More intrapersonal communication

Jemmer, Patrick 2009. Intrapersonal Communication: the Hidden Language. European Journal of Clinical Hypnosis 9(1): 37-49.

Crucially, it is fountd that part of the filtering process which takes place in the transfer of information from the external world to the internal of psychic world via the sensory channels, renders the information in the form of language, and this leads to the establishing of a "self-talk." We find that in terms of the "psychological software" for self-awareness, internal dialogue is immensely important. We then go to summarise the scientific background to our understanding of the nature and prevalence of self-talk and its relationship to self-awareness, in terms of meaning-making and shaping reality, both private and consensual. (Jemmer 2009: 37)
So: selectivity, representation and autocommunication. At this point it seems that self-talk has as many forms as autocommunication. E.g. there's self-talk that consists of talking to yourself an as equal ("What do you think about that?"), there's self-talk that consists of addressing oneself ("Look what you did now!") and now there's self-talk that's related to self-awareness (maybe something like "Are you feeling...?").
We aim, at the conclusion of these discussions, to show how a "therapy for self-talk," as engendered in the tools and techniques of Neuro-linguistic Programming and Psycho-chaotic Semiotics can produce apparently "magical" results in the creation of unfording, positive realities of choice. (Jemmer 2009: 37)
Oh shi- NLP is notoriously pseudoscientific (apparently you can't intentionally produce a paradigm shift in psychology by ignoring everything already established in psychology), so I'm thinking "Psycho-chaotic Semiotics" could also be something completely inane. Apparently it was written about in 2010 by someone named Patrick Jemmer and involves "psycho(a)logical autopoiesis". From what I can tell from the guy's website he's a bit of an obscurantist.
Let us remind ourselves, at this point, of the nature of internal dialogue - Meichenbaum, for example, states that "In psychology, the term inner speech usually signifies soundless, mental speech, arising at the instant we think about something, plan or solve problems in our mind, recall books read or conversations heard, read and write silently. In all such instances we think and remember with the aid of words which we articulate to ourselves. Inner speech is nothing but speech to oneself, or concealed verbalisation, which is instrumental to the logical processing of sensory data, in their realisation and comprehension within a definite system of concepts and judgments. (Jemmer 2009: 38)
This definition, from Cognitive Behavior Modification, equates internal dialogue (or internal monologue?) with thinking in language. I should venture a behavioristic question: does "articulating" actually imply speech or is it mentalistic? This is important because in Mead and Morris, talking to oneself is strictly speech-related. "Concealed verbalisation" here seems to be a synonym for covert verbalisation, but for early psychology there was no such thing. Murmuring and muttering to yourself was considered overt, but not social - it was directed at oneself. Similar terminological confusion abounds the distinction between private and consensual reality, which seems to twist social and subjective realities in a way that I can't quite put my finger on.
Shedletsky uses communication theory to site intrapersonal communication (IAPC) as "talking to ourselves" but with the triad of "sender - transmitter - receiver" all located in the same individual, and Fletch comments that "to a large extent intrapersonal communication from a psychophysiological perspective is the interior neural manifestation of the social process of communication". Pearson and Nelson go further by noting that intrapersonal communication is also used in "internal problem solving, resolution of internal conflict, planning for the future, emotional catharsis, evaluation of ourselves and others". (Jemmer 2009: 38)
