Theory Key Names
Annotated list of scholars and terms, from the Instructors Manual and margin notes in the text
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Chapter 9—Uncertainty Reduction Theory
- Charles Berger
- A communication theorist at the University of California, Davis, who developed uncertainty reduction theory.
- Fritz Heider
- As the founder of attribution theory, this psychologist argued that we constantly draw inferences about why people do what they do.
- Attribution theory
- A systematic explanation of how people draw inferences about the character of others based on observed behavior.
- Uncertainty reduction
- Increased knowledge of what kind of person another is that provides an improved forecast of how a future interaction will turn out.
- A self-evident truth that requires no additional proof.
- Malcolm Parks and Mara Adelman
- Communication researchers from University of Washington and Seattle University, respectively, who have demonstrated that there is a relationship between shared communication networks and uncertainty reduction.
- A proposition that logically and necessarily follows from two axioms.
- Message plans
- Mental representations of action sequences that may be used to achieve goals.
- Passive strategy
- Impression formation by observing a person interact with others.
- Active strategy
- Impression formation by asking a third party about a person.
- Interactive strategy
- Impression formation through face-to-face discussion with a person.
- Extractive strategy
- Impression formation by searching the Internet for information about a person.
- Plan complexity
- A characteristic of message plan based on the level of detail it provides and the number of contingencies it covers.
- Use of strategic ambiguity and humor to provide a way for both parties to save face when a message fails to achieve its goals.
- Hierarchy hypothesis
- The prediction that when people are thwarted in their attempts to achieve goals, their first tendency is to alter lower-level elements of their message.
- Leanne Knobloch
- Communication scholar at the University of Illinois who explores uncertainty in ongoing relationships and the resulting relational turbulence.
- Relational uncertainty
- Doubts about our own thoughts, the thoughts of the other person, or the future of the relationship.
- Partner interference
- Occurs when a relational partner hinders goals, plans, and activities.
- Relational turbulence
- Negative emotions arising from perceived problems in a close relationship.
- Kathy Kellermann and Rodney Reynolds
- Communication scholars who have questioned the motivational assumption of Berger's axiom 3 and the claim that motivation to search for information is increased by anticipation of future interaction, incentive value, and deviance.
- Michael Sunnafrank
- A communication scholar from the University of Minnesota, Duluth, who believes that predicted outcome value more accurately explains communication in early encounters than does Berger's account of uncertainty reduction.
- Predicted outcome value
- A forecast of future benefits and costs of interaction based on limited experience with the other.
- Walid Afifi
- A communication scholar from the University of California at Santa Barbara who proposed the theory of motivated information management.
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