1. In the simplest transmission models of communication (in which a sender transmits a message to a receiver), a person who receives the message, or more broadly the audience for the message. This is the most common meaning of references to receivers in communication contexts (listeners, readers, viewers). Sometimes distinguished from addressee on the basis that the receiver is not necessarily the intended reader. The term is often criticized for connoting passivity. See active audience theory; see also addresser and addressee; reception theory; sender/receiver.
2. In Shannon and Weaver's model of communication (1949), the element which changes the transmitted signal into a message that it forwards to the destination. Weaver notes that in speech communication the receiver would be the ear ‘and the associated eighth nerve’ of the listener. In subsequent information theory, whatever converts a physical signal into a usable form.
3. (communications technology) A device that detects and decodes an electromagnetic signal sent from a transmitter which is modulated to carry encoded information: e.g. a telephone, a radio, or a television set (see also decoder).
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