Uncertainty Reduction Theory

Uncertainty Reduction Theory - Prepared by Rowie...

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Prepared by Rowie Kirby-Straker for COMM 250, UMCP © 2011
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Objectives: Uncertainty Reduction Theory (URT) Goal (purpose) of URT Concepts of URT URT assumptions Explanation of URT (axioms and theorems included) Research generated from URT How URT defines communication What are URT’s metatheoretical assumptions?
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Historical Perspective Charles Berger and Richard Calabrese (1975) Initial Interaction Theory Seminal article: “Some explorations in initial interaction and beyond: Toward a developmental theory of interpersonal communication ” (1975) First interpersonal communication theory grounded in the discipline
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Historical Perspective (cont’d) Communication researchers were at the time interested in social interaction, self- presentation, and self-disclosure URT was inspired by the work of several renowned researchers, including: Leon Festinger (CDT, social comparison theory) Fritz Heider (naïve psychology, attribution theory) Kurt Lewin Claude Shannon (information theory) Warren Weaver
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Goal of URT To explain: How uncertainty in initial encounters between strangers is reduced by communication To predict: Communication behavior of strangers in initial encounters What are the theory’s boundary conditions? NOTE: URT is a laws theory
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Concepts of URT Cognitions – beliefs and attitudes Uncertainty: cognitive uncertainty: doubts people harbor about their own beliefs/attitudes and those of others behavioral uncertainty: doubts about their own actions as well as the actions of others Relates to extent of predictability of behavior
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Related Concepts URT is related to these communication concepts: Verbal output Non-verbal warmth Information seeking Self disclosure Reciprocity of disclosure Similarity
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Assumptions of URT In interpersonal settings people experience uncertainty Uncertainty is aversive resulting in
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Uncertainty Reduction Theory - Prepared by Rowie...

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