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Metacommunication

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Metacommunication/kmjunken/(Etymology:Gk,meta+L,communicare,toinform),ormetacommunication,isasecondarycommunication
(includingindirectcues)abouthowapieceofinformationismeanttobeinterpreted.Itisbasedonideathatthesamemessageaccompaniedbydifferentmeta
communicationcanmeansomethingentirelydifferent,includingitsopposite,asinirony.[1]ThetermwasbroughttoprominencebyGregoryBatesontoreferto
"communicationaboutcommunication",whichheexpandedto:"allexchangedcuesandpropositionsabout(a)codificationand(b)relationshipbetweenthe
communicators".[2]Metacommunicationmayormaynotbecongruent,supportiveorcontradictoryofthatverbalcommunication.[3]

Contents
1Originoftheconcept
2Studiesandareasofresearch
2.1Metacommunication,metalanguageandlogic
2.2IvanPavlov:Contextasmetasignalingaboutprimarysignal
2.3Selfreferentialityinmassmedia
2.4Supervisionandmetacommunication
3Metamessage
4Seealso
5References
6Furtherreading

Originoftheconcept
Batesonistypicallysaidtohaveinventedtheterm,butinfact,hecreditsBenjaminLeeWhorf.[4]Batesonsuggestedtheterm'ssignificancein1951,andthen
elaboratedupononeparticularvariation,themessage"thisisplay,"in1956.[5]AcriticalfactforBatesonwasthateverymessagecouldhaveametacommunicative
element,andtypically,eachmessageheldmetacommunicativeinformationabouthowtointerpretothermessages.Hesawnodistinctionintypeofmessage,onlya
distinctioninfunction.[6]

Somemetacommunicativesignalsarenonverbal.ThetermKinesics,referringtobodymotioncommunicationandoccasionallyemployedbyBateson,wasfirst
usedbyRayBirdwhistellananthropologistwhowishedtostudyhowpeoplecommunicatethroughposture,gesture,stance,andmovement.[7]PartofBirdwhistell's
workinvolvedfilmingpeopleinsocialsituationsandanalyzingthemtoshowdifferentlevelsofcommunicationnotclearlyseenotherwise.Birdwhistell'sresearch
wasinfluencedbyMargaretMeadandGregoryBatesonallthreewereparticipantsintheMacyConferencesinGroupProcesses,[8]andbothBirdwhistelland
Batesonwerepartofalatermultidisciplinarycollaboration,TheNaturalHistoryofanInterview.[9]
From19521962,Batesondirectedaresearchprojectoncommunication.ThispaidparticularattentiontologicalparadoxesincludingRussell'sparadox1901andto
ofBertrandRussell's,TheoryofTypes,Russell'ssolutiontoit.Batesonandhisassociatesherepioneeredtheconceptofmetacommunicationsomethingthat
meansdifferent(oftencontradictory)thingsatdifferentlevels.Metacommunicationisthoughttobeacharacteristicfeatureofcomplexsystems.[10]

Studiesandareasofresearch
Metacommunication,metalanguageandlogic
FritsStaalrelatedthetermtometalanguageconceptthatisfoundinlogicbothinWesternandIndiantraditions.[11][12]Staalconsideredthetermmetalanguage,or
itsGermanorPolishequivalent,tohavebeenintroducedin1933bythelogicianAlfredTarski,whomhecreditswithhavingmadeapparentitsrealsignificance.[13]
Russell's1902solutiontohislogicalparadox[14]comesinlargepartfromthesocalledviciouscircleprinciple,thatnopropositionalfunctioncanbedefinedprior
tospecifyingthefunction'sscopeofapplication.Inotherwords,beforeafunctioncanbedefined,onemustfirstspecifyexactlythoseobjectstowhichthefunction
willapply(thefunction'sdomain).Forexample,beforedefiningthatthepredicateisaprimenumber,onefirstneedstodefinethecollectionofobjectsthatmight
possiblysatisfythepredicate,namelytheset,N,ofnaturalnumbers.[15]Itfunctionsasaformaldefinitionofthefunctionofmetacommunicationin
communication.

