THE INNER EDITOR: The Offense and Defense of Communication by J. Stephan Jellinek

THE INNER EDITOR: The Offense and Defense of Communication

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In this generally accessible but unexceptional book, market researcher Jellinek discusses the central aspects of ""structural communication""--how the impact of a' speaker's message can be significantly determined by the structure of that message. The technique is especially relevant to advertising (he cites early Max-Pax test commercials) but the implications for other fields (education, sociology, politics) are clear; equally effective but more disturbing is its potential for baser purposes--as demonstrated in Milgram's Obedience to Authority shock experiments at Yale. Initially Jellinek introduces the image of the personal computer--the inner editor--which selectively processes external realities; he also distinguishes between raw and prestructured experiences, using the Herrmann-Laucht lab results as evidence of the power of suggestion. Throughout he makes relevant distinctions and recognizes the complexity of perception as he considers offensive and defensive strategies (repetition and promises; alert questioning), structural conventions (number dominance), and ways of opposing them. For the last he suggests that Nader's Unsafe at Any Speed not only undermined the auto industry's credibility but also changed people's expectations and increased the respectability of the consumer movement. An ambitious, somewhat overblown analysis with many gray-flannel examples, of interest to both consumers and their less conspicuous manipulators.

Pub Date: March 14th, 1978
Publisher: Stein & Day