CMN 101 Lecture Notes - Lecture 10: Social Penetration Theory, Uncertainty Reduction Theory, Internal Resistance

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Published on 12 Dec 2016
Lecture 10 - 11/1 - Social Penetration Theory & Uncertainty Reduction Theory
- Social Penetration Theory = the role of self-disclosure in process of relationship
development and dissolution
- the process of developing deeper intimacy with another person through mutual
self-disclosure and other forms of vulnerability
Onion Model of Social Penetration
- Personality structure = onion-like layers of beliefs and feelings about self, others and
the world; deeper layers are more vulnerable, protected and central to self-image
- concept of self deeply held fears and fantasies religious convictions
goals/aspirations preferences in foods and music biographical data
- self-disclosure = voluntary sharing of personal information (history, preferences,
attitudes, feelings, values, secrets, etc.) with another person; being transparent
- depth of penetration = intimacy of disclosure in a specific area of an individual’s
- degree of personal disclosure/intimacy
- breadth of penetration = range of areas in individual’s life over which disclosure
takes place
- high breadth with low depth = casual relationship
- high depth with low breadth = professional relationship
- high breadth and high depth = close relationship
Some Regularities of Penetration
1) public or peripheral information are exchanged sooner and more frequently than
private information
2) self-disclosure is reciprocal, especially in early stages of relationship development
- new relationships will reach roughly equal levels of openness
- law of reciprocity = a paced and ordely process in which openness in one
person leads to openness in the other
3) penetration is rapid at the start but slows down quickly as the tightly wrapped inner
layers are reached
- instant intimacy is a myth; internal resistance and societal norms against telling
too much too fast
- most relationships stall before a stable intimate exchange is established
4) depenetration is a gradual process of layer-by-layer withdrawal
- for true intimacy, depth and breadth of penetration are equally important
- Social Exchange Theory = relationship behavior and status regulated by parties’
evaluations of perceived rewards and costs of interaction with each other
- Outcome = perceived rewards minus the costs of the relationship
- minimax principle of human behavior = people seek to maximize benefits
and minimize costs
- the higher we rate a relational outcome, the more attractive we find the behvior
that might make it happen
- Comparison Level (CL): based on assessment of past relationships; the threshold
above which a current relationship seems attractive
- standard for relational satisfaction
- judge the value of a relationship by comparing it to the baseline of a past
- Comparison Level of Alternatives (CLalt): best outcome available in other possible
future relationships
- optimum situation is when parties find: Outcome > CLalt > CL
- can predict relational stability (a standard for relational stability)
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