Talk Week 2
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Studies show that men talk more in public than women do


o Men ask questions prefaced with statements, sometimes more than one at a time, and
follow speakers answers with more questions and comments
o Men almost invariably ask the first question, more questions, and longer questions.
More men feel comfortable with public speaking while more women feel comfortable doing
private speaking.
o For most women, language of conversation is primarily a language of rapport: a way of
establishing connections and negotiating relationships
o For men, talk is primarily a means to preserve independence and negotiate and
maintain status in a hierarchical social order, i.e. to do nothing but be attention whores
Why do people think women talk a lot?
o Because they think women should be seen and not heard so any talk is too much talk

Or because women talk in situations men wouldnt, like on the phone, in groups of
friends, or on topics men dont find interesting
Mens silence at home is a disappointment to women.
o But Tannen offers no point of view from the mens side on this issueor a lot of issues,
actually.
Women and men have different ways of talking.
o But Tannen doesnt offer to bridge this gap, she only drivels about the differences, and
by using grossly exaggerated stereotypes at that.
For females young and old, the essence of friendship is talk.
o Women say their best friends are people they talk to all the time.
o Men say their best friends are people who they do things like play tennis or basketball
with or friends from high school they havent spoken to in a year.
Men and women have different ideas of what is important.
o Tannen prefaces this example with A woman told me; one of many examples in this
book springing from anecdotes (or not cited, just a made up stereotypical story that
supports Tannens half-baked, if vaguely intriguing, theory) but not actual research. The
bias in this book is heavy, rendering it difficult to regard as a trustworthy scientific text.
For men, talk is information. For women, talk is interaction. Not that talk is actually a
combination of both or anything.
o Taciturnity described as a stinginess of spirit.
o Women, all their lives, practice verbalizing thoughts and feelings in private
conversations with close ones. Men, all their lives, dismiss their thoughts, and keep
them to themselves.
Men remain silent in troubled relationships, women afraid of this.
For girls, talk is the glue that holds relationships together. Boys relationships
are held together primarily by activities: doing things together, or talking about
activities such as sports or, later, politics. The forums in which men are most
inclined to talk are those in which they feel the need to impress, in situations
where their status is in question.
Tannen then quibbles about how men quibble about women not caring enough to read the
morning paper.
Understanding differing views can help detoxify the situation, and both can make adjustments.
Many men are more comfortable than most women in using talk to claim attention.
Report talk in private: telling jokes, having an audience in small groups
o That isnt to say telling jokes is self-centered, even if it is self-display: entertains others,
like bringing a gift to the listener
o Asymmetry of teller/audience can be reversed, in taking turns; symmetry happens at a
broad scale
o Asymmetry diffused at larger scale if male continues to tell jokes
Rapport talk in public: sharing personal experiences to a large audiences

Many womens tendency to use personal experience and examples, rather than
abstract argumentation, can be understood from the perspective of their orientation to
language as it is used in private speaking.
o So basically Tannen claims that when women make lapses of judgment sometimes
(using anecdotal evidence) theyre really just using a different system of logic, not a
lack of logic.
In a sense, most women feel backstage with no men around. Or their husbands.
o Many women feel they are a team with their husband, who represents them and does
all the talking.
Men, intentionally or not, prevent women from speaking by talking all the time. They all assume
that everyone present is competing for the floor.
o A woman can push herself to speak without waiting for a polite pause
o A man can learn that a woman who is not accustomed to speaking up in groups is not as
free as he is do to so (i.e. he should patronize her and ask what do you think to all the
fucking women)
o As in so many areas, being admitted as an equal is not itself assurance for equal
opportunity.

You Just Dont Understand Chapter 4: Gossip Week 2


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Women like to gossip, and this isnt a bad thing always; friendship lies in it
o For many women, keeping up with each other is a social obligation
Rapport-talk as lament; confuses men sometimes because men think it is a request for advice
Small talk serves the purpose of bonding, even between family
Men think talk should be interesting and meaningful, of course this means discussing things
like business meetings and fixing things
Gossip as rumor is hurtful.
By agreeing about their evaluation with someone else, people reinforce their shared values and
world views.
Girls want to be liked by their peers, boys feel the need to be respected. Of course, its not like
they want both, just one or the other.
Men are keenly aware of the imbalance of power that results from telling secrets; it puts them
in a weaker position.
Mens interest in details of politics, news, and sports is parallel to womens interest in the
details of personal lives.
o Men can exchange news that has nothing to do with them; gossiping about world at
large (as if gossip and news share the same function)
People want to know the juicy details behind stories because it makes a more intimate
relationship. Being nosy is okay, and shows that you care.
Fairly enough, one can avoid being overinvolved by omitting the details.

