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The Newcomb’s Model

THEODORE M.NEWCOMB (July 24, 1903)  in Rock Creek, at the northeastern tip of Ohio and he was a great pioneer in the field of social psychology. Merely 50 years he worked for the improvement of human motivation, perception and learning to shape the deep understanding of social process. In 1929, he started his professional career in the department of psychology at University of Michigan. In 1931, he moved to Cleveland College, University of Western Reserve from University of Michigan. In 1934, he got a great offer from New Bennington College in Vermont which caused remarkable changes in his rest of his professional career. His works “Personality and Social Change” (1943), “Social Psychology” (1950). He published a new social approach in field of communication which is called “ABX” system (later it became Newcomb’s model) and it’s published in the name of “An Approach to the Study of Communicative Acts (1953)”. He published another great work in the field of social psychology called “The Acquaintance Process” (1961).

The New Comb’s model of communication was introduced by Theodore M Newcomb of the University of Michigan in 1953. He gives different approach to the communication process. The main purpose of this theory is to introduce the role of communication in a social relationship (society) and to maintain social equilibrium within the social system. He does not include the message as a separate entity in his diagram, implying it only by use of directional arrows. He concentrates on the social purpose of communication, showing all communication as a means of sustaining relationships between people. Sometimes it’s called as an “ABX” model of communication.

The Newcomb’s model works in a triangular format or A-B-X system

A – Sender

B – Receiver

X – Matter of Concern

The relationship between A and B is like student and teacher, government and public or newspaper and readers. Sender and Receiver may work in a same flow but the same time some factor like “X” may affect their flow of relationship.  “X” it may be third persons, issue, topic or policy.

For Example:

Teachers introduce a new policy to increase the college timing from 6 hours to 8 hours.

A – Teachers     B – Students    X – Policy or issue
If both students and teachers are satisfied with this policy then the communication maintains its equilibrium status between them. Otherwise the flow of communication between “A” and “B” becomes trouble in the social system. If “A” or “B” is not ready to accept the policy then it will directly affect the social system and can’t maintain the equilibrium status. So Teachers”A” can convince students “B” as much as possible. Otherwise they have to make some adjustments in the Policy “X” and convince them towards the policy.

{ 38 comments… add one }
  • Barbara McNeal November 14, 2011, 4:56 am

    When we speak of communications what exactly is comminications as a whole? What is the definition of communication?

  • Feroz November 20, 2011, 8:25 am

    Communication means transferring messages from one to another. But there are various factor which involves in communication like feedback, channel, noise, gatekeeper, censorship ect…,

    Any type of communication – “Sender and Receiver is always constant”

  • sandra Talah November 23, 2011, 2:03 am

    cool infos

  • Annie November 24, 2011, 6:03 am

    What are advantages and disadvantages of this model?

  • Mukut Aggarwal January 16, 2012, 6:17 pm

    this triangle as a whole represent our social circle within which we exist and communicate each other.. more over the tendency of human being is the main thought that this model is going to explain..

  • Santanu March 11, 2012, 10:01 pm

    Thanx for this sincere effort.

  • Petros Zivengwa June 7, 2012, 11:01 pm

    Thanks for the work.It is nice

  • amit solanki September 1, 2012, 2:49 pm

    please can someone give more examples of abx model,…as in everyday life..some live examples

  • gaurav September 3, 2012, 10:41 pm

    Can any body give 5 examples based on this this newcombs model?

  • raymond November 24, 2012, 4:02 pm

    how will you explain the chart?

  • kaliisa June 13, 2013, 5:49 pm

    thanx,if you don’t mind please put more details

  • GIBRIL MAKICHE November 11, 2013, 10:47 am

    What if the two sides will not agree on the matter? does-this theory have some weakness?

  • colline November 15, 2013, 9:27 pm

    I thought according to abx model, communication is the learned response to strain. but again in the explanations that are given, there is little concept about the strain part. for instance, communication between two people that agree to the same issue will be easy and thus in many cases, communication may seem not to be available or existing. But in cases where the parties are going to be having different views about something, every party will be in need to convincing the other party that what one party is talking about is the best idea and thus communication will be effective and will take place for quite a long period of time. corrections are appreciated if any……

  • Devi Arvian November 17, 2014, 12:02 am

    Understanding each other

  • Taimoor Younus December 10, 2014, 11:19 pm

    Newcomb’s essence of life was his ABX model. He was the first who focused the communication cycle insted of discussing message or MCR just like Laswell.

  • islam mohmand February 16, 2015, 5:37 pm

    its the best way how to know the communication process and Newcomb’s Model is easiest Model To show The relax and full info to students

  • sarkiripo rongpi October 13, 2015, 7:38 pm

    explanation is too short …. if you can give a little bit explanation it will be better for us to understand….any way thanks i got A handful information from these

  • Governor September 10, 2016, 11:54 pm

    Is there any other model that criticizes this model?

  • Fride Meza November 29, 2016, 3:25 pm

    Good explanation but it is short not all element have been explained eg massage

  • Tanga moses March 5, 2017, 12:33 pm

    good ,iv enjoyed the information about ABX thank u.

  • GODFFREY DANIEL March 8, 2017, 9:27 pm

    what are the advantages and disadvantages of this model?

  • Sally Beat Msafi October 5, 2017, 7:25 pm

    Can some one please explain this model in a simpler diagrams

  • sagar Panwar October 21, 2017, 2:09 pm

    Thanks for the work

    Good I’ve enjoyed the information about ABX thanks u.
    What are the advantage and disadvantage of the modal?

  • Uchemba Victor March 31, 2018, 11:20 am

    Does this model have any disadvantages?

  • Priceless May 4, 2018, 11:25 am

    Thanks for this but please elucidate more on this.

  • SIMON July 14, 2018, 5:36 pm

    i think the Newcomb’s model is well elaborated in our daily lives especially when making decisions that involves two or more parties concerning a particular matter

  • Upasana November 19, 2018, 11:14 pm

    Very nice and easy explanation..
    Amazingly easy to understand.

  • Palak November 23, 2018, 10:33 pm

    What is the basic relevence to all these communication models?

  • lulu March 31, 2019, 7:01 pm

    whats the applicability of this model to any scientific based organisation

  • Immaculate April 8, 2019, 6:02 pm

    How does this model appy in a newspaper

  • Nancy April 11, 2019, 9:05 pm

    How can this model be applied in a newspaper

  • gulemye abdallar September 6, 2019, 1:02 pm

    according to me new cobweb concerned more on the sender,receiver and the topic but forgot to think about some elements of communication like communication channel and feed back

  • junithpaida October 5, 2019, 12:25 am

    this theory is applicable to a greater extent but it did not mention the strengths and weaknesses

  • temitope October 16, 2019, 8:23 pm

    please what are advantages and disadvantages of this theory
    we need to know because this is not educative enough

  • Khaled Alyami January 17, 2020, 4:56 pm

    Thank you thank you thank you…

  • diya October 1, 2020, 6:56 pm

    what are the advantages and disadvantages of this model?

  • RICHMOND March 16, 2023, 10:45 am

    This is insightful!

  • LEAKEY KELEMBU October 9, 2023, 10:32 am


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