The Shannon-Weaver Model The Shannon-Weaver model is typical of what are often referred to as transmission models of communication . if you have looked through the examples of typical everyday forms of communication, you will have noticed that some of the examples refer to less immediate methods of communication than face-to-face interaction, e. g. using the radio, newspapers or the telephone. In these cases, technology is introduced.
When, for instance, the telephone is used, you speak, the phone turns the sound waves into electrical impulses and those electrical impulses are turned back into sound waves by the phone at the other end of the line. Shannon and Weaver’s mathematical model of communication is widely accepted as one of the main seeds out of which communication studies have grown. The Shannon-Weaver Model (1947) proposes that all communication must include six elements: • a source • an encoder • a message • a channel a decoder • a receiver These six elements are shown graphically in the model The emphasis here is very much on the transmission and reception of information. ‘Information’ is understood rather differently from the way you and I would normally use the term, as well. This model is often referred to as an ‘information model’ of communication. Apart from its obvious technological bias, a drawback from our point of view is the model’s obvious linearity. It looks at communication as a one-way process.
That is remedied by the addition of the feedback loop, which you can see in the developed version of the model: Shannon-Weaver: The Source All human communication has some source (information source in Shannon’s terminology), some person or group of persons with a given purpose, a reason for engaging in communication. You’ll also find the terms transmitter and communicator used. We have discussed sender in detail in our previous lessons. Shannon-Weaver: The Encoder When you communicate, you have a particular purpose in mind: •
You want to show that you’re a friendly person • You want to give them some information • You want to get them to do something • You want to persuade them of your point of view and so on. You, as the source, have to express your purpose in the form of a message. That message has to be formulated in some kind of code. How do the source’s purposes get translated into a code? This requires an encoder. The communication encoder is responsible for taking the ideas of the source and putting them in code, expressing the source’s purpose in the form of a message.
It’s fairly easy to think in terms of source and encoder when you are talking on the phone (transmitter in Shannon’s terminology). You are the source of the message and the ‘phone is the encoder which does the job of turning your sounds into electrical impulses. The distinction is not quite so obvious when you think of yourself communicating face-to-face. In person-to-person communication, the encoding process is performed by the motor skills of the source – vocal mechanisms (lip and tongue movements, the vocal cords, the lungs, face muscles etc. , muscles in the hand and so on. Some people’s encoding systems are not as efficient as others’. So, for example, a disabled person might not be able to control movement of their limbs and so find it difficult to encode the intended non-verbal messages or they may communicate unintended messages. A person who has suffered throat cancer may have had their vocal cords removed. They can encode their messages verbally using an artificial aid, but much of the non-verbal messages most of us send via pitch, intonation, volume and so on cannot be encoded.
Shannon was not particularly concerned with the communication of meanings. The inclusion of the encoding and decoding processes is very helpful to us since it draws our attention to the possibility of a mismatch between the operation of the encoding and decoding devices, which can cause semantic noise to be set up. With good reason, the source of the message may wonder whether the picture in the receiver’s head will bear any resemblance to what’s in his/her own. Shannon-Weaver: The Message The message of course is what communication is all about.
Whatever is communicated is the message The Shannon-Weaver Model, in common with many others separates the message from other components of the process of communication. In reality, though, you can only reasonably examine the message within the context of all the other interlinked elements. Whenever we are in contact with other people we and they are involved in sending and receiving messages. The crucial question for Communication Studies is: to what extent does the message received correspond to the message transmitted?
That’s where all the other factors in the communication process come into play. The Shannon-Weaver model and others like it tends to portray the message as a relatively uncomplicated matter. Frequently the messages have meaning that is they refer to or are correlated according to some system with certain physical or conceptual entities. These considerations are irrelevant to the engineering problem. It may however be a criticism of the application of Shannon’s model to the more general area of human-to-human communication.
Meanings are assumed to be somehow contained within the signs used in the message and the receiver can, as it were, take them out again. Matters such as the social context in which the message is transmitted, the assumptions made by source and receiver, their past experiences and so on are simply disregarded. In this respect, models, which incorporate such factors, are probably more revealing of the complexity of the communication process. Shannon-Weaver: The Channel The words channel and medium are often used interchangeably, if slightly inaccurately.