Beliefs, Attitudes, and Values Week 3


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A belief is ones personal position as to whether something is true or not.


Types of belief how important/central it is to us (the more central the belief is, the greater the
effect on us if the belief is changed)
o Primitive 100% consensus belief
Primitive part derives from ones own experience
100% consensus means everyone believes in it
o Primitive 0% consensus belief
0% means there are many varying positions on the topic
But you believe it even if many others dont
o Authority beliefs
We believe these because an authority tells us it is true
o Derived authority beliefs
We believe these because an authority says it is true, even if the authority is not
an expert in this realm
o Inconsequential beliefs
Things we believe are true but are of no great importance
Attitudes are based on beliefs
o Typically derived from a number of beliefs (or beliefs plus an evaluation)
o Come about by development of feelings for a certain set of beliefs
o But beliefs dont always add up to attitudes
Values are based on attitudes
o Strongly held ideas, broad generalized notions of what is good and bad
o Large numbers of people or things over long periods of time
o Instrumental values used as a means to achieve some end you want, can only be
understood relative to terminal values
Refer to the ways you think you and others should act that would be conducive
to the terminal values you have
o Terminal values valued in and of themselves
According to Rokeach, self-concept (maintaining/enhancing self-regard) is the ultimate
goal/purpose of ones system of beliefs, attitudes, and values

The Self Week 3


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Self-concept refers to a relatively stable set of perceptions one has about oneself
Three basic aspects
o Self-identity
Social positions one occupies, role relative to others
o Self-image
Sense of own attributes/characteristics/skills, and how they fit together to form
a cohesive whole
o Self-esteem

Emotional response to oneself; how one feels about himself


Sense of self is largely a product of social interaction (biological factors not to be discounted)
o One theory is Charles Horton Cooleys Looking Glass Self theory
Self is a social product derived from social relationships and human interaction
Role taking ability to see yourself as others do, as an object
Three basic stages
Imagining how our actions appear to other people
Imagining how other people are judging our actions
Judging ourselves based on presumed judgment of others
In this way other people become a looking glass for ourselves
Early childhood experiences especially important; Cooley believed sense of self
is developed early in life, and is stable, despite some modifications, esp. in
reaction to strongly contradictory signals from others
What we think others are thinking of us is more important to us than what they
might actually be thinking
Sense of self is largely resistant to change, except in the face of a good deal of contradictory
evidence
o Although in the cases of anorexia etc. this may not always be true either

Self-disclosure Week 3
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Self-disclosure is intentional verbal communication aimed at another person; honest revealing


of ones own private thoughts, feelings, characteristics
Relates to the four selves
o Open what you and others know about yourself
o Hidden what you know about you but what others dont
What self-disclosure is most concerned with
o Blind what others know about you that you dont
o Unknown what no one, even yourself, knows about you
Reasons for self-disclosure vary; reciprocity, catharsis, self-validation, intimacy, manipulation
Alternatives include lying, equivocating, hinting, being silent
Halo-effect influences self disclosure
o Cognitive bias; judgments of a person influenced by overall impression
o We want people do have a positive overall impression of us; only later do we selfdisclose our darker sides
Culture also influences self-disclosure
o Norms for reciprocity exist, at least in the US

Some other influential variables (relating to self-disclosure) Week 3


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Perceived privateness
o Degree of perceived privateness knowing who your receivers are
Dramaturgy

o Concept of people constantly playing different roles on different stages


o Front stage behavior public sphere behavior
o Back stage behavior more informal/private realms
o Deep back stage behavior largely intrapersonal communication
History of previous interactions
o History in general
o History with specific others
Channel revisited
o Choice of channel is important
Convenience is a factor
Sometimes the channel itself indicates something about the message (bad news
on a pink slip, etc.)
Certain channels are more impersonal/personal (junk mail vs. face-to-face)
o Effectiveness of communication often varies from channel to channel, person to person
(some people communicate better with pen and paper than face-to-face), etc.

