Traditions of Communication Theory

“Theories in the phenomenological tradition assume that people actively interpret what happens around them and come to understand the world by personal experience with it,” (Littlejohn & Foss, 2011, p. 47). Phenomenology as a tradition makes the most sense to me. However, I’ m intrigued by the sociopsychological tradition too. The sociopsychological tradition studies the individual as a social being, “The theories of this tradition focus on individual behavior, psychological variables, individual effects, personalities, and traits, perception, and cognition,” (Littlejohn& Foss, 2011, p. 52).  Both traditions are easy to understand because one focuses on personal experience, and the other looks at the individual and how one responds as a result of their personal experience.

Both traditions can be applied to the phenomenon of sons growing up without their mothers or daughters growing up without their fathers. Think about it—the first relationship a male has with a woman is his mother, and the first relationship a female has with a man is her father.  What if the parent is absent? Can an absent parent impact a child’s development and scar them emotionally? Absolutely! Because the individual didn’t have an example of the “ideal” mother or father growing up, it could be difficult for to communicate/interact with the opposite sex. One could end up in a hermeneutic circle—replaying or re-experiencing the same situation(s) while constantly analyzing the details.

How can someone develop a healthy relationship with a person from the opposite sex with mommy or daddy issues? The sociopsychological tradition acknowledges, “…the power that individuals can have over other individuals and the effects of information on the human mind,” (Littlejohn & Foss, 2011, p. 53). The healing process begins when an individual forgives their estranged parent. Forgiveness is necessary in order to break the hermeneutic circle.


Littlejohn, Stephen W. & Karen A. Foss. (2011). Theories of Human Communication (10th ed.). Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press. (ISBN-13:978-1577667063).

~Miss. Monét


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