D. Lawrence Kincaid

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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 among communication theorists as the proponent of the 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.


  • Kincaid, D. L. (1979). The convergence model of communication (East-West Communication Institute Paper No. 18). Honolulu, HI: East-West Center.
  • Kincaid, D. L. (1985). Recent developments in the methods for communication research. Journal of East and West Studies, 14(1), 89-98.
  • Kincaid, D. L. (1987). The convergence theory of communication, self-organization, and cultural evolution. In D. L. Kincaid (Ed.), Communication theory: Eastern and Western perspectives (pp. 209–221). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
  • Kincaid, D. L. (1988). The convergence theory of intercultural communication. In Y. Y. Kim & W. B. Gudykunst (Eds.), Theories in intercultural communication (pp. 280–298). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
  • Kincaid, D. L. (1993). Communication network dynamics, cohesion, centrality and cultural evolution. In W. B. Richards & G. A. Barnett (Eds.), Progress in communication sciences (Vol. 12, pp. 111–133). Norwood, NJ: Ablex.
  • Kincaid, D. L. (2000). Mass media, ideation, and behavior: A longitudinal analysis of contraceptive change in the Philippines. Communication Research, 27(6), 723-63.
  • Kincaid, D. L. (2002). Drama, emotion and cultural convergence. Communication Theory, 12(2), 136-52.
  • Kincaid, D. L., Yum, J. O., Woelfel, J., & Barnett, G. A. (1983). The cultural convergence of Korean immigrants in Hawaii: An empirical test of a mathematical theory. Quality and Quantity, 18(1), 59-78.
  • Barnett. G. A., & Kincaid, D. L. (1983). Cultural convergence: A mathematical theory. In W. B. Gudykunst (Ed.), Intercultural communication theory: Current perspectives (pp. 171–194). Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.
  • Rogers, E. M., & Kincaid, D. L. (1981). Communication network: Toward a new paradigm for research. New York, NY: Free Press.


  1. http://www.jhuccp.org/research_bios.
  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.
  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.