Expectancy Violation Theory

1580 words 7 pages
Expectancy Violation Theory

“Expectancy violations exert significance on people’s interaction patterns, on their impressions of one another, and on the outcomes of their interactions” (Burgoon 1993:40). In other words, Judee Burgoon, founder of the expectancy violation theory, concluded from various experiments that people evaluate communication with others in a negative or positive regard, based on their expectation of the interaction and their opinion of the communicator. When people do not act in accordance with ones expectations, one resorts to evaluating their communication behavior, be it verbal or non verbal as well as how this behavior makes one feel. The following essay will further explore and explain the expectancy
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But the more she forced herself into my life, the more I was forced to get to know her. This resulted in me letting my guard down and reciprocating the effort she made to get to know me, which surprisingly resulted in what has now bloomed into a very special friendship.

Analysis of the Relationship
“The initial assumption we make is that people develop evaluations of others in an interaction. These evaluations may be based on their first impressions or on the history of past interactions with the same individual” (Burgoon 1993:33). I did not expect that Nishad and I would form a relationship and become friends. Nishad, the ‘punishing’ initiator in this case had initially caused a large negative discrepancy in my norm even though she did not do anything to me personally. People expect certain proxemic patterns in particular circumstances based on past experiences (Bachman & Guerrero 2006:944 ). In this case, my past experience had led me to have a negative opinion of Nishad. I was not used to or open to interaction with Nishad. When she forcefully pursued a relationship with me I initially experienced my “threat threshold” or the distance at which an interactant experiences physical or psychological discomfort by the presence of another (Burgoon 1993:44). I also viewed our interaction as negative because it violated my expectations. While Nishad was sending me positively valued nonverbal and verbal messages by being friendly and open to a relationship, I


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