Style of conflict management that may indicate a low concern for self and a high concern for other, is often viewed as passive or submissive, and may result in a lose/win situation.

Action-oriented listeners

Listeners who focus on what action needs to take place in regards to a received message and try to formulate an organized way to initiate that action.

Active listening

The process of pairing outwardly visible positive listening behaviors with positive cognitive listening practices.

active-empathetic listening

A type of listening in which a listener becomes actively and emotionally involved in an interaction in such a way that it is conscious on the part of the listener and perceived by the speaker.

actual self

Self that consists of the attributes that you or someone else believes you actually possess.


Touching behaviors and movements that indicate internal states typically related to arousal or anxiety and may be directed at the self, others, or objects.

Aggressive listening

A bad listening practice in which people pay attention in order to attack something a speaker says.

altruistic lies

Lies told to build the self-esteem of another person, communicate loyalty, or bend the truth to spare someone from hurtful information.

Annoyance swearing

Swearing that provides a sense of relief as people use it to manage stress and tension, which can be a preferred alternative to physical aggression.

Antimiscegenation laws

Laws that made it illegal for people of different racial/ethnic groups to marry.

anxious attachment

Used to describe people with a desire for closeness but anxieties about being abandoned leading to self-doubts and emotional volatility.


Possessions that communicate our identities.

Associative friendships

Solid interpersonal relationships between people who are equals with a shared sense of loyalty and commitment.

assumed similarity

Perceptual tendency to perceive others as similar to us.

avoidant attachment

Used to describe people who report discomfort with closeness and a reluctance to depend on others resulting in a pessimistic view of love and a fear of intimacy.


Style of conflict management that may indicate a low concern for self and other, in which there is no direct communication about the conflict, and may result in a lose/lose situation.

avoiding stage

Relational interaction stage where people signal that they want to close down the lines of communication.


Verbal and nonverbal signals we send while someone is talking, which can consist of verbal cues like “uh-huh,” “oh,” and “right,” and/or nonverbal cues like direct eye contact, head nods, and leaning forward.

bonding stage

Relational interaction stage that includes a public ritual that announces formal commitment.


The sensory route on which a message travels.


The sensory route on which a message travels.


The study of how time affects communication.

circumscribing stage

Relational interaction stage where communication decreases and certain areas or subjects become restricted as individuals verbally close themselves off from each other.


Style of conflict management that shows a high degree of concern for self and other, usually indicates investment in the conflict and/or relationship, and results in a win/win situation.

Collectivistic cultures

Culture that values in-group identity over individual identity and values conformity to social norms of the in-group.

Collegial peers

Peers who engage in self-disclosure about work and personal topics and communicate emotional support.


The process of generating meaning by sending and receiving verbal and nonverbal symbols and signs that are influenced by multiple contexts.

Companionate love

Overall stable and consistent affection felt between two people whose lives are interdependent.


Style of conflict management that indicates a high concern for self and a low concern for other, in which one party attempts to win by gaining concessions or consent from another.



consensual family

A family that is high in both conversation and conformity orientations, encourages open communication, but also maintains a hierarchy that puts parents above children.

constant connectivity

A quality of personal media whereby we are “reachable” nearly all the time, which can be both comforting and anxiety inducing.

Contact cultures

Cultural groups in which people stand closer together, engage in more eye contact, touch more frequently, and speak more loudly.

contaminated messages

Messages that include mixed or misleading expressions.

Critical listening

Listening with the goal of analyzing or evaluating a message.

Cultural context

Aspects of identities such as race, gender, nationality, ethnicity, sexual orientation, class, and ability that influence communication.

dark side of relationships

Includes actions that are deemed unacceptable by society at large and actions that are unproductive for those in the relationship.


The process of turning communication into thoughts.

differentiating stage

Relational interaction stage where communicating differences becomes a primary focus and people reestablish boundaries between themselves.

Discriminative listening

A focused and usually instrumental type of listening that is primarily physiological and occurs mostly at the receiving stage of the listening process.

Display rules

Sociocultural norms that influence emotional expression.

DTR talk

A form of relationship-maintenance communication that defines the relationship between two people—often occurs in the early stages of a relationship to reduce uncertainty about where one stands with the other person.


A bad listening practice that involves a planned attempt to secretly listen to a conversation.


Gestures that have specific agreed-on meanings.

Emotion sharing

Communicating the circumstances, thoughts, and feelings surrounding an emotional event.

Emotional intelligence

The ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them, and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and action.


Physiological, behavioral, and/or communicative reactions to stimuli that are cognitively processed and experienced as emotional.


The process of turning thoughts into communication.

