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This chapter once again introduced a large number of new technical terms, and this time they were mostly from the discipline of physics. Concepts like dynamics, attractor, coupled, perturbations etc make more sense if the reader has a knowledge of physical forces, for…
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Chapter 7 Critique This chapter once again introduced a large number of new technical terms, and this time they were mostly from the discipline of physics. Concepts like dynamics, attractor, coupled, perturbations etc make more sense if the reader has a knowledge of physical forces, for example, but for those who do not have this knowledge, it can be hard to follow the theoretical sections. Fortunately, there are some good examples which help to link the theory with media and how people related to them. The example of water/ice/steam and different phases, is very helpful because it illustrates non-linear physical and emotional states in a memorable way. An important feature of this chapter is that it assumes that the reader is familiar with material that has been presented in all the preceding chapters. The abstract ideas are critical here, but they rest on concepts that have already been thoroughly discussed such as resource allocation ( p. 8) and perception, action and cognition (p. 9).
2. The close link between media and physics was something of a surprise, since most f the earlier chapters were more concerned with biology, but on reflection this is the missing piece of the puzzle that makes all the earlier concepts hang together. Humans are made up of physical atoms, and the concept of forces interacting in the environment in a dynamic way helps to explain some of the interesting variables in media studies, like for example why some people react in one way to a media stimulus, (e.g. being scared at a horror film) while others act in another way (e.g. just laughing at the fake blood). A lot of factors contribute to how people feel about the horror film, and this was interesting.
3. The chapter ended with an intriguing statement about uncovering “a science of human communication that is applicable across media, cultures and environments” and I would like to have heard more about this. I suspect that such a science would be very technical, and hard to follow, since the abstract concepts are not easy to remember without concrete examples, but nevertheless this does explain the point behind all this heavy theorizing. I think perhaps the authors should have made this objective clearer at the beginning of the book. Some of the lengthy theory sections might have made more sense if the reader had been aware of this final objective.
4. We talked in class about the weather, as an example of how dynamic interaction takes place and this was a good way of teasing out the relationship between ever changing variables. I liked the example of a person playing video games as an illustration of how the same individual can experience the same stimulus in different ways, depending on all kinds of environmental factors, such as tiredness, prior experiences etc. I think this is a useful line of thinking for exploring how media can cause unexpected results, like for example the famous example of American citizens believing that the world had been invaded by Martians when they heard the fictional radio program of War of the Worlds.
5. This chapter had a good balance between media and other content, and it all made sense, thanks to the examples.
6. This is one of the best chapters in the whole book because it draws together what has been explained before, and makes it all into one coherent theory. I think it does not need to be changed at all.
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