UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Personality predictors of communication skills Schwartzentruber, Alison Mary 1976

Your browser doesn't seem to have a PDF viewer, please download the PDF to view this item.

Item Metadata

Download

Media
831-UBC_1976_A1 S39.pdf [ 32.1MB ]
Metadata
JSON: 831-1.0093790.json
JSON-LD: 831-1.0093790-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): 831-1.0093790-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: 831-1.0093790-rdf.json
Turtle: 831-1.0093790-turtle.txt
N-Triples: 831-1.0093790-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: 831-1.0093790-source.json
Full Text
831-1.0093790-fulltext.txt
Citation
831-1.0093790.ris

Full Text

PERSONALITY PREDICTORS OF COMMUNICATION SKILLS by ALISON SCHWARTZENTRUBER B.A., University of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1961 M.A., University of Delhi, I963 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY i n THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES Department of Psychology We accept t h i s thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA February, 1976 Copyright, Alison Schwartzentruber In presenting th is thesis in par t ia l fu l f i lment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that the Library shal l make i t f reely avai lable for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of th is thesis for scholar ly purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by his representatives. It is understood that copying or publ icat ion of th is thesis for f inanc ia l gain shal l not be allowed without my writ ten pe rm i ss i on . Alison Schwartzentruber Department of Psychology The University of B r i t i s h Columbia 2075 Wesbrook Place Vancouver, Canada V6T 1W5 Date March 1976 i i ABSTRACT The objectives of t h i s exploratory study were (1) to investigate various methods f o r assessing adult communication s k i l l s , and to attempt to develop adequate measures i n t h i s area; (2) to discover personality t r a i t s which predicted i n d i v i d u a l differences i n communication s k i l l s ; and (3) to test a number of hypotheses from cognitive-developmental theory regarding the antecedents of communication s k i l l s . Past measurement of communication e f f i c i e n c y and s k i l l s was reviewed, and the lack of r e l i a b i l i t y and v a l i d i t y estimates f o r most available adult measures was noted. Two measures of communication s k i l l s with adequate s p l i t - h a l f r e l i a b i l i t y were developed. The Password technique yielded encoding and decoding scores f o r each subject, and the peer r a t i n g technique when fact o r analyzed yielded encoding and decoding s k i l l f a c t o r s , encoding and decoding frequency f a c t o r s , and two s i t u a t i o n a l f a c t o r s . Although each measurement technique yielded scores l a b e l l e d "Encoding" and "Decoding", the two techniques, were poorly correlated with one another, i n d i c a t i n g that they did not f o r the most part measure the same thing. Within each measurement technique, the Encoding and Decoding scores were s u f f i c i e n t l y correlated with one another to suggest a f a i r amount of common variance. Multiple regression analyses were conducted with a number of personality measures, using the Password and Rating encoding and decoding scores as dependent variables. A l l four major communication s k i l l scores could be predicted at highly s i g n i f i c a n t l e v e l s from personality vari a b l e s . Pers-onality measures used as independent variables included the C a l i f o r n i a Psychological Inventory, the Myers-Briggs Type Inventory, and various measures of cognitive structure, empathy, and person- and thing-orientation. A measure of