Environmental noise

Physical noise present in a communication encounter.

experimenting stage

Relational interaction stage where people exchange information and often move from strangers to acquaintances.

External attributions

The process of connecting the cause of behaviors to situational factors.

Extradyadic romantic activity (ERA)

Sexual or emotional interaction with someone other than a primary romantic partner.


The projected self we desire to put into the world.

Face negotiation theory

Theory that argues people in all cultures negotiate face through communication encounters, and that cultural factors influence how we engage in facework, especially in conflicts.


Communicative strategies we employ to project, maintain, or repair our face or maintain, repair, or challenge another’s face.


Conclusions based on direct observation or group consensus.

family celebrations

Formal family rituals that have more standardization between families, may be culturally specific, help transmit values and memories through generations, and include rites of passage and religious and secular holiday celebrations.

Family traditions

Formal family rituals that vary widely from family to family and include birthdays, family reunions, and family vacations, among other things.


Messages sent in response to other messages.

Formal time

Applies to professional situations in which we are expected to be on time or even a few minutes early.

Friends with benefits

Relationships that have the closeness of a friendship and the sexual activity of a romantic partnership without the expectations of romantic commitment or labels.


Voluntary interpersonal relationships between two people who are usually equals and who mutually influence one another.

fundamental attribution error

A perceptual error through which we are more likely to explain others’ behaviors using internal rather than external attributions.

halo effect

Perceptual effect that occurs when initial positive perceptions lead us to view later interactions as positive.


The study of communication by touch.

high conversation orientation

People communicate with each other freely and frequently about activities, thoughts, and feelings.

high-context communication

Communication style in which much of the meaning generated within an interaction comes from nonverbal or contextual cues rather than the verbal communication.

horn effect

Perceptual effect that occurs when initial negative perceptions lead us to view later interactions as negative.

ideal self

Self that consists of the attributes that you or someone else would like you to possess.

Identity needs

Needs related to the desire to present ourselves to others and be thought of in particular ways.


The most common type of gesture, used to illustrate the verbal message they accompany.

Immediacy behaviors

Verbal and nonverbal behaviors that lessen real or perceived physical and psychological distance between communicators.

implicit personality theories

An interpretation process that uses previous experience to generalize a person’s overall personality from the limited traits we can perceive.

Individualistic cultures

Culture that emphasizes individual identity over group identity and encourages competition and self-reliance.

inference-observation confusion

A frequent source of miscommunication that involves the misperception of an inference (conclusion based on limited information) as an observation (an observed or agreed-on fact).


Conclusions based on thoughts or speculation, but not direct observation.

Informal time

Applies to casual and interpersonal situations in which there is much more variation in terms of expectations for promptness.

Information peers

Peers who communicate only about work-related topics and have a low level of self-disclosure and trust.

Informational listening

Listening with the goal of comprehending and retaining information.

initiating stage

Relational interaction stage where people size each other up and try to present themselves favorably.

Instrumental needs

Needs that help us get things done in our day-to-day lives and achieve short- and long-term goals.

integrating stage

Relational interaction stage where two people’s identities and personalities merge and a sense of interdependence develops.

integrative learning

An approach that encourages students to reflect on how the content they are learning connects to other classes they have taken or are taking, their professional goals, and their civic responsibilities.

intensifying stage

Relational interaction stage where people indicate that they would like or are open to more intimacy, closeness, or interdependence.

interaction model of communication describes communication

Describes communication as a process in which participants alternate positions as sender and receiver and generate meaning by sending messages and receiving feedback within physical and psychological contexts.

intergenerational communication

Communication between people of different age groups.

Internal attributions

The process of connecting the cause of behaviors to personal aspects such as personality.

Interpersonal communication

Communication between people whose lives mutually influence one another.

interpersonal communication competence

Our ability to communicate effectively and appropriately within our personal relationships.

Interpersonal conflict

Interactions in which there are real or perceived incompatible goals, scare resources, or opposing viewpoints.


The third part of the perception process, in which we assign meaning to our experiences using mental structures known as schemata.

Intimate partner violence (IPV)

Physical, verbal, and emotional violence that occurs between two people who are in or were recently in a romantic relationship.

intimate terrorism (IT)

Violence used by one partner to have general control over the other.

Intrapersonal communication

Communication with oneself using internal vocalization or reflective thinking.


Specialized words used by a certain group or profession.

Johari window

Concept that can be applied to a variety of interpersonal interactions in order to help us understand what parts of ourselves are open, hidden, blind, and unknown.


Expressions of approval or disapproval that are subjective and not verifiable.


Refers to the study of hand, arm, body, and face movements.

laissez-faire family

A family that is low in conversation and conformity orientations, has infrequent and/or short interactions, and doesn’t discuss many topics.


