My professor, a normal person and what of expectancy violation theory.

Posted by in Communication, Derivations, Theory

Burgoon (1988) developed expectancy violation theory as a theory of non-verbal behavior centering on the behavioral expectations we have about others and what interactions with others should be like. The theory holds that if our expected behavior is violated outside of acceptable threshold levels our attention is diverted to that individual (arousal occurs) and the impact of the violation is evaluated by two factors. One of the factors is the assessment of the person commuting the violation and if it is an individual whom has a high communicator reward valence then the violation is seen as less or acceptable. If the violation is within the range of tolerability the behavior is assimilated into expected behavior patterns.

In the proposed scenario encountering my professor at the local undergraduate bar would be noteworthy because it is not behavior that is stereotypically associated with a professor. Professors are often seen to only inhabit that professional, serious and academic personality and coming upon them in this scene would be outside of the expectations set for them. If the professor’s behavior was to be wild, reckless or inline with undergraduates binge drinking my behavioral expectations would be severely violated and my reaction may include a change in perception from respected to irresponsible and could impact the classroom interaction by removing the initial professional description and attribution. However, if the professor was highly liked by me and I assigned a high CRV value to them and their behavior in the bar would not be extreme the behavior violation would be excused.