EXCURSUS: How we "process" communication of all kinds

  1. The issue under discussion is NOT what we do with the content AFTER processing it, but what factors play in our 'getting' the message into our heads. (One can readily anticipate that the will plays a LARGE part in whether we accept the content of some communication, but it also plays an important part in actually 'getting the message in'
  2. One major ground-point: our FIRST experiences of putting together messages is in a Personal context (Mom!)...when a baby looks out at these things called 'faces' in those first few days, they immediately organize the data around persons...this notion of person is built-in and forms the learning paradigm for the rest of life...

    We are 'built' for communication, esp. with people. Consider this data from TCELThe Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language (p. 238):
    Very young babies present an extraordinary range of auditory abilities. There have been several experiments in which different sounds are played to babies, and their responses monitored. For example, day-old babies have been played their mother's voice speaking normally, the same voice speaking abnormally (in a monotone), and a stranger's voice: only the first caused them to attend. Other studies have shown how babies turn their heads towards the source of a sound within the first few days of life, and prefer human voices to non-human sounds as early as 2 weeks.
    We bring this personal context to seemingly everything we do--we personify everything from Mother Nature to Lady Justice to Father Time to 'those stubborn bosons!'...If we see a chaotic stretch of debris, we assume vandals or passersby or maybe natural forces (like hurricane Camille!)
  3. Bottom-up vs. Top-down perception:
  4. "Attention" - we filter out others in favor of one 'thread' of signal, such as paying attention to only one dinner party conversation...we ignore the other data (unless it reaches emergency status, of course)
  5. Context
  6. We interact with text and context in a dialogical model
  7. One key type of pattern is that of 'personal'
  8. Using the personal context for interpretation

    (For more interesting information and 'fun' visuals on the pattern/Gestalt issues in pattern recognition, see the selections on psychology and cognition in Books)

    The Christian ThinkTank...[http://www.Christian-thinktank.com] (Reference Abbreviations)