The learned process of receiving, interpreting, recalling, evaluating, and responding to verbal and nonverbal messages.

Listening environment

Characteristics and norms of an organization and its members that contribute to expectations for and perceptions about listening.

Long-term memory

A mental storage capability that can retain stimuli for twenty seconds to one minute.

looking glass self

A concept that explains that we see ourselves reflected in other people’s reactions to us and then form our self-concept based on how we believe other people see us.

low conversation orientation

People do not interact with each other as often and the topics of conversation are more restricted.

low-context communication

Communication style in which much of the meaning generated within an interaction comes from the verbal communication used rather than nonverbal or contextual cues.

matching hypothesis

States that people with similar levels of attractiveness will pair together.

Mental bracketing

The process of pairing outwardly visible positive listening behaviors with positive cognitive listening practices.

mentoring relationship

Relationship in which one person functions as a guide, helping another navigate toward career goals.


The verbal or nonverbal content being conveyed in a communication encounter.


Communication in which one person attributes something to the other using generalizations, usually leading to a defensive response that escalates conflict.


The often subconscious practice of using nonverbal cues that match those of others around us.

mixed messages

Messages in which verbal and nonverbal signals contradict each other.

Mnemonic devices

Techniques that can aid in information recall.


A fixed and precise orientation toward time in which time is seen as a commodity that can be budgeted, saved, spent, and wasted and events are to be scheduled in advance and have set beginning and ending times.

Narcissistic listening

Self-centered and self-absorbed listening in which listeners try to make the interaction about them.


Anything that interferes with a message being sent between participants in a communication encounter.


Cultural groups in which people stand farther apart while talking, make less eye contact, and touch less during regular interactions.

Nonverbal communication

A process of generating meaning using behavior other than words.


The study of eye behaviors as nonverbal communication.


Quick reaction to communication from another person that escalates conflict.


The second part of the perception process, in which we sort and categorize information that we perceive based on innate and learned cognitive patterns.

ought self

Self that consists of the attributes you or someone else believes you should possess.


The vocalized but not verbal part of a spoken message, such as speaking rate, volume, and pitch.


A message that is rephrased in your own words.

Partial messages

Messages that are missing a relevant type of expression and can lead to misunderstanding and conflict.


The senders and/or receivers of messages in a communication encounter.

Passionate love

An emotionally charged engagement between two people that can be both exhilarating and painful.

Patterned family interactions

Frequent family rituals that do not have the degree of formality of traditions or celebrations.

peer coworker relationship

Relationship between two people who have no formal authority over the other and are interdependent in some way.

People-oriented listeners

Listeners who are concerned about the emotional states of others and listen with the purpose of offering support in interpersonal relationships.


The process of selecting, org

Perception checking

A strategy to help us monitor our reactions to and perceptions about people and communication.

personal idioms

Communicative constructs between relational partners, such as nicknames, that create a sense of belonging and have unique meaning for those in the relationship but may not make sense to outsiders.


A person’s general way of thinking, feeling, and behaving based on underlying motivations and impulses.

Phatic communion

Scripted and routine verbal interactions that are intended to establish social bonds rather than actually exchange meaning.

Physical context

The environmental factors in a communication encounter.

Physical needs

Needs that keep our bodies and minds functioning.

Physiological noise

Noise stemming from a physical illness, injury, or bodily stress.

pluralistic family

A family that is high in conversation orientation and low in conformity, encourages open discussion for all family members, and in which parents do not strive to control their children’s or each other’s behaviors or decisions.


A flexible cultural orientation toward time in which relationships are often valued above schedules and scheduling appointments at the same time and being late for or missing appointments may not be a violation of norms.


Negative feelings or attitudes toward people based on their identity or identities.

primacy effect

Perceptual tendency to place more value on the first information we receive about a person.

Primary emotions

Innate emotions that are experienced for short periods of time, appear rapidly, and are expressed similarly across cultures.

Prosocial self-presentation

Strategically exhibiting behaviors that present a person as a role model and make a person more likable and attractive.

protective family

A family that is low in conversation orientation and high in conformity, expects children to be obedient to parents, and does not value open communication.


The study of how space and distance influence communication.

Psychological context

The mental and emotional factors in a communication encounter.

psychological noise

Noise stemming from our psychological states, including moods and level of arousal, that can impede listening.


The structuring of information into a timeline to determine the cause (stimulus) and effect (response) of our communication interactions.

recency effect

Perceptual tendency to place more weight on the most recent impression we have of a person’s communication over earlier impressions.

Receptive friendships

Friendships that include a status differential that makes the relationship asymmetrical.