I can detect notes of Mead, Ruesch and Jakobson, but only Mead is cited (once). It is especially disconcerting that Pearson and Nelson don't go farther than Ruesch and Bateson with their claim, but neither is mentioned. This is what happens when you rely on sources from the 1980s and 90s.
Sometimes the dialogue is between the self in the grip of its immediate necessities and biological urges, and the self as an organisation of long-range purposes and ends. Sometimes the dialogue is between the self in the context of one set of loyalties and the self in this grip of contrasting claims and responsibilities. (Jemmer 2009: 39)
Yeah, no, I have no idea what to do with necessities, urges, purposes, loyalties, claims and responsibilities. What works in The Self and the Dramas of History (1988) doesn't really work in semiotics. These notions are too... new. Or, rather, they are a mixed bag of stuff that doesn't really seem to form a coherent whole.
The situation is complicated by the fact that the expressions of internal dialogue are manifold and "The elements of inner speech are found in all our conscious perceptions, actions, and emotional experiences, where they manifes themselves as verbal sets, instructions to oneself, or as verbal interpretations of sensations and peceptions. This renders inner speech a rather important and universal mechanism in human consciousness and psychic activity". (Jemmer 2009: 39)
This remark, from Inner Speech and Thought (1972) seems to suggest that consciousness is primarily verbal and dismisses the nonverbal understanding of perception. E.g. to "really" feel cold I need to say, even if only in my mind, "I'm feeling cold." Logocentrism.
Your intrapersonal reality is giving meaning to these words and is the cause of the response you have as you read them. (Jemmer 2009: 39)
Nah, I'm pretty sure the language-centers of my brain are giving meaning to these words and as much as I like the idea of a subjective or idiosyncratically semiotic reality, I'd rather stick with Ruesch and hold that every person has a subjective interpretation of the social reality, rather than an intrapersonal reality as such. One should remember that the intrapersonal network is still a part of the interpersonal, group and society networks.
Now it does appear true in general that "...self-awareness is mediated by self-talk: when self-aware, the individual, more often than not, talks to himself or herself", although the "...cognitive processes underlying self-awareness are still unknown and extremely difficult to study in an experimental paradigm" (Jemmer 2009: 39)
It seems that I'm inclined to disagree with almost everything in this paper. Here I'd rather concur with Hefferline (1955) that awareness is spontaneous and introspection is "mediated by self-talk" as it is put here. Too bad "more often than not" is not a measure.
"Still, another way of getting at the point here is to note that much (perhaps all) of ordinary human communication is not limited to literal meaning... Having said that, just what literal meaning and indirect meaning are, and just how we make literal and indirect meaning, are precisely the questions begging for exploration". (Jemmer 2009: 39)
In this regard I'd side with Langer (1948) according to whom connotation conveys a conception and denotation denotes an object. But that's just me. As much as I would like to get to the extensive table at the end of this paper I'm afraid it has already shown itself to be ignorant of semiotics ("literal meaning", really?), original thinkers (Ruesch and Bateson) and decidedly logocentric (focusing only on self-talk). I'm either forsaking this paper for good or will return when I'm more in the mood for... Wait, what? European Journal of Clinical Hypnosis? WTF. I'm done. DNF.

