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UNCERTAINTY REDUCTION THEORY Charles Berger & Richard Calabrese (1975) Goal was to explain how communication reduces uncertainties between strangers engaging in initial interactions The later version added the idea of 2 different types of uncertainty Cognitive uncertainty – associated with one’s own beliefs and attitudes Behavioral uncertainty – associated with behavioral practices What people say and do Assumptions of Uncertainty Reduction Theory People experience uncertainty in interpersonal settings Uncertainty is an aversive state, generating cognitive stress When strangers meet, their primary concern is to reduce their uncertainty or to increase predictability Interpersonal communication is a developmental process that occurs through stages Interpersonal communication is the primary means of uncertainty reduction The quantity and nature of information that people share change through time
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Unformatted text preview: Axioms of Uncertainty Reduction Theory Axiom 1: As the amount of verbal communication between strangers increases, the level of uncertainty for each person in the relationship will decrease Axiom 2 : As nonverbal expressiveness increases, uncertainty will decrease. Axiom 3: High levels of uncertainty cause increases in information-seeking behavior Axiom 4: High levels of uncertainty in a relationship cause decreases in the intimacy level of communication content Axiom 5: High levels of uncertainty produce high rates of reciprocity Axiom 6 : Similarities between persons reduce uncertainty. Axiom 7 : increases in uncertainty level produce decreases in liking Application of Uncertainty Reduction Theory A recent study tested how well URT could explain the process of uncertainty management that adoptees engage in about their birth parents...
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