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7.5 Summary

PLEASE NOTE: This book is currently in draft form; material is not final.

We discussed many ways to gain a better understanding of your group members. To begin, it is important to understand yourself: your attitudes, beliefs, and values. It is also helpful to understand the processes that influence perception and listening. There are many individual differences in the ways people perceive things. Demographic traits such as age, gender, and employment can determine people’s interests, needs, and goals. Effective communication involves recognizing these differences in perception and practicing fairness in delivering your message to your group or team. Finally, an important dimension of group communication is the ability to receive messages from others through active listening.

Chapter Review Questions

  1. Interpretive Questions

    1. How does listening limit or expand our view?
    2. How does our internal monologue influence our listening?
    3. In what ways, if any, are all group members the same?
  2. Application Questions

    1. What are some of the ways people demonstrate listening among people you know? Identify a target sample size (20 is a good number), and ask members of your family, friends, and peers about they know someone is listening to them. Compare your results with those of your classmates.
    2. What impact does technology and specifically the cell phone have on listening? Investigate the issue and share your findings.
    3. Investigate two ways to learn more about your group members and share them with your classmates.

Additional Resources

Explore the website of the National Association for Self-Esteem.

Forum Network offers a wealth of audio and video files of speeches on various topics. Listen to a lecture titled “Selective Attention: Neuroscience and the Art Museum” by Barbara Stafford, Professor of Art History, University of Chicago.

Explore the website of the journal Perception.

Visit this site to learn more about the Gestalt principles of perception.

Visit to read an article by Kendra Van Wagner on the Gestalt Laws of Perceptual Organization.

Visit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s site to read about demographic traits and their relationship to environmental issues. offers a collection of articles about understanding your audience when you design a website.

Read more about active listening on this MindTools page.

Consider these academic survival tips provided by Chicago State University.

A collection of articles and other resources to assist in improving listening and other communication skills.

PLEASE NOTE: This book is currently in draft form; material is not final.