Response Essays

Respond to the essay questions provided below. Essays should be well-organized and well-written. The first question asks you to synthesize the relationships between cognitive structures, cognitive processes, and communication. The second question asks you to integrate material from attribution theory with constructivism in order to develop your own new theory. The third question asks you to think about attribution theory in broad terms. Your ability to analyze and synthesize material is necessarily dependent on your ability to write clearly and effectively. So, I expect that your writing process will involve a good deal of editing and rewriting (and editing and rewriting some more).Please double space your exam and use 12-point font and set one-inch margins to allow room for feedback.

Question 1

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Constructivism (Chapter 6) is a theory that describes the relationship between cognition and communication. Employing the terminology of constructivism, describe the relationships between cognitive structures or cognitive complexity (pp. 111-112), social perception processes (pp. 109 to middle 111), and person-centered forms of communication (pp. 112-117). What is cognitive complexity and why is it important to constructivists? What forms of social perception should be related to cognitive complexity? Be sure to define what constructivists mean by “person-centered communication.” Include in your discussion the three specific forms of person-centered communication we discussed in class and be sure to describe what makes each form more or less person-centered. Why are the three forms of person-centered communication important? Incorporate Wilson’s discussion of goals to explainhow and why cognitive complexity and social perception are related to the three forms of Person-centered communication?What kinds of goals does cognitive complexity shape? Wilson discusses cultural syndromes that shape goal formation. What is a cultural syndrome and what kind of cultural syndrome might shape the development of cognitively complex people that might ultimately shape goal formation?(20 points)


Question 2

Integrate information and concepts from attribution theory with constructivism to create a new theory. This theory should address constructivism’s concern with the relationship between cognitive structure and communication. However, your theory should also integrate some aspect of attribution making with this traditional concern of constructivism. The following are some questions you might consider in the development of your theory. Are certain forms of message production associated with how people make attributions? How might an attribution shape the persuasive/comforting/discipline message produced by someone? Are certain communication competencies associated with certain forms of attribution making? Is cognitive complexity associated with how people make attributions? How do biases shape our person-centered communication capacities? Do forms of person-centered communication influence the attributions we make of the communicator? I don’t expect you to answer all of these question. However, thinking about them may help you to develop your new theory. (10 points)

Question 3

We covered a few attribution models and biases in our readings and lectures dealing with attribution theory. These theories discussed how attributions could be made to the social actor or the person whose behavior we are observing (also referenced as internal attributions). Many of these theories focus on attributions that could be made to the situation(s) our social actor is in (also referred to as an external attribution). These readings and discussions illustrate that we spend a lot of time making internal attributions to the behaviors of others (there is something about the person that explains their behavior). Drawing on the wide variety of attribution research we have discussed, provide as many reasons as you can for why we are likely to make internal attributions to the behaviors of others. (10 points)

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