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Price: $98.95

Paperback 592 pp.
136 photos; 32 figures; 31 tables, 8" x 10"



Copyright Year:

Imprint: OUP Canada

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Understanding Human Communication

Third Canadian Edition

Ronald B. Adler, George Rodman and Alexandre Sevigny

Praised by students and instructors alike for its engaging approach and reader-friendly design, this third Canadian edition prepares students to become effective communicators in both their personal and professional lives. With a strong focus on the influence of culture and technology throughout, the text examines a range of cutting-edge topics from online social networks to group dynamics.

Readership : Introductory human communication courses offered at the first- or second year level covering the four main areas of communication: verbal/ nonverbal, interpersonal, group communication, and public speaking.


  • "Comprehensive coverage of pretty much every area of human communication is the hallmark of this book - the chapters and subtopics cover the range from personal self-understanding through dyadic and small-group interpersonal communication, right up to communication within an entire society."
    --Jim Katz, John Abbott College

  • "This is not only a student-centred text, it is a Canadian student-centred text: it is filled with relevant, topical examples that Canadian students can identify with. It is a breath of fresh air for our students who are tired of reading American statistics and American examples."
    --Jennifer Taylor, University of Prince Edward Island

Highlights of the New Edition
Part I: Elements of Communication
1. Human Communication: What and Why
Communication Defined
Types of Communication
Functions of Communication
Modelling Communication
Communication Competence: What Makes an Effective Communicator?
Clarifying Misconceptions about Communication
2. Perception, the Self, and Communication
Simple Truths, Important Lessons: How Communication Shapes Perception
Perceiving others
Perceiving the Self
Identity Management: Communication as Impression Management
3. Language
The Nature of Language
The Power of Language
Troublesome Language
Gender and Language
Culture and Language
4. Non-Verbal Communication
Characteristics of Non-Verbal Communication
Influences on Non-Verbal Communication
Functions of Non-Verbal Communication
Types of Non-Verbal Communication
5. Listening
Misconceptions about Listening
Overcoming Challenges to Effective Listening
Personal Listening Styles
Informational Listening
Critical Listening
Empathic Listening
Part II: Interpersonal Communication
6. Understanding Interpersonal Relationships
Characteristics of Interpersonal Relationships
Intimacy in Interpersonal Relationships
Relational Development and Maintenance
Self-Disclosure in Interpersonal Relationships
7. Improving Interpersonal Relationships
Communication Climates in Interpersonal Relationships
Managing Interpersonal Conflict
Part III: Communication in Groups
8. Social Media and Communication Theory
Social Media
Types of Social Media
Social Media, the Self, and Society
Social Media and Mobility
Social Media, Public Relations, and Marketing
Social Media and Traditional Media
Using Social Media Effectively
Dangers of Social Media
Protecting Yourself on Social Media
Key Theories of Communication
9. The Nature of Groups
What is a Group?
Goals of Groups and Their Members
Types of Groups
Characteristics of Groups
Cultural Influences on Group Communication
10. Solving Problems in Groups
Problem-Solving in Groups: When and Why
Group Problem-Solving Formats
Approaches and Stages in Problem-Solving
Creativity Killers in Group Discussion
Maintaining Positive Relationships
Leadership and Power in Groups
Overcoming Dangers in Group Discussion
Part IV: Persuasion and Public Communication
11. Persuasion
Characteristics of Persuasion
Categorizing Types of Persuasion
Creating the Persuasive Message
Interpersonal Persuasion
12. Writing and Delivering Speeches
Choosing a Topic
Defining Purpose
Structuring the Speech
The Body of the Speech
Supporting Material
Holding the Audience's Attention
Analyzing the Audience
Analyzing the Occasion
Building Credibility as a Communicator
Dealing with Stage Fright
Appendices: NEW
Appendix I. Persuasive Professional WritingDr Philip Savage:
- The Purpose of Writing
- The Process of Writing
- Four Major Professional Writing Forms
- Briefing Notes
Appendix II. Communicating for Career Success
The Selection Interview
- Preparing for the Interview
- During the Interview
- Interviewing and the Law

Instructor's Manual:
Chapter overviews
Learning objectives
Suggested classroom activities
Activities to promote critical thinking
Teaching activities
List of supplementary resources
List of films
Test Bank:
Match questions
Multiple choice questions
True/False questions
Fill in the blank questions
Short answer questions
PowerPoint Slides:
Summaries and key points for each chapter
Image Bank:
Image Bank
All photos, cartoons, tables, charts and figures from the text available electronically
Student Study Guide:
RSS feeds related to topics covered in the text
YouTube videos
Self-grading quizzes
E-book ISBN 9780199004195

Ronald B. Adler is professor emeritus in the Department of Communication, Santa Barbara City College.

George Rodman is a professor of television and radio at Brooklyn College, CUNY.

Alexandre Sévigny is an associate professor and director of the Master of Communications Management Program in the Department of Communication Studies and Multimedia at McMaster University.

Making Sense - Margot Northey and Joan McKibbin
Interplay - Ronald B. Adler, Lawrence B. Rosenfeld, Russell F. Proctor and Constance Winder
Communication in Everyday Life - Sherry Devereaux Ferguson and Jenepher Lennox Terrion
Public Speaking in Canada - Sherry Devereaux Ferguson
Communicating in Groups - Joann Keyton
Communicating for Results - Carolyn Meyer
Making Sense in the Social Sciences - Margot Northey, Lorne Tepperman and Patrizia Albanese

Special Features

  • In-depth treatment of the four main areas of communication - verbal/nonverbal, interpersonal, group, and public speaking - offers students a comprehensive introduction to the discipline.
  • Seamless integration of Canadian social and cultural references throughout makes the material relevant to students in this country.
  • Links theory to real life through a balanced treatment of communication theory and its real-world applications.
  • Engaging, student-friendly writing style talks to students, not at them presenting material clearly without being overly simplistic.
  • The latest information on cutting-edge topics such as technology, gender, and cultural diversity, as well as communication styles and methods makes this the most up-to-date text of its kind.
  • Engaging case studies focusing on communication challenges that arise in everyday life encourage students to make connections between the subject matter and their own experiences.
  • Extensive box program:
  • New Communicating Online boxes show students how to use social media and other online communication tools effectively in both personal and professional contexts.
  • Critical Thinking Probe boxes encourage students to think more deeply about aspects of human communication.
  • Understanding Diversity boxes highlight multiculturalism by addressing topics of interest to Canada's diverse student population.
  • Understanding Communication Technology boxes focus on topics such as cyberbullying, digital distraction, and how to use social media to find a job.
  • Cultural Idiom boxes offer marginal definitions of cultural idioms to help English as an Additional Language (EAL) students make sense of colloquial expressions.
  • Updated Communication on Screen boxes feature examples from popular films such as Argo and Silver Linings Playbook, demonstrating the important role communication plays in our everyday lives.
  • Updated Young Communicator Profile boxes feature successful Canadian communicators in various high-profile positions, inspiring students to pursue one of the many career paths open to successful communicators.
New to this Edition
  • Appendix on persuasive professional writing prepares students for writing in the workplace with coverage of news releases, op-eds, blogs, and briefing notes. (Appendix I)
  • Appendix on communicating for career success guides students through the process of interviewing for a job - including conducting background research, making a good impression, and preparing thoughtful answers to common interview questions. (Appendix II)
  • Thorough updates throughout provide a current and engaging introduction to human communication.
  • New full-colour design includes new photographs, informative new figures and tables, new cartoons, and thought-provoking quotations.