An experimental method for inquiring into communication



An experimental method for inquiring into the organization of an act of communication is presented, the basic idea being to create an interactional setting where one of the basic prerequisites for successful communication is not satisfied. In this particular design, the subjects interact under the false belief that they are sharing the same ‚here'. (In mean the subjects interacted more than a quarter of an hour before any doubt or suspicion about the situation was expressed, indicating that our manipulation had been successful.) During the subjects trying (1) to ‚diagnose' their communicative difficulties, and (2) to apply different ‚therapeutic tools' in order to improve their communication, one is in a very good position to study the impact from a variety of basic phenomena upon communication. It is argued that this situation may well be applied as a ‚standard experimental method'. And an experiment where this method revealed interesting differences in the communication between couples having and couples not having a schizophrenic offspring is discussed.