D. Lawrence Kincaid (born 1945) is a senior advisor for the Research and Evaluation Division of the Center for Communication Programs and an associate scientist in the Faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.[1]

Education and career

Kincaid received his B.A. (1967) in psychology from the University of Kansas. In 1967–1969, he was a Peace Corps volunteer in Colombia and facilitated community development and cooperative organization. He earned his M.A. (1971) and Ph.D. (1972) in communication from Michigan State University. In 1973, he joined the East-West Communication Institute at the East-West Center in Honolulu, Hawaii, and worked as a research associate under the directorship of Wilbur Schramm. He was also an associate professor in the Department of Communication at the State University of New York at Albany.

In the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Kincaid was founding director of the Research and Evaluation Division of the Center for Communication Programs from 1988 to 1997. He was also instrumental in establishing the Interdepartmental Health Communication Program and served as the first director. He has been involved in health communication programs in Asia, Latin America, and Africa for 30 years.


Kincaid is best known for his convergence model of communication,[2] a nonlinear model of communication wherein two communicators strive to reach "mutual understanding." He proposed the model in his 1979 East-West Communication Institute Monograph (Paper No. 18) and detailed it in his book, Communication Networks: Toward a New Paradigm for Research (Free Press, 1981) with Everett Rogers. In recent years this model has been particularly popular among proponents of development communication.

Kincaid identified seven epistemological biases that had characterized the dominant Western models of communication: (1) a view of communication as linear rather than cyclical; (2) a message-source bias rather than a focus on relatedness and interdependence; (3) an analysis of objects of communication in a manner that isolates them from larger contexts; (4) a concentration on discrete messages instead of silence, rhythm, and timing; (5) a concentration on persuasion rather than understanding, agreement, and collective action; (6) attention to individuals rather than relationships; (7) a model of one-way mechanistic causation rather than mutual causation.[3]

Kincaid also developed new methods for multivariate causal attribution analysis of communication impact, the communication for participatory development model, the ideational model for behavior change communication and evaluation, computer programs to analyze the multi-dimensional image of audience perceptions, computer simulation of social networks for the theory of bounded normative influence, and drama theory to measure the impact of entertainment-education programs.[4]

Kincaid is a co-author of Health Communication: Lessons from Family Planning and Reproductive Health,[5] considered by many as a seminal book on the topic of health communication. He edited Communication Theory: Eastern and Western Perspectives,[6] which won the 1988 Outstanding Book Award from the Intercultural and Development Communication Division of the International Communication Association.



  1. ^ http://www.jhuccp.org/research_bios Archived 2012-02-13 at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ D. Lawrence Kincaid (2002). Drama, emotion, and cultural convergence, Communication Theory, 12(2): 136–52.
  3. ^ D. Lawrence Kincaid (1979). The Convergence Model of Communication (East-West Communication Institute Paper No. 18). Honolulu, HI: East-West Center.
  4. ^ http://www.jhuccp.org/research_bios Archived 2012-02-13 at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ Phyllis Tilson Piotrow, D. Lawrence Kincaid, Jose G. Rimon, Ward Rinehart, with Kristina Samson (1997). Health Communication Lessons from Family Planning and Reproductive Health, Westport, CT: Greenwood. ISBN 978-0-275-95577-9.
  6. ^ D. Lawrence Kincaid (1987). Communication Theory: Eastern and Western Perspectives (Human Communication Research Series). San Diego, CA: Academic Press. ISBN 978-0-12-407470-5.