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Uncertainty Reduction Theory- Katie Corbin & Haley Sudduth- COMM 301


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Uncertainty Reduction Theory- Katie Corbin & Haley Sudduth- COMM 301

  1. 1. Uncertainty Reduction Theory Charles Berger Katie Corbin and Haley Sudduth
  2. 2. 1.     Overview
  3. 3. Uncertainty reduction theory…focuses on how humancommunication is used togain knowledge and createunderstanding.
  4. 4. •  “The beginnings of personal relationships are fraught withuncertainties.”- Berger
  5. 5. 2.     Reasons why we want to reduce uncertainty
  6. 6. 2. Incentive value1.  Anticipation of they have future something we want interactionwe know we will seethem again 4. We have a natural 3. Deviance: curiosity when meeting they act in a someone new. weird or odd way   5. To “make sense” of our interpersonal world
  7. 7. 3.     UCR: to predict and explain
  8. 8. Predictability is the opposite of uncertaintyAspredictabilityincreases,uncertaintydecreases,and vice versa.Predictability and uncertainty have an inversely proportional relationship.
  9. 9. Attribution theory explains how people draw inferences about the character of others based on observed behavior.We constantly draw inferences aboutwhy people do what they do. Ashumans, we need to predict ANDexplain their behavior.
  10. 10. Two kinds of uncertaintyBehavioralandCognitive (the one URT focuses on)Uncertainty reduction: more knowledge of the kind ofperson someone is will help youpredict how future interactions with them will turn out
  11. 11. 4.     An Axiomatic Theory: Certainty about Uncertainty
  12. 12. 8 key variables ofrelationship development:verbal communication,nonverbal warmth,information seeking,self-disclosure,reciprocity,similarity,liking,& shared networks
  13. 13. Axiom:a self-evident truththat requires noadditional proof
  14. 14. Axiom 1: Verbal Communication As verbal communication between strangers increases, uncertainty for each will decrease. As uncertainty is reduced, verbal communication will increase. at 1:09)
  15. 15. Axiom 2: Nonverbal WarmthAs nonverbal warmth(expressiveness)increases,uncertainty levelswill decrease in aninitial interaction. Decreases in uncertainty level will cause increase in nonverbal expressiveness.
  16. 16. Axiom 3: Information Seeking High levels of uncertainty cause increases in information-seeking behavior. As uncertainty decreases, information-seeking behavior decreases. (0:34-2:06)
  17. 17. Axiom 4: Self- DisclosureHigh levels ofuncertainty in arelationship causedecreases in theintimacy level ofcommunication content. Low levels of uncertainty produce high levels of intimacy.
  18. 18. Axiom 5: ReciprocityHigh levels of uncertainty producehigh rates of reciprocity.Low levels of uncertainty producelow levels of reciprocity.
  19. 19. Axiom 6: SimilaritySimilarities between individuals reduce uncertainty, while dissimilarities produce increases in uncertainty.
  20. 20. Axiom 7:Liking Increases in uncertainty level produce decreases in liking. decreases in uncertainty produce increases in liking.
  21. 21. Axiom 8: Shared Networks Shared communication networks reduce uncertainty, while lack of shared networks increases uncertainty.Relationships in relative isolation tend to have higher levels of uncertainty.
  22. 22. 5.     Theorems: The Logical Face of Uncertainty Axioms
  23. 23. Theorem:a proposition that logicallyand necessarily follows fromtwo axioms. 28 theorems that give you the big picture of interpersonal development.
  24. 24. The intersection shows: the number of Berger’s theorem and the correlation between the two variables. A plus sign (+) shows that the two variables rise or fall together. A minus sign (-) indicates that as one increases, the other decreases.
  25. 25. 6.     Message Plans to Cope with Uncertain Responses
  26. 26. (Focuses on The thought processes people go through in order to produce the messages they speak) Most social interaction is goal-driven. “How do individuals cope with theMessage plans: inevitable uncertainties theymental representations must face whenof action sequences that constructingmay be used to achieve messages?goals
  27. 27. class activity4 Situations: 1. parent/child 2. boyfriend/girlfriend 3. online dating 4. roommate
  28. 28. Strategy 1: Seeking Informationthree approaches we can use to find outhow others might react to our messages…Passive strategy: form impressions by watching how aperson interacts with others.Active strategy: form impressions by asking a thirdparty about a personInteractive strategy: impression formation throughface-to-face discussion with a person; quickest routeto reducing uncertainty
  29. 29. Strategy 2: Choosing plan complexityPlan complexity:the level of detail the plan includes andthe number of back-up plans prepared incase the original one doesn’t work
  30. 30. Strategy 3: HedgingThe use of strategic vagueness and humorto provide a way for both parties to saveface when a message fails to achieve itsgoal
  31. 31. Strategy 4: Hierarchy Hypothesis The prediction that when people are dissatisfied in their attempts to achieve goals, their first tendency is to alter lower- level elements of their message
  32. 32. 7.     Anxiety/Uncertainty Management (AUM) Theory
  33. 33. AUM theory says thath i g h l e v e l s o funcertainty and anxietylead to greatermisunderstanding whenstrangers don’tcommunicate mindfully
  34. 34. AUM theory Differs in 5 significant ways from Berger’s URT • Anxiety: the feeling of being uneasy, tense, worried or apprehensive about what might happen • Effective communication » End goal of AUM theory is effective communication rather than closeness or relational satisfaction » Effective communication is the extent to which a person interpreting a messages does so in a way that’s relatively similar to what was intended; minimizes misunderstanding. • Multiple causes of anxiety/uncertainty • Lower and upper thresholds for fear and doubt » There’s a balance for fear and doubt, and in that balance is where we actually communicate • Mindfulness » According to AUM, the process of thinking in new categories, being open to new information, and recognizing multiple perspectives
  35. 35. 8.     Critique: Nagging Doubts about Uncertainty
  36. 36. PositivesThe linkages between the theorems is seen as ablueprint for building solid relationships
  37. 37. NEGATIVES•  Reliance on the concept of uncertainty and the assumption that we are all motivated to reduce it•  Glitch in theorem 17 –  involves axioms 3 and 7 –  Axiom 3 is the problem•  Disagree with Berger’s claim that uncertainty reduction is the key to understanding early encounters –  Sunnafrank insists that the early course of a relationship is guided by its predicted outcome value (POV). The primary goal of our initial interaction with another is maximizing our relational outcomes rather than finding out who he or she is. –  Predicted outcome value: a forecast of future benefits and costs of interaction based on limited experience with the other.
  38. 38. Additional Research The Facebook phenomenon: online self-disclosure and uncertainty reduction First Comes Love, Then Comes GoogleMore self-disclosure on one’s FB page leads to less perceiveduncertainty about the individual
  39. 39. Photo links