Understanding Human Communication / Edition 12

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For over three decades, this has been the bestselling text for the Human Communication course. Understanding Human Communication is written with one goal in mind: to provide students with the insights and skills to succeed in our changing world.

New to this Edition:

Updated and expanded coverage of:
--Culture and communication, in a full chapter (Chapter 3) and new "Understanding Diversity" boxes
--Gender and communication, including gender roles and sexual orientation (Chapter 4)
--The effects of technology and social media on communication, throughout the text and in new "Understanding Communication Technology" boxes
--Communication strategies for career success in an expanded career appendix and new "@Work" boxes
--Tips on effective speaking, with new annotated sample speeches (Chapters 11 through 14)

New design and features:
--Chapter-opening profiles highlighting real-world communication challenges
--Self-assessments for evaluating and improving communication skills
--Checklists in the public speaking chapters, summarizing tips at a glance
--"On Your Feet" prompts for public speaking practice
--Contemporary examples and videos, including a YouTube channel of clips from films, TV shows, ads, and Internet videos that bring communication concepts to life

A revised and updated support package:
--The Dashboard platform delivers high-quality resources for instructors and students in an intuitive, web-based learning environment and is compatible with mobile devices
--YouTube channel brings communication concepts to life through TV and film clips
--Instructor's Manual and Test Bank on CD or in print
--PowerPoint©-based and Prezi slides include quizzes, video links, discussion prompts, class activities, and more
--Companion Website offers free resources for instructors and students
--Now Playing: Learning Communication Through Film
--Student Success Manual
--Bonus chapters available on Mass Communication and on Communication and Service Learning
--Cartridges for course management systems are available as an alternative to Dashboard

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Understanding Human Communication is highly readable, its coverage is well balanced, and it's visually pleasing--this is a text that students will actually read. It also emphasizes real-world applications, which students these days need and WANT."--Debi Hill, Sauk Valley Community College

"Understanding Human Communication is one of the most comprehensive and affordable texts on the market."--Shawnalee A. Whitney, University of Alaska Anchorage

"I truly prefer this text to the 8-9 other books I've used and reviewed. It is clearly organized, well written, conversational, relevant, modern, and fun."--Cheryl Chambers, Mississippi State University

"In the years I have taught this course, I have never found a more comprehensive yet relatable text for students than Understanding Human Communication."--Cole Franklin, East Texas Baptist University

"The self-assessments really make this text stand out and the real-life opening scenarios are much stronger than those in other texts."--Jennifer McCullough, Kent State University

"I admire the authors' openness to teach necessary concepts that are outside the world of academia. They set the tone immediately by presenting a real-world application; a blog. Also, for those students who may not be aware of how communication and technology are fused, the 'Understanding Communication Technology' feature offers thought-provoking situations about how we use and abuse social media."--Jason Ziebart, Central Carolina Community College

"I love Now Playing. It engages students using current films and provides them with common ground to discuss examples. I also love the consistent focus on diversity, culture, ethics, and technology. Any student exposed to this text-be it a communications major or a non-major-will walk away with a basic yet textured understanding of the importance of effective communication."--Marie Baker-Ohler, Northern Arizona University

"I love the way that the authors have incorporated 'private and interpersonal' communication into the book. It's not just about making speeches; it really is about understanding how people communicate and learning about communicating more effectively in all settings."--Deanna Brooke-Armentrout, Potomac State College of WVU

"Updated topics, pictures, and scenarios make this book a timely and interesting read. It offers students all the tools that they need to become dynamic communicators."--Kimberly Batty-Herbert, South Florida State College

"The most relevant, current, and complete text I've seen for an introductory communication course. This edition incorporates social media better than any other text and has self-assessments, 'on your feet' prompts, film clips, up-to-date examples, more on communication apprehension, and profiles of real people."--Brittany W. Hochstaetter, Wake Technical Community College

"Reading this book is like having a conversation, and my students will like the contemporary look and feel."--Don Taylor, Blue Ridge Community College

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199334322
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 11/19/2013
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 12
  • Pages: 528
  • Sales rank: 435,656
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 10.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Ronald B. Adler is Professor of Communication, Emeritus, at Santa Barbara City College. He is coauthor of Interplay: The Process of Interpersonal Communication, Twelfth Edition (OUP, 2013), Looking Out, Looking In (2014), and Communicating at Work: Principles and Practices for Business and the Professions (2013).