The interpersonal imperative and three social needs Week 3


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Interpersonal imperative fundamental human need to communicate, to be social


Beyond interpersonal imperative are three social needs
o Need for inclusion to belong, to be valued, to be needed
Oversocial too needy
Undersocial not needy enough
Those who join when appropriate
o Need for control
Autocrats
Abdicrats
Those who take charge when called for, but can also follow when appropriate
o Need for affection to give and get love, tenderness, kindness
Overpersonal
Underpersonal
These needs are not mutually exclusive

Three Stages of an Interpersonal Communication Act Week 3


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Anticipation
o Expectations of upcoming act
o Stage is influenced by your self-concept
Direct contact
o When person-to-person communication, verbal or nonverbal, begins
o This stage is directly influenced by the anticipation stage
Reciprocity
o Receiver is socially obliged to reciprocate, usually (but not always)

Small Group Communication Week 3


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Interpersonal communication requires two members; without one the dyad does not exist
o In dyads both must take active account of the other
Dynamics change when third person is added
o No longer need to be constantly taking account of everyone, because task is now shared
o Also adds possibility of group pressure/two-against-one alliances
Pair-offs often shift
One member can also cause/incite a conflict between the other two, or mediate
a conflict
o Increasing possibility of subgroups
Esp. with larger numbers of people, having a single spontaneous conversation
where everyone follows one line of talk becomes hard
At some point someone may even take charge so as to keep the conversation
focused
Larger groups (10-12) someone may feel need to address the group instead of
talk to it
Two types of small groups
o Primary groups
Intimate face-to-face association, interactions patterned by individual
personality characteristics
Everyone knows everyone else fairly well, has emotional investments in each
other
Usually exist over extended periods of time
o Secondary groups
Formally organized, impersonal
Might not even be small enough to be considered small groups
Members act in formal, designated ways
Interactions patterned more by status/role than their personality characteristics
Can sometimes evolve into a primary group
Some small groups have leaders that members look up to
o Sometimes member appointed, sometimes chosen by authority
o Instrumental leaders
Move a group toward achieving goals, suggest paths of action
o Expressive leaders
Socio-emotional, preserve harmonious relations amongst group members
Leaders can indeed be both instrumental and expressive, but this is difficult
Three types of instrumental leadership
o Authoritarian
o Democratic
o Laissez-faire (leader really only nominally)
Decision making

Small groups have been found to make better decisions than individuals
More ideas are generated, everyone can discuss possible sources of action
o This isnt always the case (i.e. crisis situations, small group members at odds with each
other)
Groupthink dont rock the boat; this is how we got Vietnam
Can be avoided by dividing small group, or secret ballots, etc.
o Riskiness of decisions
Small groups tend to make riskier decisions, as responsibility diffuses
Also, more members, increases the chance that a risky idea will even be brought
up
Sample Exam Questions
o How do small group communication dynamics change as groups grow in size?
o Distinguish a primary group from a secondary group and give an example of each.
o Distinguish instrumental from expressive leadership.
o Distinguish authoritarian vs. democratic vs. laissez-faire instrumental leadership.
o Why do small groups generally make better decisions than individuals?
o When do small groups not make better decisions than individuals?
o What is groupthink?
o How can groupthink be avoided?
o Why do small groups generally make riskier decisions than individuals?

You Just Dont Understand Chapter 5: Ill Explain It to You: Lecturing and Listening Week 4
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Men generally are lecturers (report-talk) and women are listeners (rapport-talk), because men
are status-driven and women just want to form connections
o Men: do you respect me?
o Women: do you like me?
Men, in seeking respect, may become less liked. Women, in seeking likability, may lose respect
Independent/dependent dichotomy, countered by interdependence
o Dependence is an asymmetrical involvement
o Interdependence is symmetrical
Telling jokes asserts a higher status, because laughter is temporarily disabling
Men are more literally focused on the message level of talk, while womens is focused on the
relationship/metamessage level
o Men get annoyed when women say yeah and uh huh and seem to be insincere
when they dont actually agree
o Women get annoyed when men dont respond and just attentively listen
Men dont like to listen because it frames them as subordinate; women like listening but they
expect it to be reciprocal
o Of course, men like to talk and expect this to be reciprocal instead

You Just Dont Understand Chapter 6: Community and Contest: Styles in Conflict Week 4
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Conflict means being involved with one another


