The Psychological Record

, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 65–82 | Cite as

Foundations of Communication Theory

  • William Stephenson


There is a communication “explosion” in modern life but no acceptable theory for its understanding. This, in part, is because of the current emphasis on objective approaches. It is proposed here instead that communication can be studied best from a subjective standpoint, where the concern is with the bodies of verbal (or other) statements people make, or may make about any matter. One distinguishes, however, statements of fact (the concern of information theory) from statements of opinion. The latter are subjective and basically self-referent: a theory of communication is proposed for these. In this a person’s ‘position’ or ‘overview’ is modeled as a Q sort, and the communication domain by Q metatheory. The theory has the widest possible applicability, wherever subjectivity is at issue.


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Copyright information

© Association of Behavior Analysis International 1969

Authors and Affiliations

  • William Stephenson
    • 1
  1. 1.School of JournalismUniversity of MissouriColumbiaUSA

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