Essay on The Uncertainty Reduction Theory

Submitted By eze47
Words: 1233
Pages: 5

Uncertainty Reduction Theory The Uncertainty Reduction Theory is a theory that was discovered by Charles Berger, a professor of communication at the University of California. The theory basically explains the uncertain feeling people have when meeting strangers, and how communication is used to gain knowledge and create understanding. This theory has been studied over time to help us reduce the uncertainty we feel when meeting new people. There are many different parts to this theory, including the eight axioms, the seven assumptions, the three types of interactive strategies. Also included in the theory is three prior conditions that are boosted by the uncertainty of meeting new people. According to the text, uncertainty reduction is the increased knowledge of what kind of person another is that provides an improved forecast of how a future interaction will turn out. There are three prior conditions which help boost these uncertain feelings. They are, anticipation of future interaction, incentive value and deviance. There are two types of uncertainty, which are behavioral and cognitive. Behavioral uncertainty is the extent to which behavior is predictable in a situation. According to the text, there are accepted procedural protocols to ease the stress that behavioral uncertainty can cause. The other type of uncertainty is cognitive, which is aimed at discovering who the person is as a unique individual. These two types of uncertainty help to predict and explain. When dealing with this theory there are seven assumptions. People experience uncertainty in interpersonal settings, uncertainty is an aversive state, generating cognitive stress, when strangers meet, their primary concern is to reduce their uncertainty or increase predictability, interpersonal communication is a developmental process that occurs through stages, interpersonal communication is the primary means of uncertainty reduction, the quantity and nature of information that people share change through time and it is possible to predict people’s behavior in a lawlike fashion. To help reduce uncertainty three strategies are used, passive, active and interactive. Passive strategy takes the role of observers who don’t bother other people. Active strategy arises when asking a third party about a person and interactive strategy is formed through face to face discussion with a person. To better explain this theory Charles Berger proposed a serious of axioms. Axioms are self evident truth that requires no additional proof. There are a total of eight, which are, verbal communication, nonverbal warmth, information seeking, self disclosure, reciprocity, similarity, liking and shared networks. These eight axioms helped Berger generate 28 theorems. Theorems are a proposition that logically and necessarily follows from two axioms. In 2007 researchers by the names of Aparana Hebbani and Lawrence Frey got together and did a study of the uncertainty reduction theory. The experiment was applying uncertainty reduction theory to the study of nonverbal behavior between U.S. interviewers and Indian applicants. According to the case, using uncertainty reduction theory, the study examined the effects of similarity/dissimilarity of interviewers’ and interviewees’ nonverbal behaviors exhibited during an intercultural hiring interview on interviewers perceptions of hiring decisions about interviewees. They did mock interviews between Indian graduate student interviewees and Caucasian U.S. professionals who served as interviewers. The interviews were taped and a studied side by side to compare. They lasted 16.5 minutes on average and showed that their results were consistent with Berger’s reasoning. Attributional confidence was positively affected by cultural similarity and interpersonal attraction and attitude similarity were positively correlated. Being culturally similar was associated with decreased uncertainty, and attitudinal similarity was associated with increased…