The Certainty of the Uncertainty Reduction Theory
We, as humans, attain multiple relationships throughout our lifetime. Whether they are with our family, friends, co-workers, or a significant others. With these relationships, an important key to a successful relationship is that of trust. Trust is a difficult issue for most people, and could be spoken for by its own; but trust involves depending on another person for comfort, hope, encouragement, and most of all honesty. Yet, to sanction an interrelationship, we have a susceptibility of skepticism towards new relationships with the intention of connection. Henceforth, through Charles Berger s Uncertainty Reduction Theory, we learn that when strangers meet, their primary concern to reduce uncertainty and increase the predictability of the behavior of the other person involved in the interaction.
The Uncertainty Reduction Theory introduced by Berger, constructed the theory that there are natural to have doubts about our ability to predict the outcome of initial encounters. (Anop) Meaning, humans are primarily un-confident when the terms of meeting new people in new experiences to predict the outcome of the direction the relationship may take. Whether to build a wall of distrust or to trust a stranger based upon the first impression. The first impression is tremendously valuable to the uncertainty to the reduction for confidence to enable a foundation for a relationship in the sense the relationships dependence on original conjecture of the second party.
First of all, the first axiom states that as the amount of verbal communication increases between strangers, the levels of uncertainty begin to diminish. (Taddeo) For example, in Chemistry lab the professor assigns the students into pairs. The pair of students are required to work together which may included calling one another, e-mailing, or arranging designated times to discuss the requirements of a crucial homework assignment. Permitting these forms of communications allows the pair of chemistry lab students to know each other on a stronger level. Therefore, the uncertainty slowly fades away.
Secondly, the second axiom states that as nonverbal expressiveness increases, uncertainty will decrease in an initial interaction. For instance, a child that is attached to the mother and has not had much exposure to other people may be intimidated towards other adults, such as, a new babysitter. She may start off intimidating to the child; however, the babysitter may make comforting expressions that allow the child to grow fonder on the babysitter. As in smiling, making eye , or clapping for encouragement to the child when he/ she does something worth congratulating.
Thirdly, discusses how high levels of uncertainty cause an increase in information seeking behavior. Which would be like an employer interviewing a prospective employee. He curiously asks questions to gain the impression of what kind of person the prospect truly is by monitoring his actions and putting clues together. When seeking information, this allows some uncertainty reduction to be tolerable
As for the forth axiom states that high levels of uncertainty can cause a decrease in intimacy level of communication content (Taddeo). For instance, when I went to my first English class, I saw a girl sitting outside waiting for class to begin. No one was in the classroom, so we sat outside the door and initiated a conversation. She began pouring her fears of college and being away from home. We connected at that very moment. Ever since then we became instant friends.
The fifth axiom says that high levels of uncertainty produce high rates of reciprocity. (Taddeo) Say that Travis likes Jenna, however, is uncertain the feeling is mutual. But Travis takes the chance and asks Jenna out on a date anyway. This shows that he would not of asked her out on the date if he did not think anything was going to be in return. It is like the idea of you give me two pieces of candy and I will give you a quarter. Both are beneficial to one another in terms of reciprocity.
Lastly the sixth axiom presents that when similarities between people exist, the level of uncertainty is reduced. (Taddeo) Per say, a man was working out at a gym and he sees this good-looking girl across the weight room. Somehow they end up lifting by one another and smile and say hi casually. She comments on how the gym is crowded and the conversation expands from there and they begin talking about class and sports.
The seventh axiom is when an increase in the uncertainty levels produces a decrease in liking. (Taddeo) For example, if a guy meets a girl for the first time and his uncertainty level is really high, because he isn t sure if he likes her yet or not. His high uncertainty will more than likely lead to a decrease in his interest for the girl.
And the last axiom, the eights, is shared communication networks reduce uncertainty, while a lack of shared networks increases uncertainty. An example would be meeting people over the Internet basically for talking purposes. One person may be on just to talk and have a good conversation and nothing more. Yet, then there are those people who want to get a little too much information about the person that they are talking to. One may either like the person in hopes of meeting them in person one day or try to block, in hopes of never having a conversation with them ever again.
The basic phenomenon with URT is trying to explain is the idea that we, as human, all have uncertainty which we try to reduce. (Pomeroy) Henceforth, in all aspects of uncertainty we all want to make changes in reducing that uncertainty, whether it maybe verbally or non-verbally towards strangers. We will always have uncertainty in the back of our minds floating around no matter how hard we attempt to be free from hesitation from the first impression. In conclusion, Berger s theory can only give us a glimpse of human reasoning behind uncertainty yet does not cure us from the insecurity.
Anop, S. "Uncertainty Reduction Theory."
http://oak.cats.ohiou.edu/ mb518496/mbur.htm. Last updated 03/11/01. Last
Pomeroy, J. Uncertainty Reduction Theory.
http://web.nmsu.edu/ comstudy/urt.html. Last updated 03/13/00.
Taddeo, K. "Uncertainty Reduction Theory Application.
http://oak.cats.ohiou.edu/ kt367198/urapp.htm. Last updated 01/23/00.