Unit 2



I. Revising the theory

Exercise 1. Dwell on the factors influencing the way we perceive the incoming information.

Exercise 2. Match the schemata and their definitions.

  • Person prototypes
  • Personal constructs
  • Scripts
  • tell us what comes next in a sequence of actions. When we experience a situation repeatedly, we abstract its essential features and identify the order in which things happen.
  • are idealized representations of certain kinds of people. They are used to identify and classify people.
  • are the characteristics that we habitually notice in others. These specific descriptors answer the question “What is (s)he like?” They are part of the mental apparatus of the observer and, like other schemata, they can be either helpful or inaccurate.

II. Practicing

Exercise 1. How do person prototypes, personal constructs and scripts affect communication? Can you think of real-life situations when your sense of judgment was clouded by inaccurate schemata or when mindless processing put you at a disadvantage?

Exercise 2. Provide at least two examples from literature/movies etc. to prove that message decoding is highly subjective.

Exercise 3. Analyze the schemata that guide communication in the following situations.

1. Lawyer asks if the glass from broken headlights was on the ground after a wreck that you witnessed. You might answer “Yes”, even though you didn’t actually see the glass on the ground.

2. There are more grandmothers alive today than at any other time in the history of the world. However, today’s grandmothers don’t look like grandmothers. They look like women. And that is what is so confusing. My grandmothers were the real grandmothers. They did not know from gyms, exercise, or second marriage. Also they did not know from gorgeous. But in the last half of the twentieth century grandmas have been on the move.

3. – Oh Lucy, Mark is so dreamy! – Don’t let him fool you. He is good at making people like him.

4. Day in, day out. It was all the same. She had it all memorized by minutes. At 7.22 the train will arrive. At 7.36 she will get off on Penley Station. At 7.39 she will buy a hot chocolate on the corner of West Street and 9th. No digressions, nothing to disrupt her perfect routine.

III. Applying the model

Exercise. Carry out an experiment: choose five fictional characters that you like and five that you dislike and write down adjectives to describe them. The prevailing characteristics will be your personal constructs. Are they varied? Do you pay more attention to physical properties of psychological characteristics? What do the adjectives tell you about the way you evaluate others? Is it fair or unfair?