Uncertainty Reduction Theory

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2015-01-01
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Redmond, Mark
Associate Professor Emeritus
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English

The Department of English seeks to provide all university students with the skills of effective communication and critical thinking, as well as imparting knowledge of literature, creative writing, linguistics, speech and technical communication to students within and outside of the department.

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The Department of English and Speech was formed in 1939 from the merger of the Department of English and the Department of Public Speaking. In 1971 its name changed to the Department of English.

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1939-present

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  • Department of English and Speech (1939-1971)

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Uncertainty reduction theory (URT) was originally created to explain the communication process that occurs when two strangers interact. Charles Berger and Richard Calabrese (1975) observed that when we interact with strangers, we experience uncertainty because we don’t really know what to expect. Berger and Calabrese claim that as the interaction proceeds we gain information that quickly reduces our uncertainties. However, there have probably been times where you didn’t really worry about finding out anything about the stranger because you never expected to see the person again or it wasn’t someone with whom you wanted to pursue a relationship. URT provides explanations for these and other behaviors when people interact with someone new.

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Thu Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2015
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