The Social Penetration Theory By Irwin Altman & Dalmas Taylor

1431 WordsMay 8, 20176 Pages
Communication is an essential aspect of day to day life. It allows individuals to understand others and be understood as well. Additionally, communication allows people to develop relationships and gain a deeper understanding of themselves as well as themselves. As humans continuously create and interpret messages, studying the theory of communication provides a means of understanding how communication works, what it produces, and what alters the way it works (CITATION). In this paper I will discuss how the social penetration theory explains the development of closeness in relationships. The social penetration theory was developed in 1973 by Irwin Altman & Dalmas Taylor. Social penetration is the developing intimacy within a relationship…show more content…
This means that certain reactions will take place in the presence of specific stimuli (CITATION). As this theory treats communication as interactional, it causes communication to be viewed as a cause and effect process. This model uses communication as tool that enables communicators to produce a desired effect. The effectiveness of an interactional model is determined by the ability to transmit a message (CITATIOn). What enables this theory to be evaluated as a successful objective theory is its relative simplicity, ability to predict future outcomes, and its ability to explain the reasons for the outcome (CITATION). Out of the six criteria that a theory must meet in order to be considered good, these are the three that I will elaborate on. What makes this theory unique is the relative simplicity that can be attributed to its onion metaphor. This metaphor suggests that humans have an outer layer that is the public and presented “Self” and increasingly deep layers that are more private and personal. “Individuals have many layers that collectively form the total personality of the individual” (CITATION FROM SECOND ARTICLE). Similar to looking at a physical onion, the outer layer is the visible layer, the same can be said of the peripheral layers of a person. This layer is visibly assessable. The outer layers act as protection. These layers protect the more vulnerable “true self” (CITATION
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