The Communication of Expectations and Individual Understanding; preprint version

Loet Leydesdorff loet at LEYDESDORFF.NET
Mon Nov 25 02:02:42 EST 2013

The Communication of Expectations and Individual Understanding:

Redundancy as Reduction of Uncertainty, and the Processing of Meaning



Purpose: This paper presents the case for a supra-individual analysis of
communication as a means of rendering the understanding of learning and
acting tractable, and introduces a method of analysis of redundancy to
achieve it.

Approach: A distinction is made between Maturana's "languaging" and human
language. Mathematical and empirical approaches are discussed: (i) the
computation of anticipation enables us to model meaning processing, and (ii)
the feedback of meaning processing on information processing can be measured
as redundancy. This paper contributes to the theme of the issue by moving
from an emphasis on agency towards reflection from the perspective of
hindsight. In meaning-processing systems, future states can drive
reconstructions reflexively. 

Implications: The social system can be considered as a symbolic order of
coordination mechanisms. Reflexive agency can access this order and partake
in it. However, expectations and their structures do not "exist" as res
extensa, but remain res cogitans with the status of hypotheses. Historical
embodiment and action are structurally coupled to the order of expectations
in the instantiations; the instantiations condition and enable the further
development of the expectations.

Originality/value: The modeling and measurement of meaning processing in
terms of inversion of the arrow of time and the generation of redundancy
provide extensions to the mathematical theory of communication. 


Loet Leydesdorff,[1]* Mark Johnson,[2] and Inga A. Ivanova [3]


Preprint version available at

** apologies for cross-postings



Loet Leydesdorff 

Professor, University of Amsterdam
Amsterdam School of Communications Research (ASCoR)

 <mailto:loet at> loet at ;
Honorary Professor,  <> SPRU, University of
Sussex; Visiting Professor,  <>
ISTIC, Beijing;

Visiting Professor,  <> Birkbeck, University of London.



[1] Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR), University of
Amsterdam, Kloveniersburgwal 48, 1012 CX Amsterdam, The Netherlands;
loet at ; * corresponding author

[2] Institute for Educational Cybernetics, University of Bolton, Deane Road,
Bolton, BL3 5AB, United Kingdom; mwj1 at

[3] Far Eastern Federal University, School of Business and Public
Administration, 8 Sukhanova St., Vladivostok, 690091, Russia;
inga.iva at

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