Human CommunicationCh. 2, Listening & Critical Thinking
I. Listening vs. Hearing
A. Hearing: Act of receiving sound
Passive, automatic, physiological
B. Listening: Receiving, constructing meaning from, responding to spoken
or nonverbal messages. . .
C. Chinese characters of the verb "to listen": Ears, eyes, heart, undivided attention demonstrate the importance of listening in that society and the complexity of the concept.
II. Listening Facts
A. How much of what we know we have learned by listening?
B. How much we recall immediately after hearing someone talk?
C. How much we remember of what we hear?
D. Amount of us with formal listening training? Less than 2 %
E. We listen at 125-150 wpm but think at 1,000-3,000 wpm.
F. During lecture, 20 % are listening to professor, 12 % actively.
G. College students spend
53 % of time listening (21 % if FTF, 32 % is mass media)
17 % Reading
16 % Speaking
14 % Writing
III. Listening Process
1. Selective: Sustained focus to stimuli we deem important. For example, you may be bored in class but manage to hear every time the professor says "This will be on the test." Or, you may notice commercials for food when you are very hungry.
2. Automatic: Instinctive focus to changing stimuli. For example, even if you are engrossed in watching television, you may instinctively be aroused when your baby cries.
B. Working Memory: Interprets, assigns meaning (short-cuts;
C. Short term memory: Temporary storage
1. Limited to + or – 7 bits of info.
2. Limited to 20 seconds
D. Long term memory: Permanent storage (no limits on quantity)
1. Schema: Refers to filing systems for our thoughts.
2. Stimulus cues: Refers to cues that help us retrieve information; can be sight, smell, etc. Smell is the strongest mnemonic device.
IV. Types of Listening
A. Active: Involved. Refers to involved listening with a purpose.
(1) listening carefully with the senses to verbal/nonverbal aspects of a message;
(2) paraphrasing what is heard mentally and perhaps verbally
(3) checking for understanding to ensure its accuracy and
(4) providing feedback.
B. Emphatic: Understanding. Involves listening to understand the
Requires "mindfulness" meaning fully engaged in the moment
C. Enjoyment: Appreciative
Seeking and processing information that is fun and stimulating
D. Critical: Analyze
Challenging the speakers message by evaluating its accuracy,
meaningfulness, and utility
V. Critical Thinking: Two ways to engage in critical thinking are to analyze the situation and the message itself.
A. Analyze speaker, the situation, speaker’s ideas to make critical judgments about message
1. Analyze communication situation
Analyze the context. For example, the "context" of
a commercial is to sell you
2. Analyze message
B. Message Analysis: There are several ways to analyze a message such as examining arguments and proof offered to justify arguments. Analyzing the "proofs" and finally, "deconstruction"
1. Arguments: Propositions (statements trying to prove) &
Ethos: Appeals to the credibility of the source. Refers to how likable and trustworthy the source is perceived to be.
Pathos: Appeals to feelings and emotions.
Logos: Appeals to logic, reasoning
3. Deconstruction: Breaking a message down. Useful for
analyzing media messages such
Identify key points in the message.
Identify the purpose of the source and message.
Look for the implied message.
Examine production techniques such as artwork, etc.
Consider the comparison to reality--in other words, how realistic are the claims of the source/message.
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This page last updated August 21, 2007
Arkansas State University