Reciprocal friendships

Solid interpersonal relationships between people who are equals with a shared sense of loyalty and commitment.

Relational context

The previous interpersonal history and type of relationship we have with a person.

Relational needs

Needs that help us maintain social bonds and interpersonal relationships.

Relationship cultures

The unique climate within a relationship that is established through interpersonal communication adapted from established cultural and social norms.

relationship routines

Communicative acts that create a sense of predictability in a relationship that is often comforting.

relationship schemata

The expectations or blueprints we bring into our interpersonal relationships based on our social and cultural experiences.

response preparation

Our tendency to rehearse what we are going to say next while a speaker is still talking.


The degree to which something attracts our attention in a particular context.


Databases of stored, related information that we use to interpret new experiences.

Secondary emotions

Emotions that develop over time, take longer to fade away, and require higher-order thinking to process.

secure attachment

Used to describe people who are comfortable with intimacy and dependence and have few self-doubts resulting in generally effective emotion management.


The first part of the perception process, in which we focus our attention on certain incoming sensory information.

selective attention

Our tendency to pay attention to the messages that benefit us in some way and filter others out.


The judgments and evaluations we make about our self-concept.


Purposeful disclosure of personal information to another person.

Self-discrepancy theory

Theory that explains that people have beliefs about and expectations for their actual and potential selves that do not always match up with what they actually experience.


The judgments people make about their ability to perform a task within a specific context.

self-enhancement bias

Self-presentation bias that refers to our tendency to emphasize our desirable qualities.


The judgments and evaluations we make about our self-concept.

Self-fulfilling prophecies

Thought and action patterns in which a person’s false belief triggers a behavior that makes the initial false belief actually or seemingly come true.


The process of strategically concealing or revealing personal information in order to influence others’ perceptions.

self-serving bias

A perceptual error through which we overattribute the cause of our successes to internal personal factors while overattributing our failures to external factors beyond our control.

Self-serving self-presentation

Strategically exhibiting behaviors that present a person as highly skilled, willing to challenge others, and someone not to be messed with.

Semantic noise

Noise that occurs in the encoding and decoding process when the participants do not understand a symbol.

serial arguing

A repeated pattern of disagreement over an issue.

Short-term memory

A mental storage capability that can retain stimuli for twenty seconds to one minute.

Situational couple violence (SCV)

Violence provoked by a particular situation that does not involve a quest for control in the relationship.

Social comparison

Theory that states we evaluate ourselves based on how we compare with others.

Social comparison theory

Theory that explains how we describe and evaluate ourselves in terms of how we compare to other people.

Social context

The stated rules or unstated norms that guide communication.

Social exchange theory

Theory that states we weigh the costs and rewards in our relationships.

Social penetration theory

Theory that states we engage in a reciprocal process of self-disclosure that changes in breadth and depth and affects how a relationship progresses.

social swearing

Swearing used conversationally to create social bonds or for impression management (to seem cool or attractive).

Special peers

Peers who have high levels of self-disclosure with relatively few limitations and are highly interdependent in terms of providing emotional and professional support for one another.

stagnating stage

Relational interaction stage where the relationship may come to a standstill, as individuals wait for the relationship to end.


Sets of beliefs that we develop about groups, which we then apply to individuals from that group.

supervisor-subordinate relationship

Relationship based in mentoring, friendship, or romance that includes two people, one of whom has formal authority over the other.

supportive messages

Messages communicated in an open, honest, and nonconfrontational way.

terminating stage

Relational interaction stage where a relationship ends.


An innate drive to take up and defend spaces.

Tie signs

Nonverbal cues that communicate intimacy and signal the connection between two people.

Time-oriented listeners

Listeners who are more concerned about time limits and time lines than they are with the content or senders of a message.

transaction model of communication

Describes communication as a process in which communicators generate social realities within social, relational, and cultural contexts.

transmission model of communication

Describes communication as a linear, one-way process in which a sender intentionally transmits a message to a receiver.

unsupportive messages

Messages that can make others respond defensively, which can lead to feelings of separation and actual separation or dissolution of a relationship.

Verbal expressions

Language that helps us communicate our observations, thoughts, feelings, and needs.

Violent resistance (VR)

Violence that is often a reaction or response to intimate terrorism.


The study of paralanguage, which includes the vocal qualities that go along with verbal messages, such as pitch, volume, rate, vocal quality, and verbal fillers.

Whole messages

Messages that include all the relevant types of expressions needed to most effectively communicate in a given situation, including what you see, what you think, what you feel, and what you need.

Workplace romances

Relationships that involve two coworkers who are emotionally and physically attracted to one another.


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