The Expectancy Violations Theory And Human Norms

1299 WordsNov 10, 20156 Pages
We have all heard the maxim “stick to the status quo.” The desire to adhere to societal norms influences our everyday actions and largely shapes how we interact with others. What happens when we stray from the norm and do something unexpected? For this assignment, Professor Striley, after explaining the expectancy violations theory, challenged her students to apply its concepts to violate a stranger’s expectations in public and record the subsequent response. Through this activity, I learned firsthand that low communicator reward valence potential could cause a seemingly ambiguous violation to seem negative. In this paper, I will first explain the expectancy violations theory and describe the expectancy my group violated for the assignment. Next, I will apply four concepts from the expectancy violations theory to my group’s violation. Finally, I will address my own reactions to my group’s violation and how it has further shaped by understanding of communicator reward valence and the expectancy violations theory as a whole. The expectancy violations theory is “about what happens when we act differently than others predict we will act” (Striley, 2015, p. 5). This fixed prediction stems from the idea that individuals generally adhere to social norms, which can be defined as “rules indicating how individuals are expected to behave in specific situations” (Striley, 2015, p. 7). For example, most people would not wear footie pajamas to a job interview because they
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