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The Uncertainty Reduction Theory (Charles Berger)

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Angela Liljenquist

on 7 February 2013

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Transcript of The Uncertainty Reduction Theory (Charles Berger)

Uncertainty Reduction Theory What is the Uncertainty Reduction Theory? Why Reduce Uncertainty? Message Plans; How We Cope With Uncertainty As humans, we find it very uncomfortable and discouraging when we encounter uncertainty in our lives, and naturally do all that we can to reduce it.

Berger believes that relationship development is central to reducing these uncertainties in INTERPERSONAL COMMUNICATION, and created a series of axioms to prove this. These axioms are able to EXPLAIN and PREDICT outcomes of initial interactions. Message plans are representations of actions sequences that may be used to achieve goals. How communication is used in initial encounters to reduce uncertainties, enabling a more precise forecast of future meetings and diminishing stress and anxiety, making the most of relationship development. So here they are: Berger's 8 AXIOMS or TRUTHS about Initial Uncertainty: What is an Axiom, you may wonder? An axiom is a self-evident truth that requires no additional proof! Verbal Communication- Basic talking Berger began to pair axioms together to create even more insight. He made 28 additional theorems all based on the importance of reducing uncertainty in human interaction by adding the axioms together.

For example: As verbal communication increases, nonverbal warmth increases as well. However, if similarity decreases, then information seeking also decreases. Most Social Interaction is GOAL-DRIVE Uncertainty is central to ALL social interaction. The probability of perfect communication is zero. Passive Strategy Impressive formation by observing a person interact with others Active Strategy Impression formation by asking a third party about a person Interactive Strategy Impression formation through face-to-face discussion with a person. Shared Networks- Family and friend involvement Liking- Do you even LIKE this person? Similarity- Common likes, attributes, etc. Reciprocity- You tell what they tell Self-Disclosure- Attitudes, values, and feelings Information Seeking- Monitoring words and actions Nonverbal Warmth- Head nods, smiles, eye contact The Uncertainty Reduction Theory focuses on how communication is used to gain knowledge by information seeking, which creates understanding and reduces uncertainties.
It was introduced by
Charles Berger and Richard J. Calabrese in 1975.
Primary article is Some Explorations in Initial Interaction and Beyond. Human Communication Research Vol. 1 There are 2 types of uncertainty:
BEHAVIORAL and COGNITIVE.
This theory
focuses on COGNITIVE--
"Who is this person as a
unique individual?" Metatheoretical Ontology- The Uncertainty Reduction theory favors the deterministic perspective, meaning all human decisions have sufficient causes.

Axiology- The Uncertainty Reduction Theory is value neutral because reactions are predetermined.

Epistemology- Objective, Social Scientific Request. Provide. Exchange. 3 Information Seeking Strategies: Critique The Uncertainty Reduction Theory uses axioms to predict and explain initial interaction.
Many have questioned the theory's logic, arguing that the axioms are "faulty".
There has been much research on this theory, making its Heuristic Pro-activeness unquestionable.
Falsifiability is present, but the theory can get confusing when applied to real-life situations.
For organizational purposes, it is best understood when looking at the table of theorems. "Hitch" (Bar Scene) Deception Conflict Marriage Relational Maintenance/dissolution Self-disclosure Intimacy Politeness Friendship Dyadic Relationships
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