The Theory Of Social Penetration Theory

1010 WordsSep 30, 20165 Pages
Selected Theory: Social Penetration Theory was created by Irwin Altman, the professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Utah, and Dalmas Taylor, who was provost and professor of psychology at Lincoln University before he passed away. This theory is used to describe the way people grow closer in a “gradual and orderly fashion from superficial to intimate levels of exchange as a function of both immediate and forecasted outcomes” (Altman & Taylor, 1973, pg. 96), which the authors of the theory used to connect people to onions. They did this not to assert that people cause tears or emit offensive odors, but rather to establish a visible metaphor for the layers of intimacy that are peeled back as the people involved in the relationship get to know each other. The main route to this layer-peeling is, according to the theory, self-disclosure which involves the voluntary sharing of personal information such as personal history and values. Before the two people involved in the act of social penetration disclose anything beyond the first superficial layer of themselves they begin to evaluate their relationship according to the minimax principle of human behavior, which states that humans seek to maximize their benefits while minimizing their costs. This principle applies to Social Penetration as it determines, to some extent, what the depth of penetration will be for the two parties. If they see their relationship as more benefit than cost according to their comparison
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