Communication Models

3. Becker’s Mosaic Model

Sam Becker presented a mosaic model of communication, arguing that traditional concept of the message has severely limited usefulness for understanding contemporary communication. The model explains the complexity of human communication. This mosaic consists of an immense number of fragments or bits of information on an immense number of topics.  These bits are scattered over time and space and modes of communication. Each individual must grasp from this mosaic those bits which serve his needs, must group them into message sets which are relevant for him at any given time, and within each message set must organize the bits and close the gaps between them in order to arrive at a coherent picture of the world to which he can respond.
Becker assumes that most communicative acts link message elements from more than one social situation. In the tracing of various elements of a message, it is clear that the items may result in part from a talk with an associate, from an obscure quotation read years before, from a recent TV commercial, and from numerous other dissimilar situations—moments of introspection, public debate, coffee-shop banter, daydreaming, and so on. In short, the elements that make up a message ordinarily occur in bits and pieces. Some items are separated by gaps in time, others by gaps in modes of presentation, in social situations, or in the number of persons present.”
Becker links complex communicative events to the activity of a receiver who moves through a constantly changing cube or mosaic of information . The layers of the cube correspond to layers of information. Each section of the cube represents a potential source of information; note that some are blocked out in recognition that at any given point some bits of information are not available for use. Other layers correspond to potentially relevant sets of information.”

Components of Becker’s Mosaic Model of Communication

  • Empty cells- Unavailable messages or sources
  • Vertical layers- Set of similar messages
  • Cells- Messages and sources

Advantages of the Becker’s Mosaic Model of Communication
• The mosaic model of communication shows the complexity of communication and says communication is dynamic.
• The model explains why the exposure to message varies.
• The model also talks about individual differences between people.
• The message is said to be interpreted in comparison to the information available and relationship of the bit of information.

Disadvantages of the Becker’s Mosaic Model of Communication
• The mosaic model of communication does not explain many dimensions like environmental and social.
• The new bits of information are useless if the last bits are lost.

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