Expectancy Violation Theory
(Paper Rough Draft)
Expectancy Violation Theory, or more commonly referred to as EVT, is the study of attempting to explain one’s reactions to unexpected behavior of their peers, and the various meanings that people attribute to the violation, or infringement, of their personal space. Judee Burgoon defines personal space as the invisible, variable volume of space surrounding an individual that defines that individual’s preferred distance from others. I will explain to you the communication phenomenon of EVT, theories, behaviors and context of EVT, as well as how to apply them. Expectancy Violations theory was created by Judee Burgoon in 1978. Since that time, Burgoon and a number of her associates have studied various messages and the influence of non-verbal communication on message production. The theory was originally called Nonverbal Expectancy Violations Theory, but Judee got rid of the word nonverbal later because the theory studied more than just nonverbal communication. EVT has been one of the foremost theories that identify the influence of nonverbal communication on behavior. Burgoon defines personal space as the invisible, variable volume of space surrounding an individual that defines that individual’s preferred distance from others. The size and shape of our personal space depends upon cultural norms and individual preferences. Personal space is always a compromise between the conflicting approach avoidance needs that we as humans have for affiliation and privacy. Special relations can also be described with proxemics. Edward Hall, a cultural anthropologist, coined the term proxemics in 1963. Proxemics is the study of people’s use of space as a special elaboration of culture. Hall believed that most spatial interpretation is outside our awareness. Hall also believed that Americans have four proxemic zones. There are four stages of proxemic behavior that are related to the experience of intimacy. The intimate...
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