The transmissive model of communication is a model which reduces communication to a process of “transmitting information”. It is the best-known example of the “informational” approach to communication.
Chandler in his text describes the model of communication developed by Shannon and Weaver (1949). The model consists of five elements:
- an information source (produces a message)
- a transmitter ( encodes the message into signals)
- a channel (to which signals are adapted for transmission)
- a receiver (which reconstructs) the message from the signal.
- a destination (where the message arrives)
Noise is a dysfunctional factor (any interference with the message travelling along the channel). My mouth is the transmitter, the signal is the sound waves, and you ear is the receiver.
There are three levels of problems of communication:
- the technical problem: how accurately can the message be transmitted
- the semantic problem: how precisely is the meaning “covered”
- the effectiveness problem: how effectively does the received meaning affects behaviour
Advantages of Shannon and Weaver’s model: simplicity, generality, quantiability.
Disadvantage is that the model is linear, one way model, ascribing a secondary role to the “receiver”, who is seen as absorbing information. Same critics argue that the model improves a communicator’s ability to manipulate a receiver.
This model is based on the human desire to increase the speed and effect of messages as they travel in space. (James Carey)
Alternatives to transmissive models of communication are normally described as constructivist. Such perspectives acknowledge that meaning are actively constructed by moth initiators and interpreters rather than simply “transmmitted”.
Perfectly transparent communication is impossible
The “same” text can be interpreted quite differently within different contexts.