2.4     INTERFERENCE IN COMMUNICATION

According to Devito (2009), there are several types of “noise” that might interfere with the communication process: 

These interferences or noise may distract and prevent the receiver from paying full attention to the message. When this happens, the message may not be heard and interpreted fully or correctly. Similarly, interferences may cause the speaker to lose concentration and this can lead to incomplete or erroneous communication on the part of the sender. As a result, receivers will interpret the messages wrongly and not as intended by the speaker.

2.4.1     Physical Interference

This kind of interference is external and outside the control of both the speaker and the receiver. It affects the physical transmission of the message. Examples are noise disturbances like loud music (please refer to Figure 2.9), the sound of traffic from a busy road, static coming from a faulty loudspeaker system, or loud drilling from a nearby construction site. 

 

  Figure 2.9: Loud music
Source: Elmbridge Borough Council. (Administrator). (2010). Image of a guitar [Clip art],
Retrieved
January 25, 2010, from: http://www.elmbridge.gov.uk/envhealth/noise/loudmusic.htm

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2.4.2     Physiological Interference

These are barriers to communication due to physiological challenges on the part of the speaker or the receiver. The speaker or receiver may be hearing-impaired, have speech articulation problems, or suffer from short-term memory loss. Even if a speaker delivers his message clearly and loudly, a listener who has hearing problems will not be able to understand and receive the message fully. On the other hand, if a sender speaks with a lisp and cannot pronounce the /r / and /s/ sounds properly, the listener may not be able to understand what has been said.

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2.4.3     Psychological Interference

This type of interference stems from the mental makeup of the receiver or sender, and includes biases, prejudices, narrow-mindedness, and extreme emotional behaviour. For example, if you are emotionally distracted or preoccupied, you may find it hard to understand a message. Feelings like anger or hatred may also interfere with how you interpret a message.

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2.4.4     Semantic Interference

These barriers include language, dialectal and cultural differences. When these interferences are present, the speaker and listener operate on different meaning systems. What the speaker says can be interpreted differently, thus resulting in misunderstanding. A computer analyst may use the word “mouse” to refer to the device used to navigate a computer screen. However, a computer illiterate person may interpret the word “mouse” to be a rodent (please refer to Figure 2.10).

 

 

Figure 2.10: Mouse (computer device)
Source: Parallels Optimized Computing. (Administrator). (2009). Image of a mouse [Photograph], Retrieved January 25, 2010, from:http://kb.parallels.com/en/5854
Source:Free Clipart Pictures. (Administrator). (2010). mouse [Clip art], Retrieved January 25, 2010, from:http://www.freeclipartpictures.com/clipart/animals13.htm

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ACTIVITY 2.5

  Audio 2.1 Types of Interference

Listen to the audio conversations and identify the type of interference in communication involved in each case.

Please click the play button.

Dialogue 1    

Dialogue 2    

Dialogue 3    

Dialogue 4    

Dialogue 5