Friendship among men often has a large element of friendly aggression, which women are likely
to mistake for the real thing
o Oral disputation is inherently adversative
Lets statements women intend as suggestions to maintain equilibrium, men find as
manipulating way to order people around
In childhood, status is gained by telling others what to do and resisting orders
o Girls on the other hand make requests as proposals and not orders so as to avoid
confrontation
Arguing in some parts of the world is seen as a bonding activity. For men, sometimes aggression
starts interaction and creates involvement
o But opposition can cause emotional pain and interfere with establishing connections too
Forms of support can be used to undercut too
o Just as boys and men use opposition to establish connections, girls and women can use
apparent cooperation and affiliation to be competitive and critical
Showing elaborate concern for others feelings can frame you as a social worker
who has it all together, and them as your patients
o Praise can hide criticism in its pockets (this essay is so much better than your last one)
Sometimes men think fighting is a form of intimacy
Boys/girls handle complexity in different arenas boys in rules/activities, girls in complex
networks/ways of using language to mediate relationships

You Just Dont Understand Chapter 7: Whos Interrupting? Issues of Dominance and Control Week
4
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Men claim women interrupt them, studies show that men tend to interrupt women more
Overlapping vs. interrupting
o Interruption is a matter of interpretation regarding individuals rights and obligations
(metamessage/circumstances)
How well do they know each other?
How do they feel about being cut off?
Is the interrupting comment a reinforcement/contradiction/change in topic?
o Basically interruption is a violation of the former speakers speaking rights this can
change based on varying circumstances
Interruption without overlap
Successful cooperative overlapping
o Do not change the topic, but rather elaborate on it
o Ending sentences with things like and so as to keep conversation oiled
Unsuccessful cooperative overlapping
o Attempts by high involvement speakers to lubricate conversation, with high
considerateness members getting flustered

Uncooperative overlapping men get annoyed that women are co-opting their topic,
women get annoyed that men change the topic
An interruptee yielding to an interrupters co-opting of the topic
High considerateness vs. high involvement
Cultural differences do exist, but we should never use science to prove that a certain cultural
groups behavior is necessarily invalid

You Just Dont Understand Chapter 8: Damned if you Do Week 4


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Men more likely to brag/boast (at least in report talk)


o Women only talk about achievements in private, where people wont judge her for her
pride
Being polite subservient or sensitive?
In our culture, men/women judged differently
Sorry as an expression of sympathy or as an expression of apology cause of confusion
Men have hard time gaining floor in groups of rapport-talking women, women have hard time
gaining floor in groups of report-talking men
Ingrained in language are asymmetrical assumptions about men and women (spunky, twitting,
needling)

You Just Dont Understand Chapter 9: Look at Me When Im Talking to You!: Cross Talk Across the
Ages Week 4
-

Differences in physical alignment/body language between men, women, and intersex


Men tend to be more indirect when talking about personal feelings/relationships. Women tend
to be more indirect when trying to negotiate mutual preferences and decisions
Talk about something serious
o Boys
2nd grade, two boys just get bored and dick around together, short spurts of
speech, flouting authority
6th grade, getting a little surly, uncomfortable, stiff, talk about 55 things in
report-talk mode, difficulty finding things to talk about with authority over
shoulder
10th grade, pained expressions in a confrontation of present friendship, still in
careless positions despite involved conversation (so theyre really not
disengaged, looking away from each other is a way of avoiding combativeness
and thus achieving friendly connection instead of compromising it WHAT),
downplay/dismiss each others problems
And older
o Girls
2nd grade, girls sit and tell serious stories, follow authoritys orders, reinforce
each others feelings from this early on

6th grade, comfortable in restraint, express fear that anger disrupts friendships
(desire to avoid conflict, preserve harmony)
10th grade, freely discussing one of theirs problems and the other responding
by reinforcing the complaints
Older, onedownmanship in trying to achieve equilibrium/reinforce symmetry
Questions of dominance
o Conversations in same-sex pairs are often asymmetrical/symmetrical, and complexly so
Does talking about her problems put a girl in a higher status position? Or a
lower one?
This is a serious shortcoming of her model that she fails to explain. There can be
content asymmetries and circumstantial asymmetries, etc., just a matter of
specificity, not of absolutes (which is what Tannen attempts to deal with her,
and fails)

You Just Dont Understand Chapter 10: Living with Asymmetry: Opening Lines of Communication
Week 4
-

Why cross-gender communication is so troubling


o It happens often
o It happens close to home
Schismogenesis; positive feedback loop resulting in schism
Advocating a flexibility/sensitivity of style (which really is common sense), and being able to
recognize when to override automatic behavior. But what if youre automatically a good
adapter?
Key to opening communication is to try to understand style differences between the sexes