combined word and ide a t i o n a l fluency was found to be a good predictor of both Rating and Password comm-unication scores. Both good Password performance and high Rating communication scores were also predicted by a moderate l e v e l of interpersonal emotional responsiveness. Since the personality factor and scales measuring t h i s variable showed s i g n i f i c a n t sex differences, with females achieving higher scores, the best communicators were r e l a t i v e l y high-scoring males and r e l a t i v e l y low-scoring females. The factor which d i f f e r e n t i a t e d those subjects with t h e i r primary preference and s k i l l directed toward encoding from those with t h e i r primary preference and s k i l l directed toward decoding was Extraversion-Introversion, extraversion being necessary f o r encoding s k i l l but not for decoding s k i l l . This applied to Rating communication scores and to same-sex Password communication scores. Password communication scores were s i g n i f i c a n t l y higher i n same-sex groups than i n mixed groups. This difference was explained i n terms of greater emotional arousal and stress i n the mixed groups. The predictors of communication scores i x were consequently somewhat d i f f e r e n t i n same-sex groups from those i n mixed groups. I n a d d i t i o n t o those v a r i a b l e s a l r e a d y mentioned, communication s k i l l (encoding and decoding) as measured by the R a t i n g task was a f u n c t i o n o f high s c o r e s on v a r i o u s p e r s o n a l i t y t r a i t s a s s o c i a t e d with i n t e l l e c t u a l a b i l i t y , c o g n i t i v e d e c e n t e r i n g (although measures o f t h i s were i n a d -equate), CPI Dominance, CPI R e s p o n s i b i l i t y , and c l a s s i c a l Jungian (Myers-Briggs) i n t r o v e r s i o n , as w e l l as r e l a t i v e b e h a v i o r a l r i g i d i t y . C o o peration, s e l f - d i s c i p l i n e , and mental h e a l t h were c h a r a c t e r i s t i c o f s u c c e s s f u l Password communicators. I n the s t r e s s f u l c r o s s - s e x Password communication s i t u a t i o n , i n t e l l -e c t u a l f l e x i b i l i t y and a r e l a t i v e l y low l e v e l o f a r o u s a l o r emotional r e s p o n s i v e n e s s were a s s o c i a t e d w i t h good Password performance. Male s u b j e c t s succeeded a t Password i f behav-i o r a l l y r i g i d , females i f b e h a v i o r a l l y f l e x i b l e o r accommod-a t i n g . A model o f communication p r o c e s s e s i n r e l a t i o n to c o g n i t i v e developmental l e v e l of a d u l t communicators was presented, and the f i n d i n g s of the study were i n t e r p r e t e d i n terms o f t h i s model. P a r t i c u l a r a t t e n t i o n was g i v e n to the d i f f e r e n c e between s t r e s s and non-stress communication, and to the r i g i d i t y - f l e x i b i l i t y - l a b i l i t y dimension of c o g n i t i v e s t r u c t u r e . The q u e s t i o n o f s i t u a t i o n v e r s u s t r a i t v a r i a n c e i n sex d i f f e r e n c e s was a l s o d i s c u s s e d . V TABLE OF CONTENTS Page LIST OF TABLES x v i LIST OF FIGURES x v i i i Chapter 1. INTRODUCTION . 1 GENERAL HYPOTHESES 4 OUTLINE OF THIS DISSERTATION 5 2. LITERATURE REVIEW, THEORY BASE, AND HYPOTHESES . 7 THEORY REGARDING ENCODING AND DECODING . . . . 7 Rosenberg's Model 7 THEORY REGARDING COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT AND COMMUNICATION 9 Cognitive Egocentrism 11 Piaget 11 F l a v e l l 13 Mehrabian 15 Centering and Decentering 15 Piaget 15 F e f f e r 17 Mehrabian 19 A s s i m i l a t i o n and Accommodation 20 Piaget 20 Mehrabian 20 Disengagement 22 Mehrabian 22 v i Chapter Page Awareness 22 Mehrabian 22 A MODEL OF COMMUNICATION PROCESSES 23 COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENTAL LEVAL AND COMMUNICATION 25 PREDICTORS OF COMMUNICATION SKILLS 28 Cognitive Egocentrism versus O b j e c t i v i t y . . . 