Message Production: Advances in Communication Theory

Message Production: Advances in Communication Theory

Message Production: Advances in Communication Theory

Message Production: Advances in Communication Theory


The last two decades have seen the development of a number of models that have proven particularly important in advancing understanding of message-production processes. Now it appears that a "second generation" of theories is emerging, one that reflects considerable conceptual advances over earlier models. Message Production: Advances in Communication Theory focuses on these new developments in theoretical approaches to verbal and nonverbal message production. The chapters reflect a number of characteristics and trends resident in these theories including:

• the nature and source of interaction goals;

• the impact of physiological factors on message behavior;

• the prominence accorded conceptions of goals and planning;

• attempts to apply models of intra-individual processes in illuminating inter-individual phenomena;

• treatments which involve hybrid intentional/design-stance approaches; and

• efforts to incorporate physiological constructs and to meld them with psychological and social terms.

The processes underlying the production of verbal and nonverbal behaviors are exceedingly complex, so much so that they resist the development of unified explanatory schemes. The alternative is the mosaic of emerging theories such as are represented in this book -- each approach according prominence to certain message-production phenomena while obscuring others, and providing a window on some portion of the processes that give rise to those phenomena while remaining mute about other processes. The amalgam of these disparate treatments, then, becomes the most intellectually compelling characterization of message-production processes.


Glenn G. Sparks
Purdue University

In 1984, John Greene published an article in Communication Monographsentitled, A Cognitive Approach to Human Communication: An Action Assembly Theory. In contrast to most of the cognitive work in communication to that point in time, which addressed issues of input processing, Action Assembly Theory (AAT) addressed issues of behavioral production. There is now a considerable body of work that has arisen from the AAT framework.

As a consequence of the impact of AAT in communication research, I nominated Greene's 1984 article for the Charles H. Woolbert Research Award that is given annually by the Speech Communication Association in recognition of articles that have "stood the test of time and become the stimulus for new conceptualizations of speech communication phenomena." In winning this award, John Greene was invited to coordinate a special panel that was presented at the 1995 meeting of the Speech Communication Association in New Orleans. This book is an outgrowth of that panel presentation.

One of the distinguishing features of the panel presentation is also a feature of the current volume. Instead of focusing on the past literature pertaining to message production processes, the following chapters look to the future and attempt to chart new theoretical ground. Just as I was confident that the original essay on AAT would be recognized in the Woolbert Award competition, I am also confident that this book will be recognized as an important work that helps to move us along in our understanding of the processes of behavioral production that are central to communication behavior. The source of my confidence on this point can be found in perusing . . .

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