IvanPavlov:Contextasmetasignalingaboutprimarysignal
IvanPavlovhadlearnedthattheringingofthebellsignaled"foodisontheway"inhisexperimentinwhichdogsweretrainedtosalivateuponhearingabellring.
Thiswasaccomplishedbyringingabelljustpriortofeedingthedogs.Afterrepeatingthisprocedureforsometimeitwasfoundthatthedogswouldsalivateafter
hearingthebellwithouttheneedforfoodbeingpresented.
Somethingthatisnotoftendiscussedincontextwiththisexperimentisthefactthatthedogswouldnotsalivateunlesstheywerewearingaspecialharness.When
exposedtothebellringingwithoutwearingtheharness,thedogsdidnotsalivate.Thedogsonlysalivateduponhearingthebellwhilewearingtheharness.[16]
Thebellringingwasdirectcommunicationofinformation,butthecontextofthecommunicationalsoconveyedinformation.

Selfreferentialityinmassmedia

In2001study,itwasusedtodiscussselfreferentialityinmassmediacoveringpoliticsandwasexplainedasaconsequenceofthepoliticalpublicrelations'
presenceinmediathemselves.[17]

Supervisionandmetacommunication
In2013studyaboutsupervisioninhighereducation,authorsrecommendedmetacommunicationaspartofatransparentcommunicationstyle.[18]

Metamessage
InBateson'sworks,metamessagewasdefined(1972)asarefinementofhisearliernotionof"moodsign[al]"sfromhisworksofthe1950s.InvokingBertrand
Russell'sTheoryofLogicalTypes,Batesonenvisagedapotentiallyinfinitehierarchyofmessages,metamessages,metametamesagesandsoforth,each
metamessagedeterministicallyprovidingthefullcontextfortheinterpretationofsubodinatemessages.[19][20]Beingrathertechnical,hisdefinitionwas
misunderstood,[21]andmetamessageappropriatedwiththesamemeaningassubtext,especiallyinthefieldbusinesscommunications.[22]Additionally,Bateson's
strictlyhierarchicaltheorywascriticizedfornotreflectingsomerealworldcommunicationphenomena,whereanysignal(regardlessoflevel)canbedeceitful.[20]

Seealso
GregoryBateson
RayBirdwhistell
MacyConferences
Kinesics
Metamessage
Paralanguage
Prosody

References
1. ^"Mind,Nature,andConsciousness:GregoryBatesonandtheNewParadigm."(http://www.stanislavgrof.com/pdf/Gregory_Bateson.pdf)StanislavGrof,M.D.
2. ^Communication:TheSocialMatrixofPsychiatry,GregoryBateson,(RueschandBateson,1951,p.209
3. ^TheFreeDictionaryMetacommunication(http://medicaldictionary.thefreedictionary.com/metacommunication)
4. ^Communication:TheSocialMatrixofPsychiatry,GregoryBateson,(RueschandBateson,1951,p.209