28 Cognitive Centering versus Decentering . . . . 29 Assimilation and Accommodation 29 Emotionality 3° Indirect Predictors of Communication S k i l l s . 32 I n t e l l e c t u a l A b i l i t i e s 32 Person-Orientation Measures 33 Empathy 34 Psychopathology . . . . . . . . 35 SUMMARY OF PREDICTIONS 36 3. MEASUREMENT OF COMMUNICATION EFFICIENCY, COMMUNICATION SKILLS, AND THEIR CORRELATES . . . . 38 PAST MEASUREMENT OF COMMUNICATION EFFICIENCY .. 38 MEASURES OF COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT FOR ADULTS .. 41 Cognitive Complexity 41 Fef f e r ' s Role-Taking Task 42 Mehrabian's Measures of Cognitive Structure . 43 RESEARCH ON THE EMPIRICAL CORRELATES OF COMMUNICATION SKILLS 44 STRATEGY OF MEASUREMENT FOR THE PRESENT STUDY . 46 PILOT STUDIES 46 P i l o t Study #1 46 v i i Chapter Page Pilot Study #2 , 47 Pilot Study #3 ...... . 48 ASSESSMENT OF COMMUNICATION MEASURES USED IN THE PRESENT STUDY 49 4. DATA COLLECTION 51 SUBJECTS 51 PASSWORD COMMUNICATION TASK . . . . 52 Procedure 53 RATING COMMUNICATION TASK 56 PERSONALITY QUESTIONNAIRES 59 Mehrabian's Measures of Cognitive Structure 59 Mehrabian & Epstein 1s Measure of Emotional Empathy 59 Hogan's Empathy Scale 60 Person- and Thing-Orientation Scales . . . . 60 Shipley-Hartford Vocabulary Scale 60 California Psychological Inventory 61 Myers-Briggs Type Inventory 61 Background Questionnaire « 61 Fluency Measure 61 ADMINISTRATION PROCEDURE 64 PASSWORD SCORING 64 RATING SCORING 65 QUESTIONNAIRE SCORING 65 5. PRELIMINARY ANALYSES OF INDEPENDENT VARIABLES . 68 REMOVAL OF SEX DIFFERENCES FOR FACTOR ANALYSIS 68 FACTOR ANALYSES 69 PERSONALITY FACTORS . 72 v i i i Chapter Page Factor I : Morality . . 76 Factor I I : Extraversion 76 Factor I I I : Enthusiasm 77 Factor IV : Intellect-Adjustment . . . ... . 78 Factor V : Emotional Empathy 78 Factor VI : Conformity 79 Factor VII : Intellect-Leadership 79 Factor VIII : Centering 80 Factor IX : I n a b i l i t y to Disengage . . . . 80 Factor X : Stimulus-Seeking 81 SEX DIFFERENCES IN INDEPENDENT VARIABLES . . . 82 Personality Factors 82 Personality Scales . . . 82 DEMOGRAPHIC VARIABLES . . . . . 87 SUMMARY OF INDEPENDENT VARIABLES . . . . . . . 91 6. PRELIMINARY ANALYSES OF DEPENDENT VARIABLES . . 92 RATINGS . 92 Removal of Raters 1 Errors 92 Sex Differences i n Rating Scores 93 Comparison of Complete and Incomplete Subjects 96 Removal of Extraneous Influences on Rating Scores 96 Factor Analyses of Ratings 98 Fourteen r e s i d u a l scales 98 Fourteen r a t i n g scales 99 Twelve residual scales 99 Choice of Factor Set 100 i x Chapter . : Page Discussion of Rating Factors 102 Sex Differences i n Rating Factors 107 Completion Differences i n Rating Factors . . 110 Rated Communication S k i l l s and Popularity within Sex Groups . I l l Selection of Dependent Variables f o r Regression Analyses 114 PASSWORD 114 Comparison of Sex Groups 114 Comparison of Complete and Incomplete Subjects 115 T o t a l Password Communication Score 115 S i t u a t i o n a l Factors A f f e c t i n g Password Scores 118 RELATIONSHIP OF PASSWORD AND RATING SCORES . . 121 SUMMARY OF DEPENDENT VARIABLES 128 7. PREDICTION OF RATING COMMUNICATION SCORES . . . 129 REGRESSION ANALYSES 129 Prediction from Personality Scales . . . . . 129 Prediction from Personality Factors . . . . 130 Prediction from Demographic Variables . . . 134 Adequacy of Prediction 134 PERSONALITY FACTOR PREDICTORS 135 Factor VII : Intellect-Leadership 135 Factor X : Stimulus-Seeking 137 Factor IV : Intellect-Adjustment 139 Factor VIII : Centering 140 Factor I I I : Enthusiasm 142 Factor I I : Extraversion 143 X Chapter Page Factor VI : Conformity 144 Factor I : Morality . 