Predicted Outcome Value During Initial Interactions A Reformulation of Uncertainty Reduction Theory



This article presents an expansion and reformulation of uncertainty reduction theory. Past research indicates that support for the basic axioms of the uncertainty perspective is weak, especially with regard to initial interaction processes. It is suggested that uncertainty reduction is not the primary concern of individuals during this entry phase, as previously posited. Rather, uncertainty reduction is cast as subordinate to the more central concern of increasing positive relational outcomes. During initial interactions, uncertainty reduction is expected to enhance individuals perceived ability to forecast future relational outcomes. Important initial interaction behaviors and decisions are presumed to follow from the values these forecasted outcomes take. Several major revisions of uncertainty axioms and theorems are generated.