Academic journal article Contemporary Readings in Law and Social Justice

Affective and Cognitive Dimensions of Media Communication

Academic journal article Contemporary Readings in Law and Social Justice

Affective and Cognitive Dimensions of Media Communication

Article excerpt


"Only by understanding how and why mass media influences our lives, can we better learn to cope with them and only by coping with them, can we change them so that they serve us rather than control our direction, not before a survey looking over the literature".

(Stuart, Fischoff, Media Psychology: A Personal Essay in Definition and Purview, 2005: 9)

1. Introduction

The studies in cognitive psychology pointed out the fact that the Subjects are not mere spectators; they filter, de-codify, select and re-interpret the perceived data in order to achieve their own representation of the world, by "lens, specters and harmonics", as (Fischoff, 2005: 21). This study also tries to "amend" the myth that communication has to surpass the impressions generated by the transparency of this ubiquitous phenomenon both in the social world, and in the individual sphere. Our approach will first highlight some measurable psychological parameters, and then establish a direction, after a survey on the opinions in the literature.

Taking into account the diversity of the individuals, Dortier (2010: 20) asks whether "we must conclude that an efficient communication is not possible." The author notes that: "by understanding the mechanisms of communicating - including its traps, obstacles and its invisible punts - we can have an increased efficiency in this domain." A good example is the plurality of meanings of the same word or phrase (namely, the message); the discipline of Semiotics studied these (Ferdinand de Saussure, Charles S. Pierce, Roland Barthes and Umberto Eco).

A different perspective of the efficiency of communication deals with the objectives (purposes) of human communication. Morin (2010: 25) wrote; "Why do we communicate? We communicate to inform and be informed, to know and be known (and known ourselves), to explain (things and ourselves), to comprehend and be comprehended."

When eluding the significance/meaning of this phrase, the author says: information can be either a discrete unity, or a particular feature highlighted by the theory of communication [...], knowledge means organizing both information and cognitive data [...], explaining implies using notions of determinism, causalities, even finalities [...], and comprehension includes the subjective dimension of knowledge in the process of explaining (26-27). "In order to achieve complete comprehension and the understanding of the meanings, one must identify the paradigms and the structures of thinking guide us and guide the others, too," Morin wrote (2010: 30).

Writing about the Psychology of communication, Marc (2010: 42-43) considers that it is "impossible to evoke all the dimensions" of this field, as "all the research show the existence of a hiatus and a rift," meaning we do not communicate only for the purpose of transmitting or obtaining information, but because we have different reasons or goals, or to reach some psychological objectives. This is why the author found three levels of the communication psychology:

- intra-psychological level, regarding the mechanisms involved in the communication (motivations, affective features, representations, defense mechanisms, cognitive mechanisms of attributing and interpretation);

- interactional level: the relational structures, the functions and dynamics of communication;

- social level: types of situations, rules, rituals, statuses and roles.

In interpersonal communication, the level of satisfaction the participants obtain is another dimension of the efficiency of communication. Regarding the direct communication, Marc (2010, p. 89) points out that we should answer to some questions: "Is the other person listening to me? Does he understand me? Does he recognize me? Does he agree to my way of seeing things? Does he appreciate me? Will he meet my requirements?" When we extrapolate these directions to the level of media communication exchanges, we ascertain that each interlocutor perceives the communication as being good or bad, pleasant or unpleasant, stimulating or exhausting, satisfactory or frustrating. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.