Information Theory


Reserved Reading: Littlejohn. Chapter 1

Griffin. Chapter 4 Information Theory

WHAT IS COMMUNICATION? Central to all human life. It is the exchange of information or opinions.

WHAT IS A THEORY? A theory is someone’s conceptualization of an observed set of events. Conceptualization is a thought or idea. A theory is the scholar’s construction of what an experience is like, based on systematic observation.

Communication theory refers to the body of theories for understanding the communication process.

It is a process of thoughts or ideas to systematically analyze an observed set of events where information or opinions are exchanged.

Everyone tries to make sense out of their own experience. We assign meaning to what is going on in and around us. Sometimes the meaning is shared, sometimes its not. Sometimes the meaning or experience is clear, and other times vague or contradictory.

By developing an understanding of the variety of theories to explain communication, students can interpret communication experiences in more flexible, useful and discriminating ways. This is a widening of perception. The basic justification for studying theories of communication is that they provide a set of useful conceptual tools.


Based on the work of a Bell Telephone Company research scientist named Claude Shannon. It was a mathematical theory of signal transmission to minimize distortion. Information theory deals with message fidelity, multiple channels, information loss, s ource credibility and feedback.

An executive and consultant to a number of private scientific foundations named Warren Weaver wrote an essay using Shannon’s model that suggested whatever the communication problem, reducing information loss was the solution. The theory was popularize d in 1940 but it is still the first standard description all communication students learn in their first communication course. It is the basics of what happens when one person talks to another.

Telus example of a cellular phone and information loss

Mathematical formula I=log2 1/p

Information theory is a linear model of communication.

The original information theory model contains eight elements.

Information - Message -Transmitter - Signal - Channel - Noise -Receiver - Destination


According to the model, information loss happens during every step of the process.


A Drive Through The Brown Bag Express

An Answering Machine Film Clip "SWINGERS"

E - Mail