What Is Frank Dance’s Communication Model?

Frank Dance designed the helical model of communication in 1967 to provide a more thorough look at the communication process. He viewed the system as working like a helix, or a smooth curve shaped like a spring, moving both upward and downward.

One example commonly used to describe this model is the fact that an infant begins communicating as soon as he enters the world. He starts to cry, and if he does not, the nurse rubs him or provides some other stimulus. Crying is his first form of communicating to other people, and initially it shows that he is healthy. As time goes by, he learns to cry to get his parent’s attention, either for food, comfort or simply for the parent’s focus. Later, communication changes to words.

Frank Dance’s paradigm of communication supposes that an individual’s communication starts at birth and goes on to the present time. As communication moves forward, it also reaches backward, drawing on memories and impressions from earlier points in time. While the behaviors of the past undergo changes before the present, they also inform present actions and events. Errors in communication teach the individual what to alter before future communication. One example involves a teenager gradually eradicating the nervous tics from his communication.