COMMUNICATION IMPACT: A CONCEPTUAL MODEL ANALYSIS OF INDIVIDUAL PREDISPOSITIONS AND THE ANALYSIS OF THE IMPACT OF A COUNTY CIVIL DEFENSE EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM.
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IOWA STATE UNIV AMES DEPT OF SOCIOLOGY AND ANTHROPOLOGY
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The study deals with communication at three levels. The first level involves the development of a generalized model of the process by which communication achieves impact. The second level is the operationalization of the impact model. The third level is testing the degree to which the model predicts the response of members of the potential audience to a specific communication event. The communication impact model developed in this study takes the intent and content of the communication message as given and then proceeds to examine the responses which the total potential audience makes. A basic notion included in the model is that in receiving and responding to a message, the receiver must perform several functions. These functions can be logically integrated into a flow of action, the stages of action representing a series of communication filters. Three major filter stages are delineated attention, comprehension and acceptance. The attention filter stage has four sub-stages awareness, attend decision, differential exposure and secondary contact. The acceptance stage has two sub-stages attitudinal acceptance and overt action. Another basic notion included in the model is that the response of a receiver at any given filter stage is not random. Rather the receiver is predisposed--through his previous experience, through what he perceives to be his interest--to react to a given message in a predictable manner. The communication event analyzed is the Midwest County Civil Defense Exhibit. The findings of this analysis strongly support the notions included in the impact model. Implications of these findings for civil defense communications are drawn from the findings. Author
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