Uncertainty Reduction Theory
“The Vow” and “Meet the Parents”
Uncertainty reduction theory is “the point of view that uncertainty motivates communication and that certainty reduces the motivation to communicate” (Wood, definition). This theory was first developed by Charles Berger. He believed that when people are to meet for the first time they have a high level of uncertainty and the only way for them to reduce it is to communicate with one another. “They don’t know what each other likes, thinks and believes; how each other responds to certain reactions, and they’re unsure what each other expects or wants from interacting” (Wood,184). There are three prior conditions that are meant to help individuals want to reduce uncertainty.
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The more similarities people share with one another the more likely they are going to get along and reduce their uncertainty with one another. Where as if they have barely any similarities this will increase the level of uncertainty. I personally find it very hard to continue a conversation with a person when not having many similarities. It is difficult to talk to someone when everything you have to say the person they disagrees with. Similarities are a way to make connections with people and a way to strengthen a relationship. This was evident in both of the films, they both showed that similarities and dissimilarities are able to increase or decrease uncertainty between individuals. In the beginning of “The Vow” after Rachel’s accident she can only remember her old self, which was a preppy law student, who was engaged, and carried a lot about her appearance. But the person Channing was married to was not that, his wife was a carefree artist, who did not want anything to do with her family. For the couple this made it difficult for them to try and find their similarities again. With her not be able to remember the person she was with her husband it brought up a lot of differences in their likes resulting in increasing their uncertainty with one another. For example there was one scene where Rachel and Channing go out to a bar with Rachel’s sister and while out she acts like a