Information Manipulation Definition

Steven A. McCornack published this theory in COMMUNICATION MONOGRAPHS, Volume 59 in March of 1992. His theory collaborates studies, information and concepts from other communication theorists who have also presented theories regarding deceit and manipulation in interpersonal communication.

He declares his theory revolutionary from all of those before him because “no theory of any kind has been introduced as a basis for examining information manipulation, or the different observable forms of deceptive messages” (McCornack, p.1). His theory still holds legitimacy today, and it is still regarded as one of the most prominent explanations of information manipulation in Communication Studies today.

In effort to summarize the merits of this theory, McCornack defines his theory as such:

Information Manipulation Theory suggests that deceptive messages function deceptively because they covertly violate the principles that govern conversational exchanges. Given that conversational interactants possess assumptions regarding the quantity, quality, manner and relevance of information that should be presented, it is possible for speakers to exploit any or all of these assumptions by manipulating the information that they possess so as to mislead listeners.


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