Types of communication in psychology - what they include, its functions

A person is in the process of communicating with the outside world throughout his life. It all starts from birth and ends at the moment of death. A person communicates with people for personal purposes, for example, gaining experience or knowledge, increasing social status, or getting what they want. In close people he sees joy or consolation; he can turn to them with any request or ask for help in case of misfortune.

In such cases, a process of communication between two or more people occurs. They exchange information and share experiences. Psychologists distinguish several types of communication, depending on the goals and intentions of a person.

Content component of the communication process

Communication is a way to convey information to others. Therefore, one of the classifications is based on the content of statements.

  1. Material - in addition to verbal skills, material objects are exchanged for the implementation of any activity. Material communication often occurs between close people, for example, the transfer of household items or purchases in a store. The purpose of such interaction is to satisfy urgent human needs.
  2. Cognitive serves to transmit various information. Aimed at broadening horizons and sharing experiences. During the conversation, skills and abilities can be discussed. More common in professional environments.
  3. Conditioning – aimed at influencing a person’s emotional state. Manifests itself as providing moral support and consolation.
  4. Motivational – goal – motivating a person to perform actions, achieve goals.
  5. Activity – combines communication and implementation of practical actions. In the process of such communication, experience, skills and abilities are exchanged.

Several types are often combined: it all depends on the degree of closeness of people and the type of their relationship.

The concept of communication and its role in the development of humanity

There are many theories and points of view on communication problems. Soviet scientists made a significant contribution to the study of this phenomenon, as well as to social psychology in general. Their experiments and experiences, carried out in the middle and second half of the last century, became classic examples of the peculiarities of communication and people’s perception of each other, as well as the scientific basis for subsequent scientific research.

Interpersonal and intergroup interaction is the area of ​​human activity in which psychological difficulties most often arise.

It is extremely important for every person to be able to interact competently and effectively with other people.

In addition, it can act as a separate, relatively independent occupation. After all, people do not always talk to each other with the goal of inventing, controlling, and carrying out a joint action.

The transmitted verbal or nonverbal signal can be both informational and affective-evaluative in nature. It is believed that it was the need of our distant ancestors to transfer knowledge to each other, not only through signs and shouts, that served as the main reason for the development of human speech. Animals interact with each other, but speech is unique to humans.

The characteristics of communication between different people and groups depend on the extent to which the subjects of interaction have a pressing need for social contacts. The need to be involved, to belong and to interact developed in the process of phylogenesis, the socio-historical development of humanity.

Interestingly, satisfying the need for social contact supposedly led to the birth of such a wonderful feeling as joy. Joy is still the leading motive that motivates people to interact with each other.

Features of communication that can bring pleasure and joy are its humanity and democracy. Rude, disrespectful interaction, ignoring and manipulation are immoral and do not fit into the principles of communication that usually guide a cultured person.


  • self-esteem;
  • respect for the interlocutor, recognition of his rights and interests;
  • tolerance, tolerance;
  • justice, honesty;
  • unbiased attitude towards people.

Communication goals

When analyzing communication, psychologists also take into account the goals that a person has set for himself.

  1. Biological – satisfies the natural needs of a person, maintains the vitality of the body.
  2. Social – aimed at communication with other people. This type of communication helps a person improve, increases his status in society and strengthens social contacts.

A person cannot limit himself to one of the above types of communication. Because people live in society and communication with others allows them to improve their skills and abilities, and learn new things.

Summing up

It should be noted that the above types of communication can very rarely occur in life in a solitary form. They mix with each other, forming a new species. Each type of communication is necessary for the proper formation of human society. While in society, a person must be able to communicate correctly with others and behave like a full-fledged, healthy person.

In order to find a common language with the outside world, you need to be aware of what type of communication is acceptable in a particular area.

Communication means

To implement communication skills, a person uses means that become the basis for one of the classifications.

  1. Direct - the organs and parts of the body given to a person by nature are involved - the mouth, vocal cords, arms, legs. No other available means are used.
  2. Indirect – additional possibilities are used to carry out communication. This type includes the use of a mobile phone, computer and other technical devices.
  3. Direct – people communicate with each other in person.
  4. Indirect – interaction occurs with the participation of third parties. This is negotiation, spreading rumors or another way of transmitting information.