George Rodman is Professor in the Department of Television and Radio at Brooklyn College, City University of New York, where he founded the graduate media studies program. He is the author of Mass Media in a Changing World, Fourth Edition (2012), Making Sense of Media (2001), and several books on public speaking.

Athena du Pré is Professor of Communication at the University of West Florida. She is the author of Communicating About Health: Current Issues and Perspectives, Fourth Edition (OUP, 2014), as well as other books, journal articles, and chapters on communicating effectively in modern organizations.

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Table of Contents

Part One: Fundamentals of Human Communication
1. Human Communication: What and Why?
Communication Defined
Characteristics of Communication
Modeling Communication
Types of Communication
Intrapersonal Communication
Dyadic/Interpersonal Communication
Small Group Communication
Organizational Communication
Public Communication
Mass Communication
Communication in a Changing World
Changing Technology
Changing Discipline
Understanding Social Media
Mediated Versus Face-to-Face Communication
How People Use Social Media
Communicating Competently with Social Media
Functions of Communication
Physical Needs
Identity Needs
Social Needs
Practical Needs
Communication Competence: What Makes an Effective Communicator?
Communication Competence Defined
Characteristics of Competent Communicators
Clarifying Misconceptions about Communication
Communication Does Not Always Require Complete Understanding
Communication Will Not Solve All Problems
Communication Isn't Always a Good Thing
Meanings Rest in People, Not Words
Communication Is Not Simple
More Communication Isn't Always Better
Self-Assessment: Your Communication Choices
Understanding Communication Technology: Social Media Meet
Communication Needs
Self-Assessment: Your Communication Strengths and Goals
Ethical Challenge: To Communicate or Not to Communicate?
@Work: Can You Be Too Connected?
2. The Self, Perception, and Communication
Communication and the Self
Self-Concept Defined
Biology, Personality, and the Self
Communication and Development of the Self
Culture and the Self-Concept
The Self-Concept and Communication with Others
The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy and Communication
Perceiving Others
Steps in the Perception Process
Influences on Perception
Narratives, Perception, and Communication
Common Perceptual Tendencies
Perception in Mediated Communication
Empathy, Perception, and Communication
Communication and Identity Management
Public and Private Selves
Characteristics of Identity Management
Why Manage Identities?
Identity Management in Mediated Communication
Identity Management and Honesty
Self-Assessment: Communication and Your Self-Esteem
Ethical Challenge: Is Honesty the Best Policy?
Understanding Diversity: Managing Identity and Coming Out
@Work: Identity Management in the Workplace
Understanding Communication Technology: Avatars Offer New Virtual Identities
Ethical Challenge: Honesty and Multiple Identities
3. Communication and Culture
Understanding Cultures and Cocultures
Intercultural and Intergroup Communication: A Matter of Salience
Cultural Differences Are Generalizations
Cultural Values and Norms Shape Communication
Individualism and Collectivism
High- and Low-Context
Uncertainty Avoidance
Power Distance
Beliefs about Talk and Silence
Competitive and Cooperative Cultures
Cocultures and Communication
Ethnicity and Race
Regional Differences
Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation
Physical Ability/Disability
Socioeconomic Status
Developing Intercultural Communication Competence
Increased Contact
Tolerance for Ambiguity
Knowledge and Skill
Patience and Perseverance
@Work: Power Distance and Culture in the Workplace
Understanding Diversity: Communicating with People Who Have Disabilities
Self-Assessment: What Is your Intercultural Sensitivity?
Ethical Challenge: Civility When Values Clash
Part Two: Communication Elements
4. Language
The Nature of Language
Language Is Symbolic
Meanings Are in People, Not Words
Language Is Rule Governed
The Power of Language
Language Shapes Attitudes
Language Reflects Attitudes
Troublesome Language
The Language of Misunderstandings
Disruptive Language
Evasive Language
