Cognitive Foundations of Calculated Speech

Controlling Understandings in Conversation and Persuasion

By Robert Sanders

Subjects: Communication
Series: SUNY series, Human Communication Processes
Paperback : 9780887063510, 273 pages, December 1986
Hardcover : 9780887063503, 273 pages, December 1986

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Table of contents

Glossary of Symbols

Part I. Toward an Adequate Theory of Strategic Communication: Conceptual and Metatheoretical Foundations
1. Strategic Communication: Controlling Understandings
2. Requirements for an Adequate Theory of Strategic Communication

Part II. Utterance Meanings and Specific Interpretations: Controlling Understandings in Discourses and Dialogues
3. Types of Utterance Meaning: Propositional Content, Implicature and Illocutionary Act
4. The Relevance of Utterances: Warrants for Specific Interpretations
5. Laboratory Studies of the Specific Interpretation of Utterances
Part III. Controlling Understandings in Different Media and in Different Cultures
6. The Specific Interpretation of Nonverbal Displays in Different Media, Alone and in Combination with Utterances
7. Universals of Communication Competence: Understanding and Being Understood by Foreigners

Part IV. A Theory of Strategic Communication and Its Application in Studies of Conversation and Persuasion
8. The Strategic Formulation of Utterances and Nonverbals: Projecting Possible and Probable Consequences
9. Orderliness, Disorder and Strategy in Ordinary Conversation
10. Persuasion: Constraining Individuals and Changing Social Aggregates

Subject Index
Index of Proper Names


In Cognitive Foundations of Calculated Speech, Robert E. Sanders shows that whether one communicates to get a response or to make one, the cognitive problem is the same—to calculate whether intended speech and behavior will have a desirable effect on the progress of the unfolding discourse or dialogue. The book details the knowledge base and principles for making such calculations.

Robert E. Sanders is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Communication at State University of New York at Albany.


"This is definitely a book which addresses, head on, a fundamental topic for language and communication studies. The author pursues this topic with a highly principled theoretical perspective. He applies this general perspective to several currently popular research areas. Thus, the book combines fundamental, theoretically grounded discussion, but applies it broadly and powerfully. " — Gerry Philipsen

"Sanders views diverse communication phenomena from the standpoint of the concept of coherence or relevance (and attached concepts). This allows him to say some surprising and informative things about persuasion, visual communication, and cross-cultural communication, for example. This is a very good example of theory construction, one of the best I have seen in the field of communication. " — James J. Bradac

"The book integrates contemporary literature and scholarship in language, logic, philosophy, communication and cognitive science and integrates it into a volume devoted to communication and understanding. The field of communication needs this. " — Donald G. Ellis