145 Factors V and IX : Emotional Empathy and Inability to Disengage 145 Summary 148 PERSONALITY SCALE PREDICTORS 149 CPI Dominance 149 Myers-Briggs Extraversion-Introversion . . 149 CPI Person-Orientation 151 CAB Fluency 151 Confounding of Thought by Feelings . . . . 152 T-P Thing-Orientation 153 CPI Communality 154 CPI Responsibility and Achievement via Conformance . . 155 Novelty-Seeking . 156 Summary 156 PREDICTION FROM DEMOGRAPHIC VARIABLES . . . . 157 8. PREDICTION OF PASSWORD COMMUNICATION SCORES . . 158 REGRESSION ANALYSES 158 PERSONALITY FACTOR PREDICTORS i 165 Factor I : Morality 165 Factor II : Extraversion 168 Factor IV : Intellect-Adjustment 169 Factor X : Stimulus-Seeking 170 Factor V : Emotional Empathy 172 Factor IX : Inability to Disengage . . . . 173 Factor III : Enthusiasm 175 x i Chapter Page Factor VI : Conformity 175 Factor VII : Intellect-Leadership . . . . 176 Factor VIII : Centering 176 Summary,of Personality Factor Predictors . 176 PERSONALITY SCALE PREDICTORS . . 178 Value Scales . . . 178 Extraversion Scales 181 R i g i d i t y - F l e x i b i l i t y - L a b i l i t y 182 Emotionality Scales 1#3 I n t e l l e c t u a l and Cognitive Scales 185 PREDICTION FROM DEMOGRAPHIC VARIABLES... . . . 187 SUMMARY OF RESULTS BY GROUPS 190 9. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS 191 A BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE FINDINGS 191 General Findings . 191 Prediction of Communication S k i l l s . . . . 193 Rating Prediction 193 Password Prediction 194 ASSESSMENT OF MEASUREMENT TECHNIQUES . . . . 195 Measures of Communication S k i l l s 195 Measures of Cognitive Development and Role-Taking 198 Egocehtrism 199 Decentering 200 I n a b i l i t y to disengage thoughts and fe e l i n g s 201 Empathy and cognitive role-taking . . . . 201 Other Measures 203 x i i Chapter Page L i t t l e • s T-P Scale 203 The Myers-Briggs Type Inventory . . . . 203 The C a l i f o r n i a Psychological Inventory . 204 FURTHER DEVELOPMENT OF THE MODEL OF COMMUNICATION PROCESSES IN RELATION TO COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT 204 Internal Semantic Space 206 Encoding and Decoding 209 Role Attribute I d e n t i f i c a t i o n 211 Primitive Cognition and Communication S k i l l s 212 Relationship between the Aspects of Cognitive Development 216 INTERPRETATION OF FINDINGS 219 I n t e l l e c t u a l A b i l i t i e s , Decentering and Communication 219 Extraversion-Introversion and the Encoding and Decoding Processes . . . . 221 Emotional Responses to Stress 224 The R i g i d i t y - F l e x i b i l i t y - L a b i l i t y Dimension 226 Other Personality Variables and Communication S k i l l s 230 CPI Dominance and Rating communication . . 230 Myers-Briggs Introversion and Rating communication >. 231 Responsibility, conformity, and Rating communication 231 Adjustment, morality, and Password communication 232 Sex as a Moderator Variable 232 LIMITATIONS OF THIS STUDY 235 A PROPOSED STRATEGY FOR FUTURE RESEARCH . . . 236 x i i i Page REFERENCES 241 REFERENCE NOTES 250 APPENDIXES : 251 APPENDIX A : TABLES 252 I. Pooled Within-Groups Correlation Matrix of Personality Scales 252 I I . Raw Data Correlation Matrix of Personality Scales 256 I I I . Maximum Likelihood Solutions f o r Factor Analyses of Rating Scales . . . 263 IV. Correlations between Personality Scales and Rating Factors 264 V. Multiple Correlations f o r Prediction of Minor Rating Factors 266 VI. Standardized Regression C o e f f i c i e n t s f o r Prediction of Minor Rating Factors . . . 267 VII. Correlations between Personality Scales and Password T o t a l Scores 269 VIII. Correlations between Personality Scales and Password Encoding Scores 271 IX. Correlations between Personality Scales and Password Decoding Scores . 