5. ^Bateson,G.(1956).Themessage'thisisplay.'InB.Schaffner(Ed.),Groupprocesses:Transactionsofthesecondconference(pp.145242)NewYork:JosiahMacy,Jr.
Foundation.
6. ^Bateson,G.(1956).Themessage'thisisplay.'InB.Schaffner(Ed.),Groupprocesses:Transactionsofthesecondconference(pp.145242)NewYork:JosiahMacy,Jr.
Foundation.
7. ^Birdwhistell,R.L.(1952).IntroductiontoKinesics:AnAnnotationSystemforAnalysisofBodyMotionandGesture.Washington,DC:DepartmentofState,ForeignService
Institute.
8. ^LeedsHurwitz,W.(1994).Crossingdisciplinaryboundaries:TheMacyFoundationConferencesonCyberneticsasacasestudyinmultidisciplinarycommunication.
Cybernetica:JournaloftheInternationalAssociationforCybernetics,3/4,349369.
9. ^LeedsHurwitz,W.(1987).ThesocialhistoryofTheNaturalHistoryofanInterview:Amultidisciplinaryinvestigationofsocialcommunication.ResearchonLanguageand
SocialInteraction,20,151.
10. ^"BatesononCommunicationandMetacommunication"(http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~rxv/people/bateson.htm#metacommunication)
11. ^"TheconceptofmetalanguageanditsIndianbackground"(http://www.springerlink.com/content/30105xq7j3225446/)StaalFritsJournalofIndianPhilosophy3:315354
(1975)
12. ^"BibliographyonIndianLogicandOntology"(http://www.ontology.co/biblio/indianphilosophybibliotwo.htm)TheoryandHistoryofOntologybyRaulCorazzon
Retrievedon20111106
13. ^JournalofIndianPhilosophy3(1975)315354(http://link.springer.com/staticcontent/0.6043/lookinside/173/art%253A10.1007%252FBF02629150/000.png)
14. ^"BertrandRussellandtheParadoxesofSetTheory"(http://www.bookrags.com/research/bertrandrussellandtheparadoxesscit06123/)BookRagssynopsis
15. ^"Significanceoftheparadox"(http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/russellparadox/)Irvine,A.D.,"Russell'sParadox",TheStanfordEncyclopediaofPhilosophy(Summer2009
Edition),EdwardN.Zalta(ed.)
16. ^"StepstoanEcologyofMind"(Univ.ofChicagoPress,GregoryBateson,G.2000)
17. ^"SpinDoctorsintheUnitedStates,GreatBritain,andGermanyMetacommunicationaboutMediaManipulation"(http://hij.sagepub.com/content/6/1/16.abstract)Frank
Esser,CarstenReinemann,DavidFan.In:TheInternationalJournalofPress/PoliticsJanuary2001vol.6no.1,pp.1645
18. ^Baltzersen,RolfK.(2013).TheImportanceofMetacommunicationinSupervisionProcessesinHigherEducation.InternationalJournalofHigherEducation,2(2),p128
140.http://www.sciedu.ca/journal/index.php/ijhe/article/view/2764
19. ^GregoryBateson(1972).StepstoanEcologyofMind:CollectedEssaysinAnthropology,Psychiatry,Evolution,andEpistemology(http://books.google.com/books?
id=HewJbnQmn1gC&pg=PA247).UniversityofChicagoPress.pp.247248and289.ISBN9780226039053.
20. ^abA.J.Jones(1983).CommunicationandMeaning:AnEssayinAppliedModalLogic(http://books.google.com/books?id=WGYoAAAAMAAJ).Springer.pp.132137.
ISBN9789027715432.
21. ^AlanWolfe(January1996).MarginalizedintheMiddle(http://books.google.com/books?id=8vdSwzN74qgC&pg=PT204).UniversityofChicagoPress.p.200.ISBN9780
226905174.
22. ^RogerA.LohmannNancyLohmann(2013).SocialAdministration(http://books.google.com/books?id=1JpY07RJXqkC&pg=PT225).ColumbiaUniversityPress.p.225.
ISBN9780231502610.

Furtherreading
Metacommunicationasaconcepthasbeenpickedupacrossawidearrayofdisciplines.Afewrepresentativecitations
follow:

Lookupmeta
communicationin
Wiktionary,thefree
dictionary.

Briggs,C.L.(1984).LearningHowtoAsk:NativeMetacommunicativeCompetenceandtheIncompetenceofFieldworkers.
LanguageinSociety,13(1),128.
Chinyowa,K.C.(2007).FramesofmetacommunicationinAfricantheatrefordevelopment.StudiesinTheatreandPerformance,27(1),1324.
Condlin,R.J.(2008)."Everydayandineverywayweareallbecomingmetaandmeta",orhowcommunitarianbargainingtheoryconqueredtheworld(of
bargainingtheory).OhioStateJournalonDisputeResolution,23(2),231299.
Frow,J.(2001).MetaphorandMetacommunicationinSchizophrenicLanguage.SocialSemiotics,11(3),275287.
LeedsHurwitz,W.(2012).Balancingdepthwithbreadth:AmetacomunicativeperspectiveontheViSAgroupanalysisofcommondata.Educationet
Didactique,6(3),103106.
Rich,M.C.,&Craig,R.T.(2012).HabermasandBatesoninaWorldGoneM.A.D.:Metacommunication,Paradox,andtheInvertedSpeechSituation.
CommunicationTheory,22(4),383402.
Sarangi,S.(1998).BeyondLanguage,BeyondAwareness:MetacommunicationinInstructionalSettings.LanguageAwareness,7(23),6368.
Wilce,J.M.(1995).Ican'ttellyouallmytroubles:conflict,resistance,andmetacommunicationinBangladeshiillnessinteractions.AmericanEthnologist,
22(4),927952.

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