The Uncertainty Reduction Theory

1024 Words5 Pages

Over the years, mass communication has been defined in several ways. While some view it as a process, others perceive it as a skill. But apart from these two classifications, I particularly view mass communication as a tool since it is an essential device that can be used in one’s everyday life. It is an instrument all humans can make use of in delivering their intended messages to their family, friends and even to strangers.
Charles Berger and Richard Calabrese suggested the same perception as they proposed their theory called the Uncertainty Reduction Theory.

Established in 1975, the Uncertainty Reduction Theory indicates that when meeting someone for the first time, people are usually motivated to reduce uncertainty. Berger and Calabrese …show more content…

Named as the “entry stage”, the first out of the three developmental stages involves the sharing of basic and demographic information. Examples of these could be one’s age, occupation and ethnicity. In this stage, communication rules and norms are highly practiced. The two communicators involved are still quite reserved—if not reticent. However, once the conversation between the two communicators has shifted from talking about one’s basic information to sharing one’s personal views and beliefs, the interaction has then reached the second stage—which is the personal stage. In this phase, Person A is now able to comfortably ask and talk about Person B’s values and personal issues, or vice versa. They now are “less constrained” by the rules and norms of communication and are capable of conversing more freely with each other (University of Twente, 2010). The exit stage, however, is the final stage wherein the participants decide whether they want to develop or end the relationship and interaction they have established (World Heritage Encyclopedia, …show more content…

The eight key variables tackled in these axioms are verbal communication, nonverbal affiliative expressiveness (or nonverbal expressions), information seeking behavior, self-disclosure (or intimacy), reciprocity, similarity, liking, and shared networks. According to the two theorists, uncertainty decreases when verbal communication and nonverbal expressions between two strangers increase (Griffin, 2014). Examples of nonverbal expressions are arm gestures, head nods and eye contact. The third axiom, on the other hand, states that when a person is uncertain about the other, they tend to seek more information. Intimacy, similarity and shared networks, however, are inversely proportional to uncertainty. When a stranger becomes more intimate, shares similar features and possesses the same networks and ties as the target person, uncertainty will definitely decrease. Since he or she knows more about the stranger, approaching him or her effectively will then be easier. Meanwhile, if there is still uncertainty between the two communicators, one may use reciprocity or reciprocal communication strategies to lessen the cognitive discomfort. Once uncertainty decreases, the stranger will then be liked by the person (Dainton & Zelley,

Open Document