Communication and Media Studies 440

COMS 440: Listening and Nonverbal Communication

Prerequisites: COMS 130 and COMS 230 or permission of instructor

Credit Hours: (3)

Emphasis on theoretical and practical considerations of human awareness and attention, perception and reception of auditory, visual and non-verbal codifications; processing, reception and representation of the spoken word (psycholinguistics), image formation and visualization, as well as other semiotic processes such as kinesics, proxemics, paralinguistics, haptics, chronemics, etc. Explores audience reception in personal as well as mediated contexts in terms of recent developments in brain/mind research and theory.


Detailed Description of Content of Course

In the first half students study the nature of sound and silence, anatomy and physiology of hearing, speech and brain mechanisms, auditory imagery and interpretation, inner speech and intrapersonal communication as well as a variety of kinds of listening in various contexts. At the beginning of the course students are administered two standardized listening texts. By mid-term students have completed an in-depth analysis of their own listening behaviors, habits, and attitudes.

In the second half of the course, students study a wide variety of non-verbal processes. Concepts of semiosis and semiotics as well as symbolic representation are studied. By the end of the course students have completed an in-depth analysis of their own nonverbal behaviors, habits, and attitudes.


Detailed Description of the Conduct of Course

Lectures are presented. Discussions and question-answer periods take place. Exercises and demonstrations are conducted. Student reports are given. Students are encouraged to do a large number of out-of-class experiments with verbal and nonverbal communication.


Goals and Objectives of the Course

1. To have students acquire concepts of listening and nonverbal communication;
2. To have students become more aware of their own listening and nonverbal behavior as well as that of others.


Assessment Measures

Students are tested for their acquisition of basic concepts in terms of their classroom reports on course content. They are assessed for concept acquisition and self-awareness in two detailed self-analysis papers. Listening comprehension is assessed. Tests for content are administered. Graduate students do an extra content report and write a course paper.


Other Course Information



Review and Approval

Bill Kennan, Chair September 2001