It is one of the only communication theories that specifically west and turner introducing communication theory pdf into the initial interaction between people prior to the actual communication process. The theory asserts the notion that, when interacting, people need information about the other party in order to reduce their uncertainty.
In gaining this information people are able to predict the other’s behavior and resulting actions, all of which according to the theory is crucial in the development of any relationship. Charles Berger and Richard Calabrese explain the connection between their central concept of uncertainty and seven key variables of relationship development with a series of axioms, and deduce a series of theorems accordingly. There are three types of strategies which people may use to seek information about someone: passive, active, and interactive. Furthermore, the initial interaction of strangers can be broken down into individual stages—the entry stage, the personal stage, and the exit stage. According to the theory, people find uncertainty in interpersonal relationships unpleasant and are motivated to reduce it through interpersonal communication.
In 1975, Charles Berger and Richard Calabrese created uncertainty reduction theory “to explain how communication is used to reduce uncertainties between strangers engaging in their first conversation together”. Previous researchers had approached interpersonal communication from empirical perspectives. Hypotheses had been derived from social psychological theories as well. However, the lack of focus on interpersonal communication process motivated Berger and Calabrese to form hypotheses that directly involve communication behavior. Shannon and Weaver suggests, when people interact initially, uncertainties exist especially when the probability for alternatives in a situation is high and the probability of them occurring is equally high. When strangers meet, their primary concern is to reduce their uncertainty or to increase predictability.