uncertainty reduction theory

uncertainty reduction theory - The Uncertainty Reduction...

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The Uncertainty Reduction Theory By Amanda Fitzhugh February 19, 2008 Comm 250 TR 4:00
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Have you ever walked into a situation and suddenly become filled with uncertainty about the other person? When first introduced to a new group of people, or even a stranger, we all seem to get this overwhelming feeling of anxiety. Think about it, when you begin to walk towards that one person we find ourselves interested in, our palms become sweaty, our heart beats faster, and those unavoidable moments of awkward silence begin to overwhelm us. We often become nervous and anxious around those we don’t know due to our uncertainty of the other person and where the relationship may be headed; will we ever talk again, will they be my friend, my enemy? The Uncertainty Reduction Theory by Charles Berger helps explain how we can reduce the uncertainty when coming face to face with individuals for the first time. The Uncertainty Reduction Theory is applied to new relationships among individuals and suggests there are three general stages of communication strategies: passive, active, and interactive. The passive strategy stage occurs when an individual observes another from a distance. Take for instance when we develop crushes on other individuals. We often sit back and watch them during class, or when we are out at parties but never make our presence known to them; for we are only observing and don’t want to reveal anything because our levels of uncertainty are still extremely high. After we’ve observed individuals from a distance, Berger suggests that we then enter the passive strategy stage. We begin to ask friends about that certain someone, trying to gain as much information about them as we can. We begin to find out activities they are involved in or classes they take, and before we know it we are creating situations in which we can observe that person. We begin participating in the same activities as them, or join the same
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class, maybe even begin to sit at the same table as them in the dining hall. Once the situation has been set up where we observe the individual on a higher level, we enter the interactive stage and finally communicate directly with that person. For instance we say “hi” to them in class, begin small talk at the lunch table finding out their name, where they
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This note was uploaded on 04/09/2008 for the course COMM 250 taught by Professor Campbell during the Fall '07 term at Christopher Newport University.

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uncertainty reduction theory - The Uncertainty Reduction...

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