Jensen, Marvin D. 1984. Memoirs and Journals as Maps of Intrapersonal Communication. Communication Education 33: 237-242.

As an instrument in communication classrooms, introspective writing has been primarily used as an experimental approach to self-awareness. The purpose of this paper is to suggest a complementary theoretical approach - the study of introspective writing by others, as found in their memories and journals. (Jensen 1984: 237)
This is what I consider to be the most valuable approach to autocommunication as well - the communication with oneself that goes into writing diaries, or even novels written in the form of diaries.
Memoirs and journals are not simple records of exprience. At best, these introspective writings reveal the authors' perspectives, aspirations, thoughts, and second thoughts. Unlike diaries and logs, memories and journals are not intended as linear accounts, but their fragments are often more revealing than an ordered sequence of "facts." The stream of consciousness writing in many memoirs and journals provides an opportunity to glimpse another person's internal communication, and to see in it a process common to all people. Ira Progoff believes journals capture the "underground stream of images and recollections within each of us." He suggests this "stream is nothing more or less than our interior life." (Jensen 1984: 237)
Although generally true, I'd stick to Ruesch and Bateson who viewed intrapersonal communication as an impoverished (or restricted) version of the total psychic life of the individual. Although not simple records of experience, they are nevertheless not the experience itself, but at attempt of communicating experience, even if primarily with oneself.
Emerson advised Thoreau: "Record your own spontaneous thought and you will record that which men everywhere find true for them also. A wholly truthful report of your own life will be true of all lives." Dag Hammerskjöld echoed this in his own journal when he wrote: "Alone in his secret growth, he found a kinship with all growing things." (Jensen 1984: 237)
I'm not so sure of it. But then again how should one test this hypothesis? It's truth is after all metaphorical.
Two characteristics of intrapersonal communication can be understood through the study of memoirs and journals. (1) A truthful report of a person's thoughts discloses the process by which selective memory defines and redefines personal history. (2) An honest journal or memoir reveals habitual thoughts which are basic to self-identity. (Jensen 1984: 237)
These points seem more agreeable. Mainly because Cassirer's not about the self being a bundle of perceptions or Lotman's version as bundle of languages (or codes and texts) can be reformulated in terms of selectivity, if need be. Ever more so because personal history is only a part of the self. And indeed it seems valid that in journals or memoirs one is bound to repeat oneself and those statements that are repeated more often form the basis of self-identity. After all, my writings from five years ago about stuff that I still ponder about now indicate my identity with myself.
A similar process of memory alteration occurs even without outside intervention. Wright Morris describes this pattern in his memories:
A memory for ... details is thoughts to be characteristic of the writer, but the fiction is already at work in what he remembers. No deception is intended, but he wants to see clearly what is invariably, intrinsically vague. So he imagines. Image-making is indivisibly a part of remembering.
(Jensen 1984: 237)
Falls in line with the contention that every act of remembering is simultaneously an act of recreation.
Marcus Aurelius believed that recurring thoughts are the essence of self or soul. He wrote: "Such as thy habitual thoughts, such also will be the character of thy mind; for the soul is dyed by the thoughts." (Jensen 1984: 240)
It is entirely possible that once I'm gone and only this blog is left I will not only be judged by my criticisms of others but my "legacy" if there were such a thing, would consist mainly of the recurring notions I have appropriated or invented to designate the bright ideas of others.
Gordon W. Allport described these habitual tohughts as "central motifs" and suggested that "a life may be understood almost completely by tracing only a few major themes or intentions." Floyd H. Allport also sought to explore the underlying unity of a personality by identifying "life-hypotheses," which he found much more revealing than behavior traits. Central motifs or life-hypotheses are evolved by each individual as the means of integrating and responding to life experiences; they are the habits of thought which comprise a personal point of view. (Jensen 1984: 240)
Undoubtedly in my case these are nonverbalism, semiophrenia and concourse.
Unguarded introspective writing transcends self-image and confirms this paradox: "we may not be what we think we are, but what we think - we are." (Jensen 1984: 240)
This could just as well be an epigraph for Peirce's "man is a sign" formula. The source: Michaelis, Arnold 1956. Portrait of Adlaid Stevenson. Spoken Arts. (pp. 770)

Goldberg, Alvin and John Powers 1978. A course in intrapersonal communication. Communication Education 27(2): 169-173.

Coursework dealing with communication on the interpersonal, group, and organizational levels is relatively common today, but courses in intrapersonal communication have been much slower to develop. Several considerations persuaded us to create a basic course in intrapersonal speech communication. (Goldberg & Powers 1978: 169)
Although it seems like a bright idea, the "speech" between "intrapersonal" and "communication" hints at logocentrism (which is off-putting for me as a nonverbalist). It is also worth mentioning that our institute of semiotics has not yet instituted a course such as this, although it would be a neat replacement for "semiotics of ordinary behavior" or whatever it's called. A course dedicated to autocommunication would definitely improve the status of this notion, perhaps even elevate it from a theoretical construction to the level of practical application.
Our course in intrapersonal communication is divided into three main units: (1) an examination of the intrapersonal communication processes themselves, (2) a discussion of several theories of the contents of intrapersonal communication, and (3) an examination of some of the methodologies associated with the improvement of intrapersonal communication. (Goldberg & Powers 1978: 170)
For a course on autocommunication (that probably wouldn't see the light of day), these would be: (1) autocommunicative processes; (2) theories of autocommunication; and (3) improvement of autocommunication. The last one would probably veer into self-development and pseudo-psychology.
As suggested list of topics is provided for students to draw from. Some sample topics are:
  1. Identify and discuss teh relationships that might exist between intrapersonal communication and interpersonal communication.
  2. Compare and contrast any two models of the intrapersonal communication process.
  3. Write an essay in which you discuss the relationship between language, thought, and behavior.
(Goldberg & Powers 1978: 170)
Unsurprisingly these are also the topics I'm dealing with in terms of autocommunication.

