Social Penetration - Kyle Boelsen Intro to Comm Paper#4...

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Kyle Boelsen Intro to Comm Paper #4 Social Penetration Theory The Social Penetration Theory is an explanation by two communication theorists, Irwin Altman and Dalmas Taylor. This theory attempts to explain how relational closeness develops. Since we all have hundreds of different relationships, with thousands of different people during our lifetime, it is an important theory to study and understand. The Social Penetration Theory can be compared to an onion. The comparison stems from the idea that an onion has many layers, just like a human’s personality. There is an outside layer that is visible to everyone, but underneath that there are several layers that get deeper and deeper. All of us have met people for the first time, and have formed our first impression. Many times, however, our thoughts and ideas about them may change in a positive or negative way, when we get to know them better. The degree to which we get to know people is directly related to self- disclosure. People find out more about you by the information you are willing to disclose about yourself, and you learn more about others who are willing to disclose things about themselves. The things you choose to share about yourself, and the detail you go into about those things, are referred to as the breadth and depth of your relationship. People will choose to disclose more
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