Salience (language)

Salience is the state or condition of being prominent. The Oxford English Dictionary defines salience as “most noticeable or important.” The concept is discussed in communication , semiotics , linguistics , sociology , psychology , and political science . It has been studied with respect to interpersonal communication , persuasion , politics , and its influence on mass media .


In semiotics (the study of signs or symbolism), salience refers to the relative importance or prominence of a part of a sign . The salience of a particular signifies the importance of the importance of the information and the importance of the information. This process is an important one for being overwhelmed with information overload .


Meaning Can Be Described as the “system of mental representations of an object or phenomenon , ict properties and associations with other objects and / or phenomena. In the consciousness of an individual, meaning is reflected in the form of sensory information, pictures and concepts . ” [1] It is denotative or connotative , but the concept of transmitting meanings may be uncertain or decoded.

Further, meaning is socially constructed and dynamic as the culture evolves. That is problematic because an individual’s frame of reference and experience may produce some divergence from some of the prevailing social norms . So the salience of data will be determined by both situational and emotional elements in a relatively unique to each individual. For example, a person with an interest in botany May allocate Greater salience to visual data Involving plants, and a person trained as an architect May scan buildings to Identify features of interest. A person’s world view or Weltanschauungmay be predisposed to salience to data matching those views. Because people live for Many Years, responses Become conventional . At a group or community level, they are slowly becoming embedded in the sign systems and culture, and they can not be arbitrarily changed. For example, the first thing seen in a poster may be the title or picture of a face.

Communication studies

Salience is the critical concept, along with the agenda and spin, for the Persuasion Theory of Professor Richard E. Vatz of Towson University as articulated in his book, / The Only Authentic Book of Persuasion /, (Kendall Hunt, 2012, 2013). Salience, in his book and articles, is used as a measure of reality. He claims (1973) (2013) that the struggle for salience is the sine qua non of the persuasive process. [2]

Axioms of salience

Communication scholars have found that a number of different factors have a direct effect on the salience of attitude objects.

Direct experience

William Crano posits that one’s direct experience with an issue or an attitude increases the salience and the potency of that attitude , and the level of consistency between attitude and behavior . quote needed ]

For example: Considering two people: one with emphysema, one without. Both of whom share a negative attitude towards cigarette smoking. The person with emphysema would have a stronger attitude than his counterpart, and would like to show greater consistency between his attitude and behavior. It is posited by Crano that the attitude towards smoking of the person with emphysema may be more salient due to his direct experience with the consequence of smoking.


The concept called vested interest by Crano is called self-interestby Sears (1997). It seems that “self-interest” is the more widely recognized term. Self-interest is either perceived or actual personal consequences. That is, Crano (1997) argues that while Sears (1997, a critic of Crano) counter-argues that Crano’s survey results define it objectively. Crano argues that the subject should have a moderating effect on attitudes. Sears argues that, actually, evidence for this is conflicting: The survey literature has rarely found significant effects of self-interest, while the experimental literature finds significant effects. The literature is concerned with salience only marginally; it is actually about strength of attitudes (ie, how well they correlate with behavior). It is about salience inasmuch as anything ”

Needs and aspirations

The salience (prominence) of an attitude can be measured by the relevance of an idea to that person’s needs or aspirations. [3] As they become more accessible , the more accessible the attitude object is the stronger the attitude towards the object. As accessibility increases, so does the likelihood of self-interested voting (Young).

For example: In times of elections, Therefore, candidates, due to their aspirations for a certain political position are interested in the salient events since they are favorable to their party.

Policy making

Political science is relatively important because it is relatively important in political policy , because it is important to know how important it is to be important. This is important and is important. ” One research agenda that political scientists are concerned with “when and how salience and changes in salience matter for political action.”

There are three related understandings of salience.

  1. The first (“classical”) interpretation considers salience to be independent of the ” status quo ” and politicians’ ideal policies and programs. Although it is salient, it does not say that salience is independent of preferences. This means, where there is a change in salience there is also a change in preferences. Often a player or policymaker ‘s ideals may not be known but their preferences are usually revealed in their party’ s manifestos. Often policymakers can not achieve their goals but rather They may prefer one over the other and this is where a party gets a political party’s position on an issue.
  2. The second (” valence “) interpretation proposed that for certain issues salience is a very important factor. In other words, where there is a general consensus of principles , the relative salience of various issues and the position of policy makers. This is due to constraints in policy making, where ideals are often induced, which policy makers view the tradeoff space. For example, “ideally” they may like to see low unemployment and low inflationthey are usually constrained to pick a position on the “tradeoff” line. Thus, their ideal has been induced to constraints. These situations are almost interchangeable, because their “induced ideal” is their “favored allocation.” Clarification needed ] In the classical interpretation, salience Would Be used to describe the different levels of preference entre positions were policies .
  3. The third (“price”) interpretation assumes that salience is not separate from ideals, as the classical view states, but that is also the case, as the valence view claims. This interpretation assumes that although a group of players, sharing benevolent preferences, all dissatisfied with the status quo, may still be worth different aspects The price interpretation is favored over the other two for three reasons. First, it is more applicable. Unlike the classical view, the price interpretation can be applied to a wider range of situations. Second, the price interpretation uses both the classical and the salient points of view. Not only do you need to know a player’s weighted preferences but also their connection to their ideal point and the status quo . Therefore, a change in salience can reflect a change in ideal point, status quo, or their weighted preferences. Third, this interpretation can be used to determine the elements stand in importance or worth. For example, players can organize and focus their time and energy into options with the biggest pay off. “That is they can look to see where they get the greatest ‘bang for their buck.'” [4]

