Table of Contents

General Contexts

Intrapersonal Communication (Persuasion)

Interpersonal Communication

Small Group Communication

Organizational Communication

Intercultural Communication

Mass Communication

Applied Contexts

Health Communication

Instructional Communication

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Last updated February 14, 2001


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Explanation of Theory:At least one of the persons in an intercultural encounter is a stranger.  Strangers are “hyperaware” of cultural differences and tend to overestimate the effect of cultural identity on the behavior of people in an alien society, while blurring individual distinctions.

Theorists: William Gudykunst


Primary Article:William B. Gudykunst, “A model of uncertainty reduction in intercultural encounters,”  Journal of Language and Social Psychology, vol.4, 1985 pg. 79-97 

Individual Interpretations: n/a

Metatheoretical Assumptions: n/a

Ontological Assumptions:n/a

Epistemological Assumptions:n/a

Axiological Assumptions:n/a


Ideas and Implications: n/a

Example:Stranger is a sub-theory of Gudykunst’s Anxiety Uncertainty Management theory.  It claims that aliens who are strangers are more apt to notice and stereotype members of the host society.  A stranger, from America, for instance,  in Honduras may claim “All the Hondurans shake hands too often.” 

Relevant Research:
Chafetz, J. S. (1997). Feminist theory and sociology: Underutilized contributions for mainstream theory. Annual Review of Sociology, 23, 97-120.
Hartsock, N. (1981). Political change: Two perspectives on power. In C. Bunch (Ed.), Building feminist theory: Essays from Quest, a feminist quarterly (pp. 55-70). New York: Longman.
Riger, S. (1992). Epistmological debates, feminist voies: Science, social values, and the study of women. American Psychologist, 47, 730-740.

Location in Eight (8) Primary Communication Theory Textbooks:

     Anderson, R., & Ross, V. (1998). Questions of communication: A practical introduction to theory (2nd ed.). New York: St. Martin's Press. n/a

     Cragan, J. F., & Shields, D.C. (1998). Understanding communication theory: The communicative forces for human action. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon. n/a

 Griffin, E. (2000). A first look at communication theory (4th ed.). Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill. 393-394

     Griffin, E. (1997). A first look at communication theory (3rd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill. 407-408

      Infante, D. A., Rancer, A. S., & Womack, D. F. (1997). Building communication theory (3rd ed.). Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland Press. n/a

      Littlejohn, S. W. (1999). Theories of human communication (6th ed). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth. n/a

      West, R., & Turner, L. H. (2000). Introducing communication theory: Analysis and application. Mountain View, CA: Mayfield. n/a

       Wood, J. T. (1997). Communication theories in action: An introduction. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth. n/a