Roberts, Charles V. 1983. The Definition and Delimitation of Intrapersonal Communication: A Physiological Perspective. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Speech Communication Association (69th, Washington, DC, November 10-13, 1983).

A definition of intrapersonal communication is needed that will encompass noncognitive elements and thus allow for a broader range of research methodologies. One possible definition is the physiological and psychological decoding, processing, storing, and encoding of messages that happen within individuals at conscious and nonconscious levels whenever they communicate with themselves or others for the purposes of defining, maintaining, or developing their social, psychological, or physical selves. (Roberts 1983; abstract)
Noncognitive elements such as behavior and emotion? I now realize that "storing" is crucially missing from Ruesch's model, while present in Lotman's model.
In 1975, Andersen, Garrison, and Andersen noted the plethora of definitions of intrapersonal communication. The theoretical discussions of the last eight years have done little but increase the confusion concerning this concept. Certainly the concept of "self" has been imbedded [sic] in most definitions, but beyond that tautological definitional anchor, the directions taken by communication pundits have been to all points of the theoretical compass. (Roberts 1983: 3)
I've read a 1979 paper by these same guys. Surely I will have to read their "Defining nonverbal communication: A neurophysiological explanation of nonverbal information processing" as well. Nope, it was presented at a conference and I can't find it. In any case Robertson is right on the money with the note that "self-communication" and variations of this concept are anchored to a concept of the "self" in a rather tautological manner: e.g. the self is that which self-communicates. More confusion abounds because this "self" in many cases is not the individual self, but a supraindividual self (a group, a society or a culture).
We have focused on words, language, and symbol-using as manifest on the conscious level of the communicator. (Roberts 1983: 3)
I'm not sure why "communicator" and "communicatee" are such rare words. Could it be that communication is mostly thought generally as a "relational" process without well-defined roles?
Definitions are key building blocks for theory. Any definition of intrapersonal communication accepted by a researcher will not only help shape his theory, but will guide his investigations and suggest his methodology as well. The intent of this paper is to suggest a definition of intrapersonal communication that incorporates more than just a cognitive element that will, in turn, allow for a broader range of methodologies for the investigation of intrapersonal communication. (Roberts 1983: 5)
True, true. This is also why I detested the first author in this series (e.g. the hypnosis journal paper) - "self-talk" imposes a limitation upon intrapersonal communication.
All of the physiological and psychological decoding, processing, storing, and encoding of messages that happens within individuals at conscious and nonconscious levels whenever they communicate with themselves or others for the purposes of defininig, maintaining, and/or developing their social, psychological, and/or physical selves. (Roberts 1983: 6)
A pretty clear-cut definition of intrapersonal communication - one that considers the multiplicity of selves.
The majority of definitions of intrapersonal communication focus on the concept of "self". This focus has tended to channel research efforts towards mentalistic theories that have reinforced the dualistic conceptualization of "mind and body" and have restricted consideration of physiological variables. (Roberts 1983: 6)
Yup. This is the issue I have with most theories of intrapersonal communication. Although the mind/body dualism doesn't annoy me much, it does compel me to build towards a theory of nonverbal self-communication (obviously I'm occupying the "body" side of this chasm.)
But the simple fact is that all of the communication within the individual is physiological. While we can create fine mentalistic concepts of cognitive processes, those processes all are carried on through one physiological process or another. (Roberts 1983: 10)
This is as true as it is useless.
A great deal of evidence exists that points out that we can, do, and perhaps must control any physiological processes that we become aware of. Biofeedback research is strong on this point. My own philosophy of teaching intrapersonal communication is centered around this belief. People can become more effective communicators at all levels if they can make conscious contact with heretofore nonconscious events and states. This is not unique to my classroom. Most public speaking teachers attempt to have their students become "aware" of their delivery technique so that they may control them. Interpersonal teachers seek to help their students escape "double binds" by becoming aware of them. (Roberts 1983: 13)
Taking self-control to the next level.
Granted he may encode or decode differently in the various contexts, but the "hardware" and "software" he brings with him to each communication encounter changes slowly. It is the individual who is the "eye of the storm." It is in him and by him that order is given to the "booming, buzzing confusion" about him. (Roberts 1983: 16)
A neat metaphor. William James, perhaps?