273 APPENDIX B : MEASURES USED IN PILOT STUDIES . . . 275 I. O r i g i n a l Password Rules 275 I I . Samples of Snowflakes Used as Referents . 276 I I I . Snowflake Donor Instructions 277 IV. Snowflake Response Form and Snowflake I d e n t i f i c a t i o n Sheet . . . . . 280 V. Snowflake Receiver Form 281 VI. Ratings of Verbal Expression 283 VII. Ratings of Understanding 284 x i v Page VIII. Byrne 1s Matrix Game Procedure . . . . . 285 IX. Matrix Game Scoring , 28? X. Matrix Game Instruction Sheet 288 XI. Matrix Game Answer Sheet 289 XII. Original Background Questionnaire . . . 290 XIII. Fields of Study List . 291 XIV. Interest Self-Ratings . 292 APPENDIX G : MEASURES USED IN FINAL STUDY . . . 293 I. Password — A Communication Game 293 II. Password Response Form 294 III. Ratings of Communication : Instruction Sheet 295 IV. Ratings of Communication : Answer Sheet 296 V. Revised Backround Questionnaire . . . . . 297 VI. TP Interest Questionnaire 298 VII. Mehrabian's Measures of Cognitive Structure 299 VIII. Mehrabian Factorial Scales from Pilot Study #2 304 APPENDIX D : PILOT STUDY DESCRIPTIONS 310 I. Report on First Pilot Study 310 II. Report on Second Pilot Study 326 III. Report on Third Pilot Study 336 APPENDIX E : RAW DATA 345 I. Data from First Pilot Study 345 I I . Data from Second Pilot Study 349 III. Data from Third Pilot Study 365 IV. Complete Questionnaire Data 378 V. Rating Data for 390 Subjects Who Had Complete Ratings 415 XV Page VI. Data Used i n Regression Analyses on Ratings 423 VII. Data f o r Same-Sex Password Regressions . . 462 VIII. Data f o r Opposite-Sex Password Regressions 479 IX. Data from Subjects Who Only Completed Password . 491 x v i LIST OF TABLES Table Page 4.1 Password Referent Words 54 4.2 Summary of Rating Scales .57 4.3 Summary of Demographic Variables 62 5.1 Personality Factor Solutions 71 5.2 Oblique Primary-Factor Pattern C o e f f i c i e n t s f o r Personality Scales 73 5.3 Primary-Factor Intercorrelations 75 5.4 Sex Differences i n Personality Factors . . 83 5.5 Sex Differences i n Personality Questionnaire Scores : Hotelling«s T 2 Test 84 5.6 Intercorrelations of Demographic Variables 88 5.7 Correlates of Demographic Variables . . . . 89 6.1 Sex and Completion Differences i n Ratings . 94 6.2 Influences of Popularity and Verbosity on Rated Communication S k i l l s 97 6.3 Oblique Primary-Factor Pattern C o e f f i c i e n t s f o r Ratings 101 6.4 Intercorrelations of Rating Factors . . . . 103 6.5 Sex and Completion Differences i n Rating Factors . 108 6.6 Rating Factor Means i n Subgroups 109 6.7 Relation of Ratings to Popularity Within Sex Groups 112 6.8 Sex Differences i n Password Scores : Analysis of Variance 116 x v i i Table Page 6 . 9 Password Scores of Complete vs. Incomplete Subjects : Analysis of Variance 117 6 .10 Correlations between Password Encoding and Decoding Scores 118 6 .11 Correlations between Password and Ratings . 122 7 . 1 Prediction of Rating Communication Scores : Multiple Correlations 131 7.2 Prediction of Rating Communication Scores : Standardized Regression C o e f f i c i e n t s . . . 132 7 . 3 Correlations of Factor VII Scales with Rating Scores 136 7 . 4 Correlations of Factor IV with Rating Scores 139 7 . 5 Correlations of Factor VIII Scales with Rating Scores 141 7 . 6 Correlations of Factor II Scales with Rating Scores . 144 7 . 7 Correlations of Emotionality Measures with Rating Scores 146 8 .1 Multiple Correlations f o r Password To t a l Score (Encoding + Decoding) . . . . 