Gender and Language
Language Similarities and Differences by Gender
Understanding Gender Differences in Language Use
Transcending Gender Boundaries
@Work: What's in a Name?
Ethical Challenge: Sexist and Racist Language
Understanding Diversity: Language and Worldview
Understanding Communication Technology: Twitter Lingo Incites Controversy
Self-Assessment: Your Use of Language
Ethical Challenge: Euphemisms and Equivocations
5. Listening
The Importance of Listening
Misconceptions About Listening
Listening and Hearing Are Not the Same Thing
Listening Is Not a Natural Process
All Listeners Do Not Receive the Same Message
Overcoming Challenges to Effective Listening
Mindful Listening Requires Effort
Faulty Listening Behaviors
Reasons for Poor Listening
Types of Listening
Task-Oriented Listening
Relational Listening
Analytical Listening
Critical Listening
Listening and Social Support
Social Support and Mediated Communication
Gender and Social Support
Types of Supportive Responses
When and How to Help
@Work: Multi-tasking: A Recipe for Inattention
Self-Assessment: Your Listening
Ethical Challenge: How Carefully Should You Listen?
Understanding Communication Technology: Who Is Listening To You Online?
6. Nonverbal Communication
Characteristics of Nonverbal Communication
Nonverbal Behavior Has Communicative Value
Nonverbal Communication Is Primarily Relational
Nonverbal Communication Is Ambiguous
Nonverbal Communication Is Different from Verbal Communication
Nonverbal Skills Are Important
Influences on Nonverbal Communication
Functions of Nonverbal Communication
Types of Nonverbal Communication
Body Movements
Building Competence in Nonverbal Communication
Tune Out Words
Use Perception Checking
Pay Attention to Your Own Nonverbal Behavior
Understanding Diversity: How Accurate is Gaydar?
Understanding Communication Technology: Expressiveness in Online Communication
Self-Assessment: How Worldly Are Your Nonverbal Communication Skills?
Ethical Challenge: Clothing and Impression Management
@Work: Touch and Career Success
Part Three: Interpersonal Communication
7. Understanding Interpersonal Relationships
Why We Form Relationships
Reciprocal Attraction
Characteristics of Interpersonal Communication
What Makes Communication Interpersonal?
Interpersonal Communication in Online Relationships
Content and Relational Messages
Communication over the Relational Lifespan
A Developmental Perspective
A Dialectical Perspective
Intimacy in Interpersonal Relationships
Dimensions of Intimacy
Male and Female Intimacy Styles
Personal Preferences for Intimacy
Cultural Influences on Intimacy
Self-Disclosure in Interpersonal Relationships
Models of Self-Disclosure
Characteristics of Effective Self-Disclosure
Guidelines for Appropriate Self-Disclosure
Lies, Equivocation, and Hinting
Understanding Communication Technology: To End a Romance, Just Press "Send"
Understanding Diversity: Can Men and Women Be Just Friends?
Self-Assessment: Your Love Languages
Ethical Challenge: The Ethics of Lying and Equivocating
8. Improving Interpersonal Relationships
Communication Climates in Interpersonal Relationships
Confirming and Disconfirming Messages
How Communication Climates Develop
Creating Positive Communication Climates
Understanding Interpersonal Conflict
The Nature of Conflict
Styles of Expressing Conflict
Characteristics of an Assertive Message
Gender and Conflict Style
Conflict in Online Communication
Cultural Influences on Conflict
Managing Interpersonal Conflicts
Methods for Conflict Resolution
Steps in Win-Win Problem Solving
Understanding Communication Technology: Can You Hear Me Now?
@Work: Dealing with Sexual Harassment
Ethical Challenge: Choosing an Ethical Conflict Style
Self-Assessment: Your Assertiveness Level
Understanding Diversity: They Seem to be Arguing
Part Four: Communication in Groups
9. Communicating in Groups
The Nature of Groups and Teams
What Is a Group?
What Makes a Group a Team?
Virtual and Face-to-Face Groups
Goals of Groups and Their Members
Group Goals
Individual Goals
Characteristics of Groups and Teams
Rules and Norms
Patterns of Interaction
Patterns of Interaction
Leadership and Communication
Approaches to Leadership
Leader-Member Relationships
Becoming a Leader
Followership and Communication
Types of Followers
The Power of Followers
Ethical Challenge: Rules for Hidden Agendas
