Uncertainty Reduction Theory

Topics: Communication, Uncertainty reduction theory, Nonverbal communication Pages: 4 (1047 words) Published: March 24, 2013
Name: Soumya Prem
Roll no: 20120119150

Uncertainty reduction theory - Charles Berger and Richard Calabrese This theory explains how communication is used to reduce the uncertainty among people when they meet each other for the first time. It is assumed that when strangers meet, their primary objective is to reduce uncertainty about the other person involved in the interaction. We always want to reduce the uncertainties about our surroundings and the people in it since being uncertain about anything is not a pleasant feeling to have. Berger proposed that there are 3 factors that influence whether people will want to work towards reducing uncertainties about a certain situation. 1.Anticipation of future interaction – You will try to reduce uncertainties if you know there is a possibility of meeting this person again. Therefore, you are more likely to use uncertainty reduction behaviour when you meet someone at a party that you might be interested in. 2.Incentive value – If this person is capable to doing something for you or against you even, then there are higher chances of you trying to reduce uncertainties. 3.Deviance - If the person behaves oddly and shows some bizarre characteristics, you are likely to use uncertainty reduction. For example if you meet a new prospective client whom you have to meet in the future and could give your company a new project and has a strange fascination for the colour purple, you would be interested in communicating more to fit the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle together to get to know who she really is. There are 3 ways to seek information from the other person-

1.Passive Strategy - Observing someone without being observed 2.Active Strategy - Asking a third party for more information 3.Interactive Strategy - Obtaining information directly by asking questions and offering personal information about yourself A demonstration of this can be seen in this scene from a very famous Hollywood movie ‘Hitch’ where Will...
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