ERIC Number: ED162366
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1978-Nov
Reference Count: 0
The Operation of Categorization and Consistency Rules in Message Interpretation.
Street, Richard L., Jr.
Sacks's description-by-categorization theory was tested in a study to determine how contextual information influences the interpretation of verbal messages. The technique of enjambed conversation (a transcription of a conversation void of punctuation and speaker designation) was used to produce two verbal messages, one "more related" the other "less related" to a particular subject. The messages were then tape recorded so that the context surrounding them could be manipulated. The two recorded conversations differed in the length of speaker turn and the number of speakers. Two experiments were then conducted involving 60 college students. The first consisted of two cells, each with 15 subjects. Each cell heard a different version of the recording and then the subjects in both cells disenjambed the "more related" conversation. The second experiment followed the same procedure, disenjambing the "less related" conversation. The results supported the proposition that an element of context more relatable to the understanding of a verbal message will have more influence on how that message is interpreted than a less relatable element. The study indicated that elements of context influence how people make sense from verbal messages through the employment of economy and consistency rules. (FL)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Sacks (H)
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Speech Communication Association (64th, Minneapolis, Minnesota, November 2-5, 1978)