Self-Assessment: Your Leadership Approach
@Work: "I'll Do It Myself"--Or Should I?
Self-Assessment: How Good a Follower Are You?
10. Solving Problems in Groups
Problem Solving in Groups: When and Why
Advantages of Group Problem Solving
When to Use Groups for Problem Solving
Setting the Stage for Problem Solving
Maintaining Positive Relationships
Developmental Stages in Problem-Solving Groups
Group Problem-Solving Strategies and Formats
Problem-Solving Formats
Solving Problems in Virtual Groups
Approaches and Strategies for Problem Solving
A Structured Problem-Solving Approach
Decision-Making Methods
Overcoming Dangers in Group Discussion
Information Underload and Overload
Unequal Participation
Pressure to Conform
Understanding Diversity: Maximizing the Effectiveness of Multicultural Teams
Self-Assessment: How Effective is Your Team?
@Work: The Power of Constructive Dialog
Understanding Communication Technology: Developing Trust Long Distance
Ethical Challenge: Dealing with Overly Talkative and Quiet Group Members
Part Five: Public Communication
11. Preparing Speeches
Getting Started
Choosing Your Topic
Defining Your Purpose
Writing a Purpose Statement
Stating Your Thesis
Analyzing the Speaking Situation
The Listener: Audience Analysis
The Occasion
Gathering Information
Online Research
Library Research
Survey Research
Managing Communication Apprehension
Facilitative and Debilitative Communication Apprehension
Sources of Debilitative Communication Apprehension
Overcoming Debilitative Communication Apprehension
Choosing a Type of Delivery
Practicing the Speech
Guidelines for Delivery
Visual Aspects of Delivery
Auditory Aspects of Delivery
Sample Speech
Ethical Challenge: Adapting to Speaking Situations
@Work: Sample Analysis of a Speaking Situation
Self-Assessment: Speech Anxiety
Understanding Diversity: A Compendium of American Dialects
12. Organization and Support
Structuring Your Speech
Your Working Outline
Your Formal Outline
Your Speaking Notes
Principles of Outlining
Standard Symbols
Standard Format
The Rule of Division
The Rule of Parallel Wording
Organizing Your Outline into a Logical Pattern
Time Patterns
Space Patterns
Topic Patterns
Problem-Solution Patterns
Cause-Effect Patterns
Using Transitions
Beginning and Ending the Speech
The Introduction
The Conclusion
Supporting Material
Functions of Supporting Material
Types of Supporting Material
Styles of Support: Narration and Citation
Sample Speech
Self-Assessment: Main Points and Subpoints
Understanding Diversity: Nontraditional Patterns of Organization
@Work: Organizing Business Presentations
Ethical Challenge: The Ethics of Support
Understanding Communication Technology: Plagiarism in a Digital Age
13. Informative Speaking
Types of Informative Speaking
By Content
By Purpose
Informative Versus Persuasive Topics
An Informative Topic Tends to Be Noncontroversial
The Informative Speaker Does Not Intend to Change Audience Attitudes
Techniques of Informative Speaking
Define a Specific Informative Purpose
Create Information Hunger
Make It Easy to Listen
Use Clear, Simple Language
Use a Clear Organization and Structure
Use Supporting Material Effectively
Emphasize Important Points
Generate Audience Involvement
Using Visual Aids
Types of Visual Aids
Media for the Presentation of Visual Aids
Rules for Using Visual Aids
Using PowerPoint
Sample Speech
Self-Assessment: Information Overload
Understanding Diversity: How Culture Affects Information
Ethical Challenge: The Ethics of Simplicity
@Work: The Pros and Cons of Presentation Software
14. Persuasive Speaking
Characteristics of Persuasion
Persuasion Is Not Coercive
Persuasion Is Usually Incremental
Persuasion Is Interactive
Persuasion Can Be Ethical
Categorizing Types of Persuasion
By Types of Proposition
By Desired Outcome
By Directness of Approach
Creating the Persuasive Message
Set a Clear, Persuasive Purpose
Structure the Message Carefully
Use Solid Evidence
Avoid Fallacies
Adapting to the Audience
Ethical Challenge: Analyzing Communication Behaviors
Understanding Diversity: Cultural Differences in Persuasion
Self-Assessment: Persuasive Speech
Ethical Challenge: Adapting to a Hostile Audience
@Work: Persuasion Skills in the World of Sales
Appendix: Communicating for Career Success

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