Honeycutt, James M. with Kenneth S. Zagacki and Renee Edwards 1987. Intrapersonal Communication and Imagined Interactions. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Speech Communication Association (73rd, Boston, MA, November 5-8, 1987).

"Imagined interactions," which refer to a cognitive process whereby individuals imagine themselves having conversations with significant others, captures a dimension of intrapersonal communication barely understood by communication researchers. To examine this multifunctional concept, a study considered the role of "imagined interactions" in message selection and interpretation and in interpersonal relationships. (Honeycutt et al. 1987; abstract)
In common parlance this is "talking with people inside your head" or, in Lotman and Bakhtin, with "internal addressees". Also, Festinger called it "fantasy communication".
Imagined interactions may occur before or after actual encounters. It is suggested that imagined interactions are multifunctional. Major functions include rehearsing for anticipated encounters, enhancing confidence in evaluative situations, and relieving tension. Results of a study indicate that imagined interactions tend to occur with romantic partners, members of the opposite-sex [sic], and family members. Topics of discussion involve relational issues. These topics tended to be equally pleasant and unpleasant. In addition, results suggested that imagined interactions may be dysfunctional for lonely individuals. (Honeycutt et al. 1987: 3)
Another drop for the contention that autocommunication precedes, accompanies and follows intercommunication.
roloff and Berger (1982) add that intrapersonal communication, like social cognition, involves the use of representational systems, focuses on certain aspects of interaction (e.g., self, others, or behaviors), and has some impact on behavior. (Honeycutt et al. 1987: 6)
Concourse being one such "representational systems", it makes sense that a part of such intrapersonal communication consists in describing behaviours of others or the self to oneself.
As Mead (1934) illustrates, "One separates the significance of what he is saying to others from the actual speech and gets it ready before saying it. He thinks it out, and perhaps writes it in the form of a book" (p. 118). This sort of pre-communicative mental activity, explains Manis and Meltzer (1978), "is a peculiar type of activity that goes on in the experience of the person. The activity is that of the person responding to himself, of indicating things to himself" (p. 21). Mead adds that such activity is essential for the constitution of the self: "That the person should be responding to himself is necessary for the self, and it is this sort of social conduct which provides behavior within which that self appears" (p. 118). (Honeycutt et al. 1987: 7)
Honeycutt arrived at the same conclusion as I did about Mead's theory of self-communication: it is instrumental to building the self in the first place.
Actors within imagined interactions may control conversations or relinquish control to imagined others. Imagined interactions occur frequently during the course of an actor's day. (Honeycutt et al. 1987: 8)
In a somewhat haphazard way I distinguished imagination and dreams on the basis of the control exerted by the self.
Imagined interactions may precede, follow, or even help constitute the decision-making process. Brook's notion that intrapersonal communication involves "talking" to oneself is important, for not only do individuals talk to themselves, but during imagined interactions they talk to others as well. Thus, we surmise that imagined interactions are an extended form of intrapersonal communication. (Honeycutt et al. 1987: 8)
Indeed. This author holds that we talk in this manner mostly to "significant others" like family members, close friends, intimates or work partners, but in academic context it appears that it is a useful device to talk to other thinkers in imagined interactions. An especially good case of this is the Ancient Greek form of "dialogues with the dead" as exemplified by Lucian of Samosata (discussed thoroughly by Bakhtin).
Imagined interactions are attempts to simulate real-life conversations with significant others. One can actually envision participants in discourse with others, anticipate their response, and even assume their roles. (Honeycutt et al. 1987: 8-9)
Hefferline's case elaborates this contention: we fully understand an author when we have internalized his or her ideas to such an extent that we can argue the same point on the same reasons.
There are, however, instances where real encounters radically depart from their imagined predecessors. Thus, imagined interactions should be conceived as an extension of intrapersonal communication and as a specific type of social cognition in which communicators experience cognitive representations of conversation with its accompanying verbal and nonverbal features. In the parlence [sic] of cognitive theorists, imagined interactions are perhaps best related to what Greene (1984) calls "procedural records' - cognitive structures which provide clues for rehearsing and/or reviewing interaction. (Honeycutt et al. 1987: 9)
Nice! Even the nonverbal dimension is noted.
Imagined interactions are probabably [sic] similar to what Abelson (1976) calls collections of "vignettes," or representations of events of short duration, "much like a panel in a cartoon strip where a visual image is accompanied by a verbal caption" (Kelerman, p. 3). A coherent correction of vignettes forms a script, "much as the panels of a cartoon strip form a story" (Kellerman, 1984, p. 3). As one engages in imagined interaction, a series of turn-taking or topic changes may correspond to panel (vignette) changes. An imagined interaction may progress like a cartoon, in logical sequence from one topic to the next. Like the cartoon reader, an individual having an imagined interaction is afforded the luxury of moving back and forth over the panel, even "rewriting" the strip if appropriate. (Honeycutt et al. 1987: 10)
Comparison with cartoons is apt. Indeed it is a good idea to collect such vignettes. Also, the aspect of "rewriting" the script of a dream, for example, is something that I should deal with in my next venture into somatoception. Namely, when indistinctness disintegrates, one is able to modify the dream or begin from a specific scene again and proceed at an alternate time-line.
The analogy to cartoon strips is important to understand imagined interactions. For like these strips, imagined interactions may be visual and verbal. Moreover, interactants may possess, like cartoon characters, extraordinary powers of conversational control (e.g., prediction, mind-reading, time-travel, pause, and so on) not afforded real-life interlocutors. (Honeycutt et al. 1987: 10)
All of these aspects are also relevant for literature and dreams.

