Uncertainty Reduction Theory

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Uncertainty Reduction Theory

By | September 2008
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Abstract
This paper deals with uncertainty reduction theory from its origin to date. Ever since uncertainty reduction theory was first created, many researchers have examined it by comparing it with other theories. Uncertainty reduction theory had been tested across different cultures in order to confirm its generalizability. It had also been applied to real life situations to examine how individuals interact in their initial encounters with strangers. In addition, researchers suggested testing uncertainty reduction theory beyond initial encounters rather than strangers. Finally, criticisms were provided for potential future studies.

Introduction
Uncertainty reduction theory was created by Charles Berger in 1975. This theory addressed the process of how we get information about other people in initial encounters. The first time we meet a stranger, we face a high level of uncertainty and we must want to reduce that uncertainty by getting more information about the other person. Therefore, Berger and Calabrese (1975) provided several strategies for us to deal with this kind of initial interaction. Researches examining axioms and theorems of uncertainty reduction theory were presented by many professional researchers in order to expend or adjust the original theory created by Berger in 1975. On the other hand, researchers also extend uncertainty reduction theory beyond initial interactions between strangers by testing across different relationships and different cultures. Timeline

The initial phases of interaction between strangers were labeled as follows: entry phase, personal phase, and exit phase (Berger & Calabrese, 1975). During the first phase, when strangers are faced with each other in a particular situation, their communication behaviors are determined by a set of communication rules or norms and they tend to ask and give a symmetric amount of information. After interactants start to explore each other’s attitudes and opinions, they are...

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