159 8.2 Multiple Correlations f o r Password Encoding 161 8.3 Multiple Correlations f o r Password Decoding I63 8 .4 Prediction of Password Scores : Standardized Regression C o e f f i c i e n t s f o r Personality Factors 166 8.5 Prediction of Password Scores : Standardized Regression C o e f f i c i e n t s f o r Personality Scales 179 8.6 Password Regression C o e f f i c i e n t s f o r Demographic Variables 188 x v i i i LIST OF FIGURES Figure Page 2.1 Relationships among Mehrabian 1s Cognitive-Developmental Constructs . . . . 10 9.1 Internal Semantic Space of a Psychology Student 207 xix ACKNOWLEDGEMENT S This d i s s e r t a t i o n has been a long and arduous attempt to focus on a few, slippery, grains of sand belonging to the vast beach of unexplored r e a l i t y . I t would never have been completed without the help of several fellow-scavengers. My heartiest thanks, then, go to the following people : Dr. Ralph Hakstian, f o r much sound advice, f o r organizing ray advisory committee and my time, and f o r bearing p a t i e n t l y with the data analysis and writing phases of t h i s thesis; Dr. Edro Signori, f o r h i s f a i t h f u l support and wise counsel over a long time period; The l a t e Dr. Don Sampson, who provided much encouragement and p r a c t i c a l help i n the early stages of t h i s thesis; Drs. Louis Moran, Jerry Wiggins, Emily Goetz, and Mr. Brian L i t t l e , f o r t h e i r cooperation, support, and constructive c r i t i c i s m . Lynne Mugford, who braved the t e r r o r s of c i t y high schools to help me c o l l e c t data; Milan Stehlik, who organized work sessions f o r marking questionnaires and transforming rating data, and who experienced fi r s t - h a n d the burden of the work to be done; Lynne Stehlik, Rick and Becky Toews, Bev Wright, Bob and Arlene Wells, Grant Schwartzentruber, and others who performed a l o t of tedious arithmetic i n the name of friendship; Bob and Arlene Wells, who provided months of substitute parenthood to my l i t t l e g i r l ; Peter, Corinne, Anne, Shirle y , and the whole community i n the house on West 36th, who welcomed me into t h e i r home during my many unannounced v i s i t s to Vancouver. My brother, Ian M i l l e r , who made sure that my i n t r o -duction to the computer was a f r i e n d l y one; My husband, Grant, who helped bear the burden of t h i s thesis f o r a long time, without l o s i n g h i s desire to be i n -volved with i t or with me; My daughter, Tammy, who adjusted w i l l i n g l y and enthusi-a s t i c a l l y to the many situations I had to place her i n while working on the th e s i s . 1 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION The communication process has t r a d i t i o n a l l y been con-c e p t u a l i z e d as f o l l o w s : Communication occurs when one i n d i -v i d u a l ( t h e encoder, donor, communicator or t r a n s m i t t e r ) encodes a message r e g a r d i n g a r e f e r e n t , and t r a n s m i t s i t , v i a a channel, t o a second i n d i v i d u a l ( the decoder, r e c e i v e r or addressee), who decodes i t and attempts to i d e n t i f y the r e f e r e n t . The success of the communication process i n a p a r t i c u l a r s i t u a t i o n i s measured i n terms o f e i t h e r the accu-r a c y or the e f f i c i e n c y of r e f e r e n t i d e n t i f i c a t i o n . Communication accuracy has been d e f i n e d as "the degree o f correspondence between the r e f e r e n t s decoded, or i n f e r r e d , from a s e t of communication behaviors by an addressee [de-coder] and the r e f e r e n t s encoded, or repr e s e n t e d , i n those communication behaviors by the communicator [ e n c o d e r ] " ( M e h r a b i a n ^ Reed, 1968). Communication e f f i c i e n c y , a broader term than communication accuracy, i n c l u d e s a l s o such measures as the l e n g t h of time and the number of messages ne c e s s a r y before a c c u r a t e i d e n t i f i c a t i o n o f the r e f e r e n t i s a c h i e v e d . Although