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CONSTRUCTIVISM

By Jesse Delia

OVERVIEW I. Interpersonal constructs as evidence of cognitive complexity II. Scoring the RCQ for construct differentiation III. Person-centered messages: the interpersonal edge IV. Message production: crafting goal-based plans or action V. Beneficial effects of person-centered messages VI. Socializing a new generation of sophisticated speakers

CONSTRUCTIVISM THEORY

CONSTRUCTIVISM

A communication theory that seeks to explain individual differences in peoples ability to communicate skillfully in social settings

RCQ (Role Category Questionnaire)

RCQ (Role Category Questionnaire)


A free-response survey designed to measure the cognitive complexity of a persons interpersonal perception.

1. Pick 2 people you know well one you dont like, one you do like. 2. Take a moment to mentally compare and contrast them in terms of personality, habits beliefs and the way they treat others. Think about them all. Do not limit yourself to just the similarities and differences. 3. 5 minutes explain the person you like so that a stranger would understand what he or she is like. DO NOT do physical characteristics. List attributes, mannerisms, defining characters etc. 4. 5 minutes DO the same thing for the person you do not like. FLIP PAPER OVER

CONSTRUCTS
The core assumption of Constructivism is persons make sense of the world through systems of personal constructs. Constructs: The cognitive template or stencils we fit over reality, to bring order to our perceptions. Contrasting features we have available to classify other people. (warm, cool) People with large set of interpersonal constructs have better social perceptions skills, than those whose set of mental templates is relatively small.

There are two kinds of people in the worldthose who think there are two kinds of people in the world and those who dont.

SCORING THE RCQ FOR CONSTRUCT DIFFERENTIATION

Margaux Sharp +1 Competent+1 Totally Sincere +1 Irish +0

COGNITIVE COMPLEXITY is shown by the combined # of Constructs, for both descriptions. ^ score more elaborate is the structure within your mind. Any score over 25: Considered reliable indicator of a high interpersonal cognitive complexity.

Nikki Hurried +1 Never has time +1 Snobbish +1 Tall +0

Scoring the RCQ for Construct Differentiation

Differentiation the main component of cognitive complexity as measured by the number of separate personal constructs used on the RCQ

PERSON CENTERED MESSAGESTHE INTERPERSONAL EDGE

PERSON-CENTERED MESSAGES THE INTERPERSONAL EDGE


Person-centered message a tailor-made message for a specific individual and context; reflects the communicators ability to anticipate response and adjust accordingly. Sophisticated communication a person-centered message that accomplishes multiple goals.
MUTE Alcohol Fatigue Pressure to conform AHEAD OF GAME

Stakes are high


Emotions run deep

THEORY IN A NUTSHELL
Individuals who are more cognitively complex in their perceptions of others have the mental capacity to construct sophisticated message plans that pursue multiple goals. They then have the ability to deliver person-centered messages that achieve the outcomes they desire.

Message Production: Crafting Goal-Based Plans for Action

Message Production: Crafting Goal-Based Plans for Action


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Consider the workplace of a woman named Laura, whose married male boss suggest a sexual affair.

Message Production: Crafting Goal-Based Plans for Action

Goals-Plans-Action Model of Message Production

Goals-Plans-Action Model of Message Production

- is outlined by James Dillard which can be used to explain the link between cognitive complexity and message production.

A) GOALS: What do you want to accomplish?


Primary goals-set into motion an ensemble of lowerlevel cognitive processes that occur in parallel and align with the overall aim represented by the primary goal. Secondary goals- are of less importance and often in conflict with primary goals. People with high levels of interpersonal cognitive complexity tend to develop more complex and sophisticated goals for many social situations, especially those that appear challenging or demanding

A) GOALS: What do you want to accomplish?


You are the most rude and disgusting man I have ever met. Youre nothing but a dirty man. Where do you get off thinking you could force me to have an affair with you? You make me sick.

B) Plans: How to accomplish the goals?


Procedural records are long-term memory recollections of actions taken in a specific situation paired with their consequences. Dillard suggest that we first look for tried-andtrue plans to achieve our goals. Plan-making usually takes place very quickly and below our level of consciousness.

C) ACTION: Communicating Skillfully


A cognitively complex individual can communicate skillfully when the situation demands it. He/she has the social perception to see the necessity of pursuing multiple goals and the skills to develop message plans to achieve them. Women use more person-centered messages and score higher RCQ than men.

C) ACTION: Communicating Skillfully


Awkward. TSK!

Awkward. Tsk.Tsk.Tsk.

Weve got a great working relationship now, and Id like us to work well together in the future. So I think its important for us to talk this out. Youre a smart and clear-thinking guy and I consider you to be my friend as well as my boss. Thats why I have to think you must be under a lot of unusual stress lately to have said something like this. I know what its like to be under pressure. Too much stress can really make you crazy. You probably just need a break.

Beneficial Effects of Person-Centered Messages

Beneficial Effects of Person-Centered Messages

Beneficial Effects of Person-Centered Messages


SOCIAL SUPPORT MESSAGES try to ease the emotional distress experienced by others.

*Moderately comforting messages express sympathy, yet try to shift attention away from the others loss or offer explanations for why it occurred.

Beneficial Effects of Person-Centered Messages


e.g Bestfriend: Camie I know you miss Grandma June tons right now. I cant say anything to take away the pain or ease the grief, but I am here for you. Cry on my shoulder whenever you need to and take comfort in that she is with Jesus right now, helping him to paint this beautiful sky for us to watch. Roommate: Im so sorry Camie. I had a grandmother die last year. Dont think about it too much because it will just make you sadder. Know that she is with God. Users of sophisticated strategies are better liked and more positively evaluated by both message recipients and observers.

Beneficial Effects of Person-Centered Messages


RELATIONSHIP MAINTENANCE is a process distinct from relationship development. According to Burleson and Samster, Similar skills model is a hypothesis that relationships fare better when parties posses the same level of verbal sophistication. ORGANIZATIONAL EFECTIVENESS high performance and promotion reflect a continual use o person-centered communication that seeks to achieve multiple goals with customers and co-workers.

SOCIALIZING A NEW GENERATION OF SPEAKERS

SOCIALIZING A NEW GENERATION OF SPEAKERS


Accdg. to Burleson, Delia, & Applegate, complex thinking is a culturally transmitted trait. -Members learn from preceding generations.

SOCIALIZING A NEW GENERATION OF SPEAKERS


Suppose, for example, a 5-year-old boy picks a flower from a neighbors yard without permission and presents it to his mother. Almost any parent can scold the kid for stealing.

SOCIALIZING A NEW GENERATION OF SPEAKERS


A) Taking peoples things without asking is wrong. Now go and apologize for taking the flower. B) When people work hard to have things (flowers), they usually want to keep them to appreciate them. Mrs. Jones might have given you a flower if youd asked, but taking things from people without asking upsets them a lot.

SOCIALIZING A NEW GENERATION OF SPEAKERS


Which socio-economic group do you think is likely to possess the highest form of sophisticated socialization? Parents from more advantaged socioeconomic backgrounds are likely the candidates. They inhabit a world of intricate work environments, role systems, and social expectations. Culture Complexity Communication path seems to ensure that, cognitively speaking, the rich get richer.

CRITIQUE

CRITIQUE
Sophisticated communication is more comforting than clumsy Similarity of communication skill may be important for durable relationships Skills of sophisticated communication may be transmitted from parent to child, and may enhance socio-economic privileges Too much reliance on RCQ Socio-psychological tradition (Communication as Interpersonal Interaction and influence) Rhetorical Tradition (Communication as art of persuasion)