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Ch. 9 Theories About Communication and the Evolution of Rela

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Celestina Garcia

on 18 November 2013

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Transcript of Ch. 9 Theories About Communication and the Evolution of Rela

Ch. 9 Theories About Communication and the Evolution of Relationships
Developmental Theories
Uncertainty Reduction Behavior
Social Exchange Theory
Laws Of Behavior
Theoretical Axioms
Beyond Personal Behavior
Five Basic Claims
Cost Beneficial Analysis
How likely is it for a person to stay in a relationship based on:
First Generation Developmental Theories
Second Generation Developmental Theories
Relationship Trajectories
Covering laws assume that humans respond in predictable ways to
external
stimuli
Behavior is regulated by laws
Articulating
basic laws to explain why we do what we do
An axiom is a statement that is presumed to be
true
and therefore does not need proof or an explanation (Examples: life is valuable, the earth revolves around the sun)
The basic claim of the theory is that uncertainty is
uncomfortable
. We use communication to reduce uncertainty
Theorist: Charles Berger
The main goal of the theory is to explain how uncertainty affects
communication
in relationships
When two people first meet there is a
high
level of uncertainty
Reducing uncertainty is important if the relationship progresses
There are
seven
axioms that are the foundation of the uncertainty theory:

1. Uncertainty is reduced, verbal communication increases

2. Nonverbal affiliate expressiveness increases, uncertainty level decrease in an interaction situation

3. Uncertainty level decline, information-seeking behavior decreases

4. High level of uncertainty can lead to a decrease in intimacy

5. Low level of uncertainty produces low reciprocity rates

6. Similarities between people reduce uncertainty, dissimilarities increase uncertainty

7. Uncertainty can decrease/increase levels in liking

One of the extensions of this theory is focused on
intercultural
communication (Led by: William Gudykunst)
The research is based on whether people from different cultures use different strategies to
reduce
uncertainty in early interaction
Members of
individualistic
cultures tend to use direct verbal strategies (Example: Where are you from)
Members of
collectivist
cultures tend to use indirect strategies (Example: observation) and seek information from third parties
Advanced theory called
anxiety
uncertainty management explains how individuals adapt to new cultures.

Individuals being part of an
unfamiliar
culture often feel uncertainty and anxiety
Uncertainty is a
thought
and anxiety is a
feeling
We as strangers need to find a way to reduce uncertainty and develop confidence to explain
and predict behaviors of the particular culture
Yun Kim’s research shows that communication is the primary way we adapt to a new cultural context
Continuing interaction allows newcomers to
expand
their communication appropriate to that specific culture

Criticism of Uncertainty Reduction Theory
Narrow in Scope: focusing only on uncertainty which is not the only influence on the development of relationships or intercultural communication

Invalid: Critics claim that the axioms lack credibility

1. Calculate rewards and costs

2. Operate to
maximize
rewards and reduce costs

3. Satisfaction of rewards is based on
comparison
levels.

4. Relational
stability
(and dependence on relationships) is based on individuals

5. Equity is
preferable
to inequity
People try to maximize rewards and minimize costs in relationships; in the same way we do when buying a car or engaging in other commercial transactions.

Theorist: (no single theory) group of theories formulated by Homans, and elaborated by others
To make sure we are getting enough out of a relationship, given what we are investing in it. We stay in relationships that are more
rewarding
than costly

Costs VS. Rewards -> Negative VS. Positive

Positive Net Outcome: more
rewards
than costs

Negative Net Outcome: more
costs
than rewards

1. Comparison Level: a subjective standard for what we expect in a particular type of relationship

2. Comparison Level of Alternatives: measure to evaluate how good a particular relationship is in comparison to real or perceived
alternatives
of that relationship

3. Equity: how much you
give
in the relationship in regards to how much you get (benefits)

-Does not tell us beyond what we already know
-Not
testable
: everyone thinks differently
-Inappropriate for humans: use of
scientific logic
to calculate values
-Not supported by research: validity

Criticisms of the Social Exchange Theory:
1. First generation developmental theories: (1970’s)

Social Penetration Model: Metaphorically described people as
onions
that have wedges, or areas, of personality, each of which has
multiple
layers of progressive depth.

Layers of the
Onion
:

-Superficial Layers: likes and
dislikes
in clothes, music, ect.
-Middle Layers: Political views,
social
attitudes, ect.
-Inner Layers: Spiritual values, deep fears, hopes,
goals
, fantasies, secrets, ect.
-Core Personality: most
basic
self
2. Second Generation Developmental Theories: (1993)

Theorist:
Honeycutt

-Movements in
relationships
is both defined and guided by individuals’
perceptions

-Behaviors and
external
events don’t affect relationships unless individuals assign them meanings that have relational consequences.
Relationship Trajectories: individuals use their past
knowledge
and
experiences
to define movement toward increased or decreased closeness.

Imagined Trajectories:
personal
understandings of various tracks in relationships

Turning Points: defining levels of closeness (ex: “I love you”)
-Too
linear

-Way of defining stages

-Ways of binding people not accurate

-Theories vs. perspectives
Critiques of Developmental Theories
Developmental Theories: most relationships grow, mature, and
decay
gradually over time.

Theorists: Altman and Taylor

Summary
Uncertainty Reduction Theory

Social Exchange Theory

Developmental Theories

Summary -Distinct perspectives on communication and relationships
Uncertainty reduction


Influence of uncertainty on:
=>interpersonal communication
=>relational development

Most narrow and controversial theory

Summary -Distinct perspectives on communication and relationships

Social exchange

Explains relational activities and evolutions in terms of
=>costs
=>rewards
=>standards of evaluation

Questioned assumption that humans are
=>primarily rational
=>calculating animals with main goal of maximize individual profit

Broader than uncertainty reduction

Summary -Distinct perspectives on communication and relationships
Developmental

=>Alternative evolutionary paths relationships follow

1st generation:
=>relational development strictly linear
=>stages defined by external phenomena
2nd generation:

=>multiple possible paths of relational development

=>moments in relational life: subjective perceptions, schemata, meaning

=>Broad and rich view of the role of communication in growth, maintenance and deterioration of personal relationships
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