Communication Models

Although adapted and updated, much of the information in
this lecture is derived from C. David Mortensen, *Communication: The Study of Human Communication* (New York:
McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1972), Chapter 2, “Communication Models.”

See more of Bitzer's approach here.

Once, when he was explaining his work to a
group of prominent scientists who challenged his eccentric definition, he
replied, “I think perhaps the word ‘information’ is causing more trouble . . .
than it is worth, except that it is difficult to find another word that is
anywhere near right. *It should be kept
solidly in mind that [information] is only a measure of the difficulty in
transmitting the sequences produced by some information source*” [emphasis
added]

In much the same way, in its new technical
sense, *information* has come to denote
whatever can be coded for transmission through a channel that connects a source
with a receiver, regardless of semantic content. For

E = mc2

Jesus saves.

Thou shalt not kill.

I think, therefore I am.

Phillies 8, Dodgers 5

‘Twas brillig and the slithy roves did gyre and gimble in the wabe.

And indeed, these are no more or less meaningful than any string of haphazard bits (x!9#44jGH?566MRK) I might be willing to pay to have telexed across the continent.

*As
the mathematician Warren Weaver once put it, explaining “the strange way in
which, in this theory, the word ‘information’ is used .... It is surprising but
true that, from the present viewpoint, two messages, one heavily loaded with
meaning and the other pure nonsense, can be equivalent as regards information*”
[emphasis added].

a.)
Some of these methods of communication are very *direct,* as when you talk in direct
response to someone.

b.)
Others are only *moderately
direct*; you might squirm when a speaker drones on and on, wrinkle your nose
and scratch your head when a message is too abstract, or shift your body
position when you think it’s your turn to talk.

c.)
Still other kinds of feedback are completely *indirect*.

a.) politicians discover if they’re getting their message across by the number of votes cast on the first Tuesday in November;

b.) commercial sponsors examine sales figures to gauge their communicative effectiveness in ads;

c.) teachers measure their abilities to get the material across in a particular course by seeing how many students sign up for it the next term.

A
but also from C to A (fCA). Clearly, in mass communication, a large number
of Cs receive from a very large number of As and transmit to a vastly
larger number of Bs, who simultaneously receive messages from other Cs. |

“I coined

fractalfrom the Latin adjectivefractus. The corresponding Latin verbfrangeremeans ‘to break’: to create irregular fragments. It is therefore sensible—and how appropriate for our needs!—that, in addition to ‘fragmented’fractusshould also mean ‘irregular,’ both meanings being preserved in fragment.” Benoit Mandelbrot

Construction of a Fractal Snowflake

A Koch snowflake is constructed by making progressive additions to a simple triangle. The additions are made by dividing the equilateral triangle’s sides into thirds, then creating a new triangle on each middle third. Thus, each frame shows more complexity, but every new triangle in the design looks exactly like the initial one. This reflection of the larger design in its smaller details is characteristic of all fractals.

Mandelbrot Set

Polish-born French mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot coined the term “fractal” to describe complex geometric shapes that, when magnified, continue to resemble the shape’s larger structure. This property, in which the pattern of the whole repeats itself on smaller and smaller scales, is called self similarity. The fractal shown here, called the Mandelbrot set, is the graphical representation of a mathematical function.

This phenomenon led researchers to talk about "the butterfly effect" to illustrate how a very small change can produce significant changes in a system. The butterfly effect refers to the fact that a butterfly flapping its wings over Beijing can result in a change in the weather patterns in New York two months later.