The choice (a pretty stupid one above) of the appropriate channel is a vitally important choice in communication. It’s obvious that you don’t use the visual channel to communicate with the blind or the auditory channel with the deaf, but there are more subtle considerations to be taken into account as well Shannon-Weaver: Physical noise Shannon is generally considered to have been primarily concerned with physical (or ‘mechanical’ or ‘engineering’) noise in the channel, i. e. unexplained variation in a communication channel or random error in the transmission of information.
An example of physical noise is a loud motorbike roaring down the road while you’re trying to hold a conversation However, it is possible for a message to be distorted by channel overload. Channel overload is not due to any noise source, but rather to the channel capacity being exceeded. You may come across that at a party where you are holding a conversation amidst lots of others going on around you or, perhaps, in a Communication lesson where everyone has split into small groups for discussion or simulations.
Shannon and Weaver were primarily involved with the investigation of technological communication. Their model is perhaps more accurately referred to as a model of information theory (rather than communication theory). Consequently, their main concern was with the kind of physical (or mechanical) noise discussed above. Shannon-Weaver: The Decoder Just as a source needs an encoder to translate her purposes into a message, so the receiver needs a decoder to retranslate. The decoder (receiver in Shannon’s paper) is an interesting and very useful development over, say, the Lasswell Formula.
If you take a look at our discussion of the receiver, you’ll see that we considered how, for example, a blind person would not have the equipment to receive whatever non-verbal messages you send in the visual channel. The notion of a decoder reminds us that it is quite possible for a person to have all the equipment required to receive the messages you send (all five senses, any necessary technology and so on) and yet be unable to decode your messages. Shannon-Weaver: The Receiver For communication to occur , there must be somebody at the other end of the channel. This person or persons can be called the receiver.
To put it in Shannon’s terms, information transmitters and receivers must be similar systems. If they are not, communication cannot occur. What that probably meant as far as he was concerned was that you need a telephone at one end and a telephone at the other, not a telephone connected to a radio. In rather more obviously human terms, the receiver needs to have the equipment to receive the message. A totally blind person has the mental equipment to decode your gestures, but no system for receiving messages in the visual channel. So, your non-verbal messages are not received and you’re wasting your energy.
HOW ROCK BANDS USE THIS MODEL TO CONVEY THEIR MESSAGE TO THE MASSES From the preceding discussion we can see that many of the rock bands use Shannon and Weaver approach to spread their messages to the public through their songs. Now, let’s consider an example in which a rock concert is going on and a large crowd has gathered to see their performance. So, now looking this case in context with the above discussed model we will see that: 1. SOURCE : Now in this case the source will be the members of the band who are going to give the performance, each member of the band will be considered as a unique source. . MESSAGE : So now we see that every rock band has its own ideology which they all want to spread to the society with the help of their music. Like Guns N’ Roses spread the idea on ill effects of war So in this manner they are spreading their ideas and we can term these ideas of their as ‘MESSAGE’ Eg : ‘I don’t need your civil war,you feed the rich and bury the poor….. ’ These lines from the GNR have clear message of stopping the war. 3. TRANSMITTER : Now in this case the music itself is serving the purpose of transmitter as it is transmitting the message in the form of music note.
Instead if we were watching the video or were listening to them on the radio then in that case the radio and T. V. would also have been considered as the transmitting medium. 4. Receiver: Now receiver here refers to all the audiences who are listening to them and also they are the one for whom the message was coded by the sender/source. 5. Decoder: Now the receiver will decode the message which is transmitted to them. Here in this case decoder will be their ears and brain which will do analysis of the song and will bring out the message feed in the song. . Noise : It is an important feature of this model. Now in this case noise refers to the noise of the nearby people whose noise is mixing with the music and is not enabling an individual to listen properly. Also if anyone is listening to them on radio then the disturbances in the radio also account for the noise. Also someone can also term the background music as noise if it is too loud and is making it difficult to hear the vocalist SHANNON AND WEAVER MODEL AND ITS APPLICATION IN ROCK CONCERTS Submitted by: Ashish Nirmal P2008 ME 1108