Chapter 7 discussion board
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Discussion: Chapter 7

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Please answer one of the following questions and respond to at least one other classmate’s posting. Please remember that you should respond to a different question than the one you originally discussed (i.e. if your initial posting was about question 1, please respond to a classmate’s posting for question 2 or 3).

Postings must address all aspects of the discussion question and consist of a well-developed paragraph that includes integration of concepts and terms from the text (please put the terms in bold type or ALL CAPS if your system will not cooperate, and also include page citations). Emphasis should be placed on discussing the concepts and theories discussed in the text. One sentence responses are unacceptable. Please respond in approximately 150-200 words.

As a friendly reminder, please post your response to a discussion question by midnight on Friday, October 23, and your response to a classmate’s posting by midnight on Monday, October 26.

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Sep 16, 2020
Sep 16 at 12:02pm
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Question 1. Think about the filters you use to eliminate people from consideration as potential romantic partners. What characteristics or behaviors lead you to judge others as unattractive? How is Duck’s Attraction Filter (Filtering Theory, p. 172-173) valid or invalid? Have you ever eliminated someone by using a sociological or pre-interaction cue only to reconsider them based on interaction and cognitive cues?

Interpersonal Attraction: Filtering Theory

What causes people to enter relationships in the first place? Communication theorist Steve Duck feels that attraction is really a process of elimination. According to his filtering theory, we use a series of filters to judge how close to others we want to become.15 At each filter, some potential partners are eliminated and some move on. Figure 7.1 shows how this process works.

What are the filters we use to regulate attraction? Duck identifies four filters: sociological or incidental, preinteraction, interaction, and cognitive cues. Sociological or incidental cues are the demographic or environmental factors that determine probability of contact. They include factors such as where we work and live, how frequently we travel, and so on. Obviously, we cannot form relationships with people we have never met, and maintaining contact with someone thousands of miles away is extremely difficult. Physical proximity seems to be a key factor here. Numerous studies show that marriages and close friendships are most likely to occur between people who live close to one another. By carefully choosing where to live, work, and play, people can increase the nature and frequency of their interpersonal bonds.

Preinteraction cues are also important filters. People use nonverbal impressions to determine whether they wish to interact with others. We use body type, physical beauty, dress, and related artifacts to give us some idea of what others are like. Whether or not they should, surface details often determine whether future interaction will occur. At least some of the time, the old expression “You never get a second chance to make a first impression” is true. Therefore, it is important to become more aware of the ways silent nonverbal messages affect impression formation.

Interaction cues occur once we have made initial contact. Some interactions are smooth and comfortable, whereas others are awkward and difficult. When topics flow easily, turn taking is smooth and effortless, eye contact and facial expression indicate friendliness and approval, and attraction is high. The ability to manage conversations and to make interaction rewarding is an important factor in increasing attractiveness.

Figure 7.1 Duck’s Attraction Filters

Adapted from “Interpersonal Communication in Developing Acquaintance” by Steven Duck, 1973, in Exploration in Interpersonal Communication, Gerald R. Miller, ed. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage, pp. 127–148.

Cognitive cues constitute the last, and most important, filter. Studies show that the strongest factors in creating solid, long-lasting relationships are psychological. In the long run, the extent to which values are shared and attitudes and beliefs are similar is a more important determinant of friendship than is physical appearance. How do we get to know another person at this level? By communicating openly about our beliefs, attitudes, and values. This is why it is important to disclose one’s own beliefs and values and to elicit disclosure from others. It is also important to be open to the possibilities in others. If we let initial filters keep us from getting to know people, we may be missing out on potentially rewarding relationships.

Paths to and from Intimacy

Professor Mark Knapp provides us with a ten-step model of the way relationships grow and dissolve. These steps are summarized in Figure 7.2.

The Journey Toward Intimacy

The first of the relational development stages occurs during a couple’s initial encounter and is known as the initiating stage. In this stage, partners work to create a favorable first impression; observe each other; and look for ways to open communication channels. Communication tends to be cautious, and topics are relatively shallow as individuals use tried-and-true opening lines and conventional formulas to initiate conversation.

If all goes well and initial evaluations are positive, a couple moves on to the experimenting stage. Here, partners search for common ground on which to begin to build their relationship. Communication at this stage consists primarily of small talk. Although the talk may be small, it is not unimportant, for it uncovers topics for further conversation, reduces uncertainty, and allows individuals to reveal their personalities. Communication at stage two is generally relaxed, uncritical, noncommittal, and somewhat ambiguous.

Experimenting-stage communication uncovers topics for further conversation, reduces uncertainty, and allows individuals to reveal their personalities.

Most relationships stop somewhere in stage two, but others move on to the intensifying stage. Here, individuals make initial moves toward greater involvement. Self-disclosure increases, and the use of nicknames and terms of endearment becomes more common. Inclusive pronouns such as we and us begin to be used, as do tentative expressions of commitment and private symbols for shared experiences. Finally, as partners become more familiar with each other’s verbal and nonverbal styles, they start to use verbal shortcuts and may even complete each other’s thoughts. In this stage, satisfaction and excitement are high.

In the integrating stage, the individuals become a couple both in their own and in others’ eyes. Attitudes and interests are shared, and social circles merge. As body rhythms synchronize, partners may even begin to talk and move in similar ways. Shared experiences and artifacts become personalized, and a couple can be overheard talking about “our” restaurant or “our” song. Finally, partners may exchange intimacy trophies. By wearing the other’s athletic jacket or by displaying the other’s picture, partners signal to the rest of the world their official status as a couple. This perception of unity is often reinforced by friends or acquaintances who now think of the partners as halves of a whole, and who may show their approval or disapproval of the relationship.

For the couple, the loss of individual identity that comes with integrating may be welcome or upsetting. Knapp emphasizes the fact that

as we participate in the integration process, we are intensifying and minimizing various aspects of our total person. As a result, we may not be fully conscious of the idea but when we commit ourselves to integrating with another, we also agree to become another individual.16

With commitment often comes insecurity. An individual may wonder whether his or her partner is truly involved in the relationship and may (either consciously or subconsciously) use secret tests to measure the other’s commitment. Leslie Baxter and William Wilmot discuss four of these secret tests: indirect suggestions, separation tests, endurance tests, and triangle tests.17

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