Uncertainty Reduction Theory

3285 WordsApr 21, 201414 Pages
It is a common fact of life that with every new day, individuals are infused with a number of uncertainties; some small and miniscule, such as meeting a student next to you in a classroom, while others life-changing and pivotal, including switching careers or becoming a parent. As each new unpredictable day arises, uncertainty fills the air, constantly swarming one’s emotions and daily interactions. While factors of uncertainty revolve around routinely aspects, Charles Berger and Richard Calabrese (1975) narrowed their focus and devised a theory specifically on uncertainty and interpersonal communication. By studying how human communication is used to gain knowledge and create understanding, Berger and Calabrese unveiled the first…show more content…
By acknowledging the two different types of uncertainties one may face in interpersonal communication, the Uncertainty Reduction Theory translates this information into three situational parameters that enhance people’s desire to reduce such levels of uncertainty (Berger, 1975). The first condition is deviation, which claims that when an individual violates our expectations, we wish to reduce uncertainty as a way compensating for what we least expected. The second parameter is anticipation of future interaction, which means individuals seek to reduce uncertainty with someone whom he/she knows they may see again. And lastly, control over resources, or sometimes known as incentive value, explains that one wishes to reduce uncertainty because that individual has something you want or need (Knobloh, 2008). According to the Uncertainty Reduction Theory, if these three conditions apply to a situation, one will do almost anything in their power to make sense of who he/she is as an individual. Thus far, it has been well perceived that there are certain strategies and components that make up the preaching of the Uncertainty Reduction Theory. However, what actually is the Uncertainty Reduction Theory? In order to discover its roots and premises, one must trace back to its very first original form. The Uncertainty Reduction Theory began with the proposition that “when strangers meet, their primary concern is one of uncertainty
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