the encoder and decoder are d e s c r i b e d above as separate i n d i v i d u a l s , i t i s not always p o s s i b l e t o make a c l e a r d i s t i n c t i o n between them. T h i s i s because a l a r g e p r o-p o r t i o n o f communication s i t u a t i o n s i n v o l v e i n t e r a c t i o n o r feedback, where encoder and decoder t e m p o r a r i l y exchange 2 r o l e s . S i t u a t i o n s vary i n the amount of feedback i n v o l v e d , from the p u b l i c l e c t u r e where one designated speaker a c t s only as encoder, and the other persons present engage only i n decoding a c t i v i t y , to the back-and-forth dyadic conversa-t i o n . The focus of the present study i s on the person f a c -t o r s i n communication: the a t t r i b u t e s of the encoder and of the decoder which a f f e c t the communication e f f i c i e n c y of the p a i r . We propose to provide some answers f o r the question: What c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of an i n d i v i d u a l enable him or her to be an e f f i c i e n t communicator? Before t h i s question can be ans-wered, however, i t i s necessary to r e s o l v e the f o l l o w i n g i s s u e s : ( 1 ) Does an i n d i v i d u a l ' s communication s k i l l e x i s t as a measurable e n t i t y ? The recent controversy about t r a i t and s i t u a t i o n a l v a r i a n c e , p a r t i c u l a r l y w i t h regard to s o c i a l be-h a v i o r (Campbell & F i s k e , 1 9 5 9 ; A r g y l e & L i t t l e , 1 9 7 2 ) sug-gests t h a t some c o n s t r u c t s have a g r e a t e r p r o p o r t i o n of per-son variance and others a greater p r o p o r t i o n of s i t u a t i o n v a r i a n c e , A r g y l e & L i t t l e , l i k e others they c i t e , found an average of kO percent of the variance about i n t e r a c t i o n con-s t r u c t means to be a t t r i b u t a b l e t o the p e r s o n - s i t u a t i o n i n t e r a c t i o n . Some c o n s t r u c t s , such as f o r m a l i t y of behavior, had as l i t t l e as four percent of t h e i r v ariance a t t r i b u t a b l e to enduring person c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s . I t i s d e s i r a b l e , t h e r e f o r e , to measure an i n d i v i d u a l ' s communication performance across a v a r i e t y of s i t u a t i o n s , and 3 attempt to d i s c o v e r whether or not t h e r e a r e any enduring d i f f e r e n c e s i n communication s k i l l . (2) I f i n d i v i d u a l d i f f e r e n c e s i n communication s t i l l ex-i s t , i s i t a u n i t a r y or a complex phenomenon? Encoding and decoding are c o n c e p t u a l i z e d as separate communication pro-cesses; do they a l s o r e q u i r e d i f f e r e n t s k i l l s ? Rosenberg (Note 6) has made the major c o n t r i b u t i o n s i n t h i s area o f the o r y , and h i s conceptions of encoding and decoding are pre -sented and d i s c u s s e d i n Chapter 2. Our c o n c e p t u a l i z a t i o n of communication s k i l l , based on the theory presented i n Chapter 2, i s t h a t i t has two major components, encoding s k i l l and decoding s k i l l . These components i n v o l v e s i m i l a r c o g n i t i v e p r ocesses f o r the most p a r t , so have a l a r g e p r o p o r t i o n o f common variance? they a l s o have unique components. We s h a l l attempt t o o b t a i n separate measures of encoding and decoding s k i l l . As we s h a l l see i n Chapter 3» t h e r e a r e no well-known measures o f a d u l t communication s k i l l s w i t h adequate r e l i a b i -l i t y . Because of t h i s , t here i s a t presen t v e r y l i t t l e em-p i r i c a l evidence w i t h r e g a r d to the e x i s t e n c e o f i n d i v i d u a l d i f f e r e n c e s i n encoding and decodi