Public opinion

A particular study clarification needed ] which researched salience and public opinion is most of the agenda-setting research since the United States presidential election, 1968 which has been concerned with how the public salience of the issue is related to mass media ‘s ranking of These issues in terms of frequency of coverage and news play. The main hypothesis examined in this study is the ranking of certain issues by the media, which, in time, becomes the public agenda. More importantly, the article looks at the public perception of the public deficit. such as writing letters, signing petitions, voting, etc. ” The result of this study Concluded That “even though the federal deficit outcome Was one of the more salient to newspaper and voters During the 1988 election , it (the federal deficit budget) Was not as emotional or dramatic as Reviews some of the other highly salient issues such as drug abuse or environmental pollution. Thus it seemed likely that public opinion about a federal budget deficit might be more or less likely to be more stable during the period of interviewing. “In other words, issues that directly involve subjects, in this study, would be more important than issues that do not involve them directly.

Stimulus Marketing

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Is it a stimulus response, is it a stimulus quality or an absolute quality? [5] Salience plays an important role in intergroup communication. According to Harwood, Raman and Hewstone, “Group salience is a key variable both in influencing quality of intergroup contact and in moderating the effects of intergroup contact on prejudicial attitudes.”

In their study of family communication and intergroup relationships, “Group salience is an individual’s awareness of group memberships and respective group differences in an intergroup encounter (eg, the salience of race in an interracial conversation).” [6]This study carefully examines the dynamics of intergroup relationships with respect to communication in a family context. Their study involved communicative aspects associated with age salience in the grandparent – grandchild relationship, the extent to which various dimensions of communication predicted measures of salience, relational or inter – family proximity, and attitudes toward aging. According to Harwood, Raman and Hewstone, “Communication phenomena that have been positively correlated with measures of salience have been negatively related to relational closeness. older people.[6]

Salience also from an applied communicative perspective plays an important role in our Consumer – Marketing world. In Gianluigi Guido’s book, The Salience of Marketing Stimuli: an incongruity – salience hypothesis on consumer awareness , “salience triggered by an external physical stimuli, like all marketing stimuli are before being internalized by consumers – to explain and predict the conditions under which a marketing stimulus, is able to achieve its communication outcomes in terms of processing and memory. ” [5]The book clearly defines the history of the definition of salience and the ambiguities of an accurate definition. It also uses various theories to best define salience in our marketing world. Of the many theories, Guido uses aspects of Incongruity theory, Schema theory and an information processing model referred to the In-salience hypothesis emphasizes the nature of prominence of salience.

“This model is part of a larger Dichotic theory of salience, according to which a stimulus is salient when it is incongruous in a certain context to a perceiver’s schema, or when it is congruent in a certain context to a perceiver’s goal. Four propositions of the model, in-salient stimuli are better remembered, affect both attention and interpretation, and are moderated by the degree of understanding (ie, activation, accessibility, and availability of schemata), and involvement (ie, personal relevance of the stimuli) [] [5]

Therefore, to define salience as possible using the information, it would be apt to define it as such, that is, that intrinsic concept of the perceived or prominence of an attitude, and its manifestation on our choices.


  1. Jump up^ Bedny, G. & Karwowski, W. (2004) “Meaning and sense in activity theory and their role in the study of human performance”. International Journal of Ergonomics and Human Factors. (26: 2, 121-140.)
  2. Jump up^ Richard E Vatz, “The Myth of the Rhetorical Situation,” Philosophy & Rhetoric No. 6. 3 (Summer 1968): 157. Quoted from The New Rhetoric; Perelman, 116-117. and Richard E Vatz,The Mythical Status of Situational Rhetoric: Implications for Rhetorical Critics’ Relevance in the Public Arena. The Review of Communication 9 no. 1 (January 2009): 1-5.
  3. Jump up^ Showers, C., & Cantor, N. (1985). Social Cognition: A look at motivated strategies. Annual Review of Psychology, 36, 275-305.
  4. Jump up^ The new shorter Oxford English dictionary. 1993. New York: Oxford University Press
  5. ^ Jump up to:c Guido Gianluigi (2001). The Salience of Marketing Stimuli: An incongruity – salience hypothesis on consumer awareness. Kluwer Academic Publishers.
  6. ^ Jump up to:b Harwood, J. Raman, P., & Hewstone, M. (2006, July). The Family and Communication Group Dynamics of Salience. Journal of Family Communication, 6 (3), 181-200. Retrieved July 29, 2008, doi : 10.1207 / s15327698jfc0603_2