Round Research #3: How is misunderstanding produced and exerted?

Misunderstanding also relates to communicators who deliver messages. So the main purpose of this round research is to discuss impacts of the communicator.


  • In 1990, Elizabeth Newton earned a Ph.D. in psychology at Stanford by studying a simple game in which she assigned people to one of two roles: “tappers” or “listeners.” Tappers received a list of twenty-five well-known songs, such as “Happy Birthday to You” and “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Each tapper was asked to pick a song and tap out the rhythm to a listener (by knocking on a table). The listener’s job was to guess the song, based on the rhythm being tapped. (1)
  • Before the listeners guessed the name of the song, Newton asked the tappers to predict the odds that the listeners would guess correctly. They predicted that the odds were 50 percent.(1)
  • Over the course of Newton’s experiment, 120 songs were tapped out. Listeners guessed only 2.5 percent of the songs: 3 out of 120. (1)
  • The Misconception of transparency illusion: When your emotions run high, people can look at you and tell what you are thinking and feeling. (2)

  • The Truth: Your subjective experience is not observable, and you overestimate how much you telegraph your inner thoughts and emotions. (2)

  • The illusion of transparency is our tendency to overestimate how well other people can discern our emotional state. This cognitive bias is attributed to people’s inability to properly adjust from the anchor of their own point of view when attempting to take another person’s perspective. (3)
  • The illusion of transparency occurs because people have a natural egocentric bias, which causes them to rely too heavily on their own perspective when trying to consider the perspective of others. (3)
  • We always know what we mean by our words, and so we expect others to know it too.  Reading our own writing, the intended interpretation falls easily into place, guided by our knowledge of what we really meant.  It's hard to empathize with someone who must interpret blindly, guided only by the words. (4)
  • Hatim and Munday (2004:6) define translation as “the process and the product of transferring a written text from source language (SL) to target language (TL) conducted by a translator in a specific socio-cultural context together with the cognitive, linguistic, cultural and ideological phenomena that are integral to the process and the product”. In a similar way, Lawendoski (cited in Seago 2008:1) sees it as the transfer of “meaning” from one set of language signs to another. Nida (cited in Basnett 2002) explains the process of translation as the decoding of a source text (ST), the transfer of this information and its restructuring in a target text (TT). (5)



Many people think that their communication with others is "transparent'', especially with person who is intimate. On the one hand, they always feel that they have made themselves very clear. On the other hand, they also believe that even if their expressions are not clear enough, they can still accurately guess the meaning from some obvious needs and ideas.

People often fail to realize that there is a discrepancy between what they see in themselves and what they actually show to themselves. Sometimes, the difference between your different expressions - frustration, worry, confusion, disappointment, may not be as big as you think. You think your expression is clear enough for the other person to know that "I am a little hurt by what you say'', but the other person may interpret your meaning as "I do not care what you said".

One considers himself always right when he's speaking and others consider themselves right that they've got the accurate information, the misunderstanding happens.




  1. "Tappers and Listeners" ... An Excerpt From One Of My Favorite Communications Books and a Story I Tell Clients Often. (2016, November 29). Retrieved February 14, 2018, from
  2. The Illusion of Transparency. (2015, July 20). Retrieved February 14, 2018, from
  3. The Illusion of Transparency: Why You Are Not As Obvious As You Think You Are. (n.d.). Retrieved February 15, 2018, from
  4. Illusion of Transparency: Why No One Understands You. (n.d.). Retrieved February 15, 2018, from
  5. (n.d.). Retrieved February 15, 2018, from



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