Uncertainty Reduction Theory

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Introduction When strangers meet for the first time, their primary thought is one of uncertainty. These doubts are natural, as the two attempt to predict the outcome of the initial encounter. Charles Berger founded this theory of Uncertainty Reduction, and defines it as, “When people meet, their primary concern is to reduce uncertainty about each other and their relationship. As verbal output, nonverbal warmth, self-disclosure, similarity, and shared communication networks increase uncertainty decreases, and vice versa. Information seeking and reciprocity are positively correlated with uncertainty” (Griffin, 2010, p.125). The goal of this theory is to understand the actions and reactions of people within conversation, in order to reduce the inevitable uncertainties. Individuals attempt to increase predictability and find explanations as to what happens in initial encounters. This is a very objective theory, in that a serious of attributes are measurable. The history of uncertainty reduction theory began as a series of axioms used to describe relationships between uncertainty and other factors of communication (University of Twente, 2010). It was created by C.R. Berger and Calabrese in 1975, and its development intended to describe interrelationships between factors within dyadic exchange (University of Twenty, 2010). Uncertainty consists of a lack of confidence regarding how the first encounter will transpire, and the main route to decreasing uncertainty is through
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