Important processes in cognitive theories of communication.
Constructivism: The cognitive processes that precede communication are the focus of constructivist theory. It is important to understand the influence human perception plays in the skillful production and interpretation of socially influential messages. Theory argues that human cognitive systems can be defined as construct systems; cognitive complexity, varying construct domains, levels of construct differentiation and the interpersonal construct system which are the overarching domains of construct systems. While people make sense of the world through constructs serving as the basic building blocks of cognitive organization they can also be joined by interpretive schemes. The joining and connecting of constructs aligns with Werner’s orthogenetic principle that holds cognitive systems as following a developmental trajectory.
Related theory of message design logics: O’Keefe (1988) poses three types of message design logic (expressive, conventional and rhetorical) that individuals use to deal with conflicting goals. Expressive design logic shows the view of communication being a straightforward cognitive process of encoding thoughts and feelings; these messages are literal and direct. The view that interaction is cooperative and undertaken according to rules, conventions and procedures is the process of conventional design logic. While the view that communications purpose is to structure and create reality is the rhetorical design logic. In RDL communication serves to define the situation in a manner that facilitates the meeting of multiple face goals.
Action assembly theory: The connection between cognition and behavior is examined by action assembly theory. More specifically the process looks at the retrieval of an individual’s procedural record from long term memory and the manner in which that record is connected to the nodes that it is composed of and how those nodes and their organization help to form an output or action by the individual. The nodes held in each record hold procedural information about action, outcomes and situations and the individual recalls these and activates them as they encounter situations, which match them.
Theories of plans and goals: Dillard’s development of primary and secondary goals serves to better understand the communication interaction between individuals and to identify what a person is trying to accomplish in the interaction. The very process of cognition is linked to message production when considering goals and directives, bearing this in mind we merge the planning process into the development of our goals as they are the destination of communicative interaction.