There is a simplified classification by means, in which psychologists distinguish two large groups:

  • verbal - realized with the help of speech statements and is the leading one in a person. This method expands communicative capabilities, but it cannot completely exclude the use of pantonymic means;
  • non-verbal - carried out through facial expressions, gestures and transmission through bodily or sensory contacts. This type of communication occurs in some animal species. Nonverbal communication is innate and it is aimed at achieving mutual understanding on an emotional level. An important skill is listening.

Nonverbal communication is used to communicate with deaf and mute people because they do not have the ability to use verbal means.

What happens?


Communication is of the following types:

  1. Interpersonal . In this case, participants communicate in an informal setting. Communication is not influenced by social status or position held, it is personal in nature.
  2. Functional-role . Such communication is regulated by the social roles of its participants - for example, leader and subordinate, teacher and child, seller and buyer.

In the process of communication, communication can move from functional-role to interpersonal and vice versa. This property is often used in business.

Other types of communication

There are types of social interaction that are not included in these classifications:

  • business – found in a professional environment. During it, issues of career and specific skills are addressed. Through business communication, people make business contacts or successfully negotiate;
  • educational - in the process a person tries to influence the behavior of the interlocutor. A common example is the raising of a child by parents;
  • diagnostic - a person tries to form a certain opinion about a person or obtain the necessary information. An example of such interaction is a conversation between a doctor and a patient;
  • instrumental - its participants pursue the achievement of a specific goal, in addition to receiving pleasant emotions from the communication process itself;
  • personal – people touch on topics that are personally interesting to the interlocutor. The goal is to strengthen personal relationships or realize one’s own goals.

A person uses all types of communication to develop in all areas of life. Then he will feel contentment and inner harmony.

Components: briefly

What are the components of communication? Psychologist G. M. Andreeva proposed a division of communication into the following components, regardless of what functions it performs and what goals it pursues:

  • communicative side - exchange of information between participants;
  • interactive side - interaction of participants;
  • the perceptual side is mutual understanding between the participants.

Communication of any type contains one or all of the listed components.

Number of participants in the communication process

Several people can take part in a conversation, but not all participants will communicate with each other.

  1. Personal-group or socially oriented - the initiator interacts with each member of the group. In the process, personal and group goals and objectives are formulated and reviewed. An example of personal-group communication is communication between a boss and his subordinates.
  2. Interpersonal or person-oriented - in the process of interaction with a person, the interlocutor seeks to get to know him better or obtain the necessary information. Participants in communication may view each other as equal partners or tools to achieve their goals.
  3. Intergroup – contact between two groups. Their goals and objectives may coincide, which will allow them to solve large-scale problems. Or the views are opposite, which will result in conflict. Examples of intergroup communication are sports fan meetings or graduation discussions between several classes. Each team member is the bearer of a group task and can defend the interests of all its members.

A person can interact with one interlocutor or a couple of people, or with a large number of others. Everything is determined by the goals and objectives of communication and the social status of the interlocutors.

The importance of communication in ontogenesis

In ontogenesis (individual human development), the role and characteristics of communication are no less important than in phylogenesis. The development of an individual is impossible without interaction with other people.

Newborn babies, not knowing how to speak, already react to the voice and affection of an adult, and later begin to smile back at him. Later, the so-called revitalization complex appears - the first form of interaction of a new person with his own kind.

Forms of communication that arise in the process of ontogenesis:

Directly emotional

When a baby develops a revival complex, he does not yet interact with his parents as an equal partner, but expresses his attitude through facial expressions and gestures: he cries and laughs, is surprised and frightened, and so on. Such forms of communication are characteristic of infants up to the first year of life.


The child interacts with people by manipulating objects and playing. The baby extends his hand when he wants to take or give something, and understands that in order to establish contact he needs to get closer to the person. This form of interaction undergoes significant changes, but is generally maintained during the first six years of life.

Extra-situational intimate-personal

It appears by the end of preschool age, but the main forms of this communication develop already in the puberty period (puberty).

Forms of communication undergo changes as an individual grows and matures; they are combined and complemented differently in different individuals.

