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Interaction Theory

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Danielle Schmidt

on 2 December 2013

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Transcript of Interaction Theory

Interactional Theory
How do we experience "Interactional Theory?"

Gretchen Wiener in Mean Girls
What is "Interactional Theory?"
Let's Play Mafia!
4 Mafia (ACES):
At night choose TWO member of the townspeople to "kill" each night.
1 Sheriff (JACKS):
Asks the monitor who the Mafia is, TWO member per round during the night.
1 Doctor (QUEEN):
Has the ability to save TWO person during the night round.
Townspeople/Everyone (NUMBERS):
Decide together who to eliminate TWO suspect of being a mafia member during the day.
Dani Schmidt, Stevie Garra, Kaitlin Borel
General Systems Theory
Content Meaning
Relationship Meaning
Dynamic Equilibrium
Key words/terms:
Key People:
1967, Paul Watzlawick, Janet Beavin,
and Don Jackson.

Interactional theory, also known as pragmatic theory, is most concerned with levels of systemic interaction, levels of meaning, power balances, and punctuation.

1st Components of
the Theory
All Parts are Interrelated
If any part of a system is changed, then entire system is changed
Wood uses the example of a baby coming into a family system. The system must change once the baby is there

Systems are Organized Wholes
We must see the whole system to understand it. We will not get a full picture from just looking at one part.
for example: therapists use to try and fix the individual with the family problem before realizing group sessions would be more effective.

The Whole is more than the Sum of its Parts
All systems are subject to change over time and evolve from their original components through interaction.
Openness: is the extent to which a system affects and is affected by factors and processes outside of it.

Systems strive for equilibrium (homeostasis)
Everything changes so homeostasis can never be achieved
For example:
Student's Plan
Communication Systems
Focusing on individuals is misguided. We must consider contexts in which it occurs because those contexts affect communication and what it means.
General systems theory:
Invented by Ludwig von Bertalanffy.
We can't understand group leaders, so-called dysfunctional individuals, or conflict episodes unless we examine them in the contexts of the relationships in which they exist.
Ludwig von Bertalanffy (biologist)
General Systems Theory
Originally thought of context affecting situations

Paul Watzlawick, Janet Beavin, Don Jackson
All wrote “The Pragmatics of Human Communication”
Introduced Interactional Theory

Key Points of Playing Mafia
Special Roles
power shift

Why people are selected
Aubrey in Pitch Perfect
2nd Component:
Levels of meaning
Content Meaning
The first level of meaning
The obvious one: the content of what is said.
Relationship Meaning
Second kind of meaning
which carries information about the relationship between people.
Metacommunications is the communication about communication or commentary on the content level.
Relates to how we are always communicating

3rd Component: Punctuation
Communication flows when all parties agree on punctuation
When they disagree, misunderstanding or conflict may arise.

Interaction theory in writing, we use periods to define where sentences begin and end.
Final Component: Communication Power
The claim that communication establishes and reflects power relationships
SYMMETRICAL: reflects equal power
or COMPLEMENTARY: reflects different levels of power
This is the majority reason of issues in groups
Critical Assessments
Theory is Not Testable
Theory Overemphasizes Power Between Communicators
Theory Ignores Intent
Full transcript