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Expectancy Violations Theory


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Chapter 6

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Expectancy Violations Theory

  2. 2. PERSONAL SPACE: DEFINITION <ul><li>At the heart of this theory is the notion of “personal space” and our reactions to others who seem to “violate” our sense of personal space, which the theory defines as the: </li></ul><ul><li>Invisible, variable volume of space surrounding an individual that defines that individual’s preferred distance from others </li></ul><ul><li>This is a “soft determinism” theory, that does not claim to hard-core universal laws. It grows out Hall’s theory of proxemics. It covers expectations about distance, touch, intimate communication, as well as aspects of the content of communication </li></ul>
  3. 3. THEORY <ul><li>Personal space varies according to cultural norms and individual preferences </li></ul><ul><li>Personal space represents the balance between conflicting needs for affiliation and privacy </li></ul><ul><li>Sometimes violating space expectations is a more effective communication strategy. </li></ul><ul><li>The “success” or “failure” of violations are linked to perceived attraction, credibility, influence and involvement </li></ul><ul><li>Can be extended to other aspects of behavior </li></ul><ul><li>Context and purpose of interaction are relevant, as </li></ul><ul><li>are the communicator characteristics of gender; relationship; status; social class; ethnicity and culture </li></ul>
  4. 4. Summary of theory <ul><li>Expectancies influence interaction </li></ul><ul><li>Violations arouse/distract recipients </li></ul><ul><li>Violations draw attention to violator and to meaning of the violation </li></ul><ul><li>A person who feels well-regarded by their audience, feels safer in risking violation, and is more likely to be rewarded </li></ul>
  5. 5. EDWARD HALL’S PROXEMICS <ul><li>Spatial interpretation is outside awareness </li></ul><ul><li>4 proxemic zones are: </li></ul><ul><li>Intimate 0-18 inches </li></ul><ul><li>Person 18 inches – 4 feet </li></ul><ul><li>Social 4 – 10 feet </li></ul><ul><li>Public 10 feet to infinity </li></ul>
  6. 6. KEY CONCEPTS <ul><li>Deviations cause arousal (modified to “orienting response”) and force review of relationship with the other, though “arousal” no longer seen as necessary to causal chain. </li></ul><ul><li>Expectancy : that which is anticipated will happen </li></ul><ul><li>Violation valence (net worth, value) refers to positive or negative value given to violation by the recipient </li></ul><ul><li>Communicator reward valence is the sum of the positive and negative attributes that a person brings to an encounter plus the potential he/she has to reward/punish in the future. This will influence the recipient’s reaction to violation. </li></ul>
  7. 7. RECOMMENDATIONS FOR ACTION <ul><li>If you assess your communicator valence for the other person is negative do less than expected (e.g. in case of those with “punishing power”) </li></ul><ul><li>If it is positive , do more than expected </li></ul><ul><li>Ethical issues arise when one party has knowledge of violations behavior and other does not </li></ul>
  8. 8. CRITIQUE <ul><li>Not good for specific predictions regarding touch outcomes Does not account for prevalence of reciprocity in interpersonal interactions Does not indicate whether communicator valence or behavior valence is the more important Alternative explanations are possible for author’s responses to his four students: e.g. to do with the impact of their requests on his personal time and commitments </li></ul>