Charles R. Berger University of California--Davis
During the 1950s and 1960s, the study of interpersonal communication was coterminous with the study of communication and social influence processes ( Berger, 1977). Experimental studies of attitude change, inspired by the Yale group's work on communication and persuasion ( Hovland & Janis, 1959; Hovland, Janis, & Kelley, 1953; Hovland et al., 1957; Hovland & Rosenberg, 1960; Sherif & Hovland, 1961) and by balance ( Heider, 1958; Newcomb, 1953), congruity ( Osgood, Suci, & Tannenbaum, 1957), dissonance ( Brehm & Cohen, 1959; Festinger, 1957), reactance ( Brehm, 1966), and social judgment theories ( Sherif & Hovland, 1961; Sherif, Sherif, & Nebergall, 1965) were the order of the day. During this time, communication researchers of many stripes, including those interested in the effects of mass media, employed these theoretical frameworks to explore relationships between a variety of source and message variables on the one hand and persuasion on the other ( Berger & Chaffee, 1988), and landmark reviews of the persuasion literature ( McGuire, 1969, 1985) employed a communication effects framework to organize research findings. Although interpersonal communication researchers continue to be interested in the relationships between communication and social influence processes ( Boster, in press; Burgoon , 1995; Miller, 1987; O'Keefe, 1990; Petty & Cacioppo, 1981), the purview of interpersonal communication has become markedly more catholic since the 1960s.