CMN 120 Lecture Notes - Lecture 6: Uncertainty Reduction Theory, Social Penetration Theory, Disclose

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8 Mar 2017
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Lecture 6 - 2/8 Relationship Development and Self Disclosure
1. “Failure to disclose can produce cancerous stress which leads not only to
psychological but physical problems as well” - Jourard
2. Definitions
a. Self-description
i.information about yourself that you feel comfortable revealing
ii.Low risk information (like your age, sex, major etc.)
iii.Important in relationship development (the start of relationships)
b. Self disclosure
.any statement that reveals private, previously unknown info about the self
i.Information you don’t share with people you just met
1. Thoughts, feelings, opinions
ii.Provides you a sense of closeness to other people
iii.Doesn't have to be something tangible, can be a thought you want to express
iv.Key Features:
1. Has to be intentional (has to be you telling the other
person or learning the information through some type
of intentional way); makes you vulnerable
a. If info is not learned without you telling them, it’s not self disclosure
2. Involves some risk (some may reject us or some may
forgive us) we don’t know how ppl will react when
we share information
. Genuine self-disclosure (something personal)
a. Apparent self-disclosure
c. Characteristics of self-disclosure
.Breadth = variety based on number of topics ppl willing to discuss/self-
disclose
1. Ex: personal issues, religious beliefs, etc.
2. We are more willing to disclose to some people
(higher amount of breadth)
i.Depth = how intimate or trivial is the information you’re revealing
ii.Usually occurs in a dyad (between 2 ppl)
1. b/c we are potentially telling risky information, so this
helps us control if the information is shared
iii.Usually reciprocal
1. Exchange of similar self-risk information
2. When we open up, others will open up (they feel the
need to also self-disclose when they see you doing
the same)
3. Very influential in developing relationships with others
iv.Occurs over time and increases with time and relational development
1. We start exchanging superficial information, but levels
of self-disclosure, breadth & depth increase over time
2. Progress is made with relationship development
v.Relatively rare
1. We don’t self-disclose often
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vi.Evaluative or Descriptive
1. Evaluative = “happy”; gives emotional quality;
provides judgment of some kind
. Ex: I’m “happy” I got married last weekend
2. Descriptive = just reporting facts without
evaluation
. Ex: I got married last weekend
3. Functions of Self-Disclosure = what do we get out of self-disclosure?
(FOUR)
. Relational Escalation
.Disclosing makes you closer to other ppl
i.Self-disclosure is the primary vehicle/communication process that helps
progress relationships
a. Catharsis
.Makes yourself feel better by revealing particular information
i.It would be exceptionally good when your response to self-disclosure is
acceptance
b. Clarification
.Revealing to others that you’re confused about something, you will receive
information & learn more
c. Self-Awareness
.Finding information about yourself of what you are and are not comfortable
about telling people
4. Why might we not self-disclose? (TWO)
. Risk
.Revealing super personal information (cheating, divorce) can make you lose
relationships, feel embarrassed/humiliated negative outcomes
i.Balance to see if the risk is worth it or not
ii.You have to see the situation: the person you are communicating with, the
context
a. Appropriateness
.Some context where you’re revealing private/intimate information is OK and
some are not OK
i.Be a wise communicator and know when & when not to diclose
5. Targets of Self-Disclosure (THREE)
. Friends
.We often disclose to same-sex friends than opposite sex friends
1. BUT an exception is if your partner is opposite sex
than you will too (if you are married to that person)
i.We disclose information to ppl we like (depends on relationship and if we like
them)
1. The more we like someone, the more we disclose
a. Parents
.Mothers are more receivers of disclosure than fathers, especially by young
adults
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1. maybe bc of attachment theory so you tend to
disclose more???
b. Strangers
.“Strangers on the Plane” phenomenon
i.Why does it matter what you reveal? You never gonna see them again so you
feel OK revealing more slim chance of seeing them ever in the future
ii.If likely to see again, not as likely to reveal info
c. Most self-disclosure occur with: Strangers & friends
d. Least self-disclosure occurs with: Acquaintances
1. we don’t know them very well see them
2. We might see them again & might talk to them again,
much less likely to disclose private information than
strangers (too risky!)
6. The Johari Window Model - model is unique to each person we know b/c
we reveal different info to different ppl
. Open Window = KNOWN TO SELF, KNOWN TO OTHERS
.Information we know about ourselves and other ppl know about us (known to us,
known to others)
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