Without a child’s contact with adults, he will not be able to develop as a person.

The importance and necessity of communication between a child and his parents cannot be overestimated. Relationships with parents are the foundation, guideline and measure by which all subsequent connections of a person with people, society, and himself will be measured.

Types and forms of communication are formed especially intensively in adolescence. This is the age of active interaction with peers, the time of first love and the formation of the self-concept.

The teenager’s activities become multifaceted, the content of communications and actions is enriched. A qualitatively new level of forms and types of interaction between young people contributes to the development of awareness, responsibility, independence and personality as a whole.

The structure of communication affects the structure of personality. Violation or lack of interaction with people invariably leads to a transformation of the individual’s “I”. Personality changes that are not for the better (including pathological ones) cannot but affect the ability to interact and understand other people and oneself.

Classification according to E.I. Rogov

E.I. Rogov identifies 3 dominant types of social interaction: imperative, manipulative and dialogical.


In the psychology of communication it is called authoritarian or directive. It is based on the desire of one person to subjugate another. This manifests itself in the desire to control his thoughts and behavior in order to perform the necessary actions.

An authoritarian personality does not view their partner as a person with their own opinions and emotions. In imperative communication, a person does not hide his desire to subjugate another.


It has similar features to directive. His goal is similar, but the manipulator hides his true intentions. The partner is perceived as a person who has the necessary skills and qualities.

Manipulators often become victims of the communication they choose. He begins to perceive himself as one of the participants and his actions are assessed from the outside. A person becomes confused in his intentions and loses his inner core. The manipulator is characterized by deceit, constant self-control, loss of interest in the environment, a cynical attitude, mistrust and boredom.

Psychologists distinguish 4 types of manipulative communication:

  • active – control is carried out through active influence. A person takes advantage of his social status. His main life principle is to be in charge everywhere and manage everyone;
  • passive - the manipulator plays the role of the helpless, allowing people to provide him with help and support. Adheres to the principle of not annoying others;
  • competitive – for a person, life is associated with constant competition, a chain of victories and defeats. He sees himself as a fighter, so those around him are perceived as potential rivals and enemies. His main life goal is to win at any cost;
  • indifferent – ​​the manipulator portrays detachment, indifference, and therefore tries to avoid social contacts. Uses alternately active and passive means. Tries to reject the care of others.

Psychologists classify imperative and manipulative types of communication as monologue. A person views his interlocutor as a tool to achieve a goal, ignoring his emotions and desires. Therefore, the manipulator communicates with his own tasks and goals.


This form is the opposite of the imperative and malipulative options, because it is based on the equality of its participants. It is based on humanistic principles and in dialogue the interlocutors try to achieve mutual understanding and get to know the other person better. To implement a dialogic form of communication, a number of conditions must be met:

  • attuned to the emotions and psychological state of oneself and the interlocutor;
  • trust in the interlocutor without assessing his personality;
  • participants in the dialogue perceive each other as equal interlocutors with the right to their own opinion. Each of them recognizes the other's right to make decisions;
  • during the conversation, participants look for common problems and unresolved issues;
  • communicating with a person on one’s own behalf, expressing one’s thoughts and feelings.

Dialogue is considered the perfect form of communication, which allows you to reveal a person’s character and establish trusting relationships on a deep level. A person must be psychologically prepared for such interaction and perceive the interlocutor as an equal participant in the dialogue.

What determines the choice of communication style?

The choice of form of address to the interlocutor is usually determined by his social status, personal characteristics, purpose and situation of the communication process. Psychiatrist A. Dobrovich, when conflicts arise, recommends moving to a higher level of communication than that of the interlocutor. This technique disarms the opponent and allows you to enter into a normal dialogue with him.

Human resource management - what it is, principles and functions of the process

The scientist identifies seven levels or types of interpersonal communication in accordance with the criterion of “ethical impeccability.” The lowest and most undesirable in this typology is primitive interaction, the most effective is spiritual communication.

Important! A person may not be fully aware, but he always feels, at least at the subconscious level, whether he, his fate and interests are valuable to the interlocutor, and reacts accordingly: he behaves more aggressively, manipulatively, or drops his masks and begins to cooperate.

Manipulative level of communication

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