Shedletsky, Leonard 1988. Intrapersonal Communication Activities: Representing Experience. Paper prepared for the Annual Meeting of the Speech Communication Association (74th, New Orleans, LA, November 3-6, 1988).

Definitions of intrapersonal communication vary, but all have in common the notion that intrapersonal communication is concerned with representing experience and assigning meaning (see, for instance, Roberts, Edwards, and Barker, 1987). (Shedletsky 1988: 3)
This is not what all definitions have in common. But some do, and it may explain why some semioticians are reluctant to talk about it, as it doesn't seem that much different from your common household semiosis.
The metacognition involved in becoming aware of one's own processing itself facilitates learning. (Shedletsky 1988: 3)
I haven't seen anyone using this term in a along while.
It is one thing to read about selective attention and quite another to "catch" oneself shifting attention in the course of a conversation; to know that words can be ambiguous and to experience ambiguity and alternative interpretations in communication; to learn about emotions and to observe one's own emotional triggers and their effects upon reasoning (William James, 1890). (Shedletsky 1988: 3-4)
True that. In my case it is one thing to know about theories of nonverbal communication and a wholly another to interpret actual behaviour.
The exercise titled Coding Analysis attempts to demonstrate that we represent information with various codes, phonological, semantic, and visual, to name a few. Moreover, we are capable of processing input to various levels or codes. (Shedletsky 1988: 4)
It sounds more and more like they were doing semiotics under another name.


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