Uncertainty Reduction Theory

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Jonathan Quinones
Literature Review Paper
Comm 306

Uncertainty Reduction Theory
Uncertainty is an unpleasant feeling and because of this feeling, people are motivated to reduce this uncertainty by means of communication. Uncertainty reduction theory (URT) was developed to describe the interrelationships in any type of communication exchange using seven factors: verbal communication, nonverbal expressiveness, information-seeking behavior, intimacy, reciprocity, similarity, and liking (Berger & Calabrese, 1975). During the beginning stage information about ones sex, age, socio-economic status, along with other demographic information can be obtained. The exchange of information during this beginning stage of communication is usually governed by communication rules and norms. As you move out of this beginning stage, more personal information is divulged such attitudes, beliefs, and values. After all of this, one can determine whether they would like to persue further interaction with that person. This pattern is likely to occur during initial interaction upon meeting someone new, or when relationships come across new topics.

This theoretical perspective was originated by C.R. Berger & Calabrese in 1975. They discovered three different ways in which people seek out information about one another: 1. Passive strategies - a person is being observed. 2. Active strategies - we ask others about the person we're interested in or try to set up a situation where we can observe that person. 3. Interactive strategies – direct communication with that person. I will briefly explain why uncertainty reduction theory is a significant area of study, explain it purpose, and give some example of how some of the information to support this was gathered from five studies that deal with deal with or relate to uncertainty reduction theory (URT).

Information seeking in the Contemporary Workplace, is a study that seeks to find the types of information seeking that...
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