Communication Theories

Topics: Cognitive dissonance, Cognition, Psychology Pages: 5 (1767 words) Published: August 28, 2013
Theories has different definitions to it such as, “Theory is a coherent group of tested general propositions, commonly regarded as correct, that can be used as principles of explanation and prediction for a class of phenomena”, as well as “Theory is a proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural and subject to experimentation, in contrast to well-established propositions that are regarded as reporting matters of actual facts”. (“theory”, n.d.).

Theories in communication are essential because it is part of a tool as those who apply it in their daily life could engage in confident and meaningful conversations about communication with scholars, those who applies it could address challenges in communication in the everyday level more creatively and effectively. With the understanding of the importance of theories, our life would be more meaningful and with what is happening around us, we could have better understanding of life.

The theories that I have captured my interest would be Cognitive Dissonance Theory and the Uncertainty Reduction Theory. I like the fact that both of them are something, which I could be able to relate too quite easily. Both theories have different features to be used as part of our daily lives but both equivalently important. Leon Festinger developed the theory of Cognitive Dissonance in the 1950s. This theory states that when we receive something that disagrees with our beliefs or actions. We feel psychologically uncomfortable and are motivated to take actions to overcome it. We could avoid it, change our beliefs to match our actions (or vice versa), and/or seek reassurances after making a difficult decision.

An example would be Person A is okay with same sex marriage whilst Person B is totally against same sex marriage, if Person A were to talk about his friends of the same sex getting married in the weekend, Person B would go through Cognitive Dissonance whereby he would feel uncomfortable knowing that particular information. Thus, he would either try to change the topic of the conversation that is to avoid the topic or he could try to accept that information and try to change his beliefs of against same sex marriage. Person B could also try to voice out his opinion which would get them to get into a conflict and then later, Person B would seek reassurances after voicing out his opinion which has caused them to get into a conflict.

On the other hand, there are certain assumptions made about the theory. According to the assumptions, as human beings, we desire consistency in our beliefs and behaviors, dissonance is created by psychological inconsistencies which are not logical, dissonance is something that we want to avoid, thus motivating is to act upon it and we act to achieve consonance and to reduce dissonance. However, this assumptions are purely statements and they do not apply to all man because humans are not the same and some people do not feel the comfortableness of people having different beliefs instead they appreciate difference and enjoy having debates as well as sharing and exchanging ideas regarding certain views.

On the other hand, Charles Berger and Richard Calabrese developed the Uncertainty Reduction theory in 1975. This theory claims that when we meet stranger, our main focus is to reduce our uncertainty about the stranger because uncertainty is uncomfortable; we thus seek out more information. Behavioral uncertainty occurs when we are unsure about the stranger actions. Cognitive uncertainty on the other hand occurs when we are unsure about the stranger’s beliefs or views.

In example, if a boyfriend were to meet the family of the girlfriend for the very first time, the boyfriend’s main focus would be to reduce the uncertainty and he will try to get rid of whatever thought that he has of how the girlfriend’s family will react when they meet him. In this case, he could be having the cognitive uncertainty by which he...
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