Take a moment to look around wherever you are right now. Take in the perceptual field around you. What is salient for you in this moment and why? Explain the degree of salience using the three reasons for salience discussed in this section.
As we organize information (sensory information, objects, and people) we simplify and categorize information into patterns. Identify some cases in which this aspect of the perception process is beneficial. Identify some cases in which it could be harmful or negative.
Getting integrated: Think about some of the schemata you have that help you make sense of the world around you. For each of the following contexts—academic, professional, personal, and civic—identify a schema that you commonly rely on or think you will rely on. For each schema you identified note a few ways that it has already been challenged or may be challenged in the future.
Think of a recent conflict and how you explained the behavior that caused the conflict and subsequently formed impressions about the other person based on your perceptions. Briefly describe the conflict situation and then identify internal and external attributions for your behavior and the behavior of the other person. Is there any evidence of the fundamental attribution error or self-serving bias in this conflict encounter? If so, what?
Describe a situation in which you believe the primacy and/or recency effect influenced your perceptions of a person or event.
Has your perception of something ever changed because of exposure to cultural difference? For example, have you grown to like a kind of food, music, clothing, or other custom that you earlier perceived unfavorably?
Make a list of characteristics that describe who you are (your self-concept). After looking at the list, see if you can come up with a few words that summarize the list to narrow in on the key features of your self-concept. Go back over the first list and evaluate each characteristic, for example noting whether it is something you do well/poorly, something that is good/bad, positive/negative, desirable/undesirable. Is the overall list more positive or more negative? After doing these exercises, what have you learned about your self-concept and self-esteem?
Discuss at least one time in which you had a discrepancy or tension between two of the three selves described by self-discrepancy theory (the actual, ideal, and ought selves). What effect did this discrepancy have on your self-concept and/or self-esteem?
Take one of the socializing forces discussed (family, culture, or media) and identify at least one positive and one negative influence that it/they have had on your self-concept and/or self-esteem.
Discuss some ways that you might strategically engage in self-presentation to influence the impressions of others in an academic, a professional, a personal, and a civic context.
Which barrier(s) to self-perception do you think present the most challenge to you and why? What can you do to start to overcome these barriers?
Which barrier(s) to perceiving others do you think present the most challenge to you and why? What can you do to start to overcome these barriers?
Recount a recent communication encounter in which perception checking may have led to a more positive result. What could you have done differently?
Culture and Communication
Chapter 8 (8.1,8.2,8.3,8.4)
List some of your personal, social, and cultural identities. Are there any that relate? If so, how? For your cultural identities, which ones are dominant and which ones are nondominant? What would a person who looked at this list be able to tell about you?
Describe a situation in which someone ascribed an identity to you that didn’t match with your avowed identities. Why do you think the person ascribed the identity to you? Were there any stereotypes involved?
Review the section that explains why difference matters. Discuss the ways in which difference may influence how you communicate in each of the following contexts: academic, professional, and personal.
Do you ever have difficulty discussing different cultural identities due to terminology? If so, what are your uncertainties? What did you learn in this chapter that can help you overcome them?
What comes to mind when you hear the word feminist? How did you come to have the ideas you have about feminism?
How do you see sexuality connect to identity in the media? Why do you think the media portrays sexuality and identity the way it does?
Think of an instance in which you had an interaction with someone with a disability. Would knowing the “Ten Commandments for Communicating with People with Disabilities” have influenced how you communicated in this instance? Why or why not?
Why is the phrase “Know thyself” relevant to the study of intercultural communication?
Apply at least one of the six dialectics to a recent intercultural interaction that you had. How does this dialectic help you understand or analyze the situation?
Do some research on your state’s laws by answering the following questions: Did your state have antimiscegenation laws? If so, when were they repealed? Does your state legally recognize gay and lesbian relationships? If so, how?
Media and technology
Chapter 15 (15.1,15.2,15.3)
Getting integrated: Discuss how technology affects your communication in various contexts including academic, professional, civic, and personal. Also discuss how your engagement with technology changes from context to context. For example, do you use online technology more in one context than another? In what contexts/situations might you prefer “old media” like phone, written letter, or even face-to-face communication?
Print and broadcast media have been struggling to survive in a digitized world. Do some research on one of these media to see what some of the current issues are. Why are they struggling? What do you think they could do to remain profitable and relevant?
As more media products become digital, issues of ownership and copyright get more attention. Identify some pros and cons of limits on sharing digital media and stricter copyright laws.
Which function of mass media (information, interpretation, instructive, bonding, or diversion) do you think is most important for you and why? Which is most important for society and why?
What ethical issues are created by the gatekeeping function of the media? What strategies or suggestions do you have for bypassing this function of the media to ensure that you get access to the information you want/need?
Getting integrated: Discuss media messages that have influenced or would influence you in a professional, academic, personal, and civic context.
Visit the FCC’s webpage to view its mission: http://www.fcc.gov/what-we-do. Based on what you read there, how do you think the FCC is doing?
As we learned, many of the media messages that are exported from the United States to other countries end up supporting narrow stereotypes about US Americans. What media messages do you think would be better to export in order to allow other countries to see a more “accurate” picture of American life? Try to think of several examples of television programs, movies, websites, and so on.
Think about the diversity in some of the shows that you watch. Before doing any research, write down the different cultural identities that you think are represented in a couple of your favorite shows or movies. Then go and actually research the show or movie (look up the cast online, etc.) to see if your perceptions matched up with reality. Are the shows diverse? Why or why not? If there are minority characters, are they portrayed in stereotypical or narrow ways?