Monday, July 16, 2012

A look at processing of communication

Since the primary function of language is to facilitate communication I wanted to look at the fundamentals of communication.
These are a collection of my notes that serve as background for me on other ideas:

A look at the processing of communication:

Communication is defined as:  is the exchange of thoughts, messages, or information, as by speech, visuals, signals, writing, or behavior. 

As with any system there are some inputs, a process and an output.
What makes human communication so complex is the ability for many concurrent channels to be opened at once. (It's this simultaneous processing and transmission of information that happens real-time that always fascinates me how wonderfully efficient the human design is. )

For simplicity sake we are going to focus on the person and assume all of this person's communication is received perfectly by the "outside" world bubble (we all know that isn't the case, but for the purposes of this, I want to narrow our focus).

Within the person, a look at the process segment:

First, I'd like to look at Resources.
Very similar to a computer, resources in this case is memory. 
I assert that the the process of increasing resources permanently is called = learning. 

Very simplistically I am going to assert that Resources for communication depends on : it's how efficiently the person can access their memory and what contents are present. 
(This is a very complex process and there are countless of research papers on the mechanics, but this will not be covered here). 

Inside of the resources is a memory process. 
Taking some input externally (or internally) the thought moves through short term memory into long term memory.  It's the growing of long term memory that = increasing resources= the learning process. 
This is very simplistic way of looking at how memory is processed, but the relationship between long term and short term memory needs to be kept in mind when discussing learning. 
Not depicted on that chart is how the brain removes information or forgets. 
If any part of this memory recall, processing, learning and filtering is broken -- the person will be considered to have a disability. 

There is a great deal of research on the causes of different disabilities and what part of the brain's information shuttling is off- e.g. bypassing short term memory and into long term is found as a symptom of autism. A weak link between short term and long term memory (the consolidation and categorization process) is what causes ADD. 

Next is a look at the input.
Inputs come from either internally actioned or externally. 
This is where our five senses come in. Our senses are the external input receptors we need to take data from the outside world. 
Once that data is received then the memory process can process it. 
The remarkable thing about the inputs is that unlike resource/memory problems, input problems can either be compensated through other senses or even replaced. 
It's very seldom that we only take in information through one sensor and often times it's the combination of all of the senses that delivers the most complete data transmission. The input can happen consciously or subconsciously. In the case of reading= conscious. In the case of sizing up a new person, most of the judgement occurs subconsciously with the result a "feeling" about that person. 
A little bit different is the internal inputs. 
I put emotions separately from memory. However these are inputs that happen either as feedback or pre-set conditions that go into the communications process. e.g. has a stomach ache and has a feeling of unease.

I wanted to cover the outputs before touching on the process.
The output are the results that are expected or happening during the communication. 
I view the outputs as the actions that happen as a result of receiving information. 
Either an action will be generated that can be viewed by the outside world or there actions that are generated internally that are not part of the outside world and may instead be an iteration of the process.

It's in the output that we see the differences between stylistic approaches.
Example: The difference amount of external versus internal communication is what makes the difference between introverts and extroverts. 

Now a look at the process. 

The chart is just an example of the decision that is being made for the particular input. 
The branched logic is something that our brains can process concurrently with multiple threads. 
Each step of the logic requires the information to be processed, matched against recalled information, compared, categorized then decision to either move to the next step or disregard. 

It's the combination of how many of these processes you have access to versus the ones you have to create from scratch that determines how quickly you communicate. 
It's the success of these processes that determines if you are likely to use the same method again.
Success= reinforcement = more likely to commit that particular process to memory. 

Once in memory, then the next factor is how quickly and accurately you can recall the information. 
(back to the resources section above). 

Many of these processes happen in our subconscious and only if we wish to defy the result we would need to modify the process.
The closer to the subconscious a process is, the faster the process happens = the less opportunity you have to modify the result. 

Since communication is the mechanism which information is received and transmitted-- then communication plays a large role in the learning process of an individual. 

The next step is to evaluate the communication mechanisms, in particular the use of language. 
Since communication is the process which information is acquired then the mechanism which communication occurs would be through language.

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