Excess Noise Knowledge Base

Definitions for those who work in communications and perception


Awareness is a state of continuous cognizance. We are receiving a set of signals which, over time paint a scene in our minds.

Cognizance is only as good as your sensory abilities. To a deaf person, the advertisement’s jingle or the shopping mall’s background music is useless; it is not a part of the communications process because the target is unaware of the signal. Highway billboards with tiny writing are useless unless you have telescopic, stroboscopic and photographic vision. A teacher with a 40db voice is inaudible when smothered by 80db ambient noise, no matter how good your hearing. If the signals are too weak, there will be no cognizance.

All that exists (by definition, all that is real) emits signals; cognizance and awareness makes them a part of the communications process. Communications analysts spend much time identifying, describing, measuring, recording and comparing signals and determining how perceptible they are to their intended targets at the moment of cognizance. They call this aspect of the process the inventory.

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This glossary of definitions is not intended as an academic reference. It is an exercise in thinking on our part. We hope to grow it and welcome any suggestions you may have.