Fuck Off

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Date Submitted: 12/11/2011 01:54 PM

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Nicole Maggio

Professor Guzda

Communication Theory

September 25, 2011

Uncertainty Reduction Theory

Uncertainty Reduction Theory, coined by Charles Berger, explains how interpersonal communication is the primary way to reduce uncertainty. Uncertainty normally occurs when two strangers meet, and each of them try to read the other. By interacting with each other, one becomes more comfortable and can usually predict future behavior. There are two types of uncertainty known as behavioral and cognitive. When one person is speaking they aren’t sure of how the other person will think or act based on what is said. When the two communicate, the tension and awkwardness usually decreases, making the relationship more intimate. Over time, as the comfort level goes up, the uncertainty level goes down.

My example is from the movie, “Meet the Parents.” Greg is meeting his girlfriend parents for the first time. Jack, who is an undercover CIA agent, and father of his daughter Pam, is overly protective of his daughter. He constantly mocks Greg’s choice of occupation as a nurse and purposely makes him uncomfortable with intention to drive him away. Greg repeatedly tries to impress Jack but nothing seems to work to his advantage because Jack does not take Greg to his liking. Jack’s verbal output, nonverbal cues and constant information seeking causes Greg to fear him. Consequently, there is never a steady interaction between Jack and Greg because of the uncertainty they feel.

The Uncertainty Reduction Theory has seven assumptions but I will apply four. The first states that people experience uncertainty in interpersonal settings. For example, Greg barely knows Jack and Jack comments on Greg’s choice of car color. At first, Greg thinks Jack does not favor the color and quickly defends himself by saying that he did not choose it. Then Jack surprisingly says that geniuses normally choose green, but then makes sure to remind everyone that Greg did not choose it. The situation...