Skip to comments.Social Penetration Theory
Posted on 11/15/2006 4:45:50 AM PST by kriztine rosales-viray
SOCIAL PENETRATION THEORY By Irwin Altman and Dalmas Taylor Interpreted by Kriztine Rosales-Viray
Not few thinkers have been concerned with the study of interpersonal relationships. This topic is a commonplace in fields such as psychology, sociology, philosophy and other behavioral sciences. Business-centered disciplines have their share of an array of principles about interpersonal relationships. The primary belief was that a successful interpersonal relationship within and without the business establishment yields a successful business. In the field of governance and politics, this topic could not be avoided. But among all the fields that study interpersonal relationships, theories developed in the science of communication, in my opinion, are the most laudable. One of these numerous theories is SOCIAL PENETRATION THEORY of both Irwin Altman and Dalmas Taylor, the focus of this paper. To sketch the map of this paper, section B clears out some of the key concepts mentioned in the body e.g. Personality Structure, Self-Disclosure and of course Social Penetration Theory. A thorough discussion on Personality Structure as assumed by Altman and Taylor is in section C.
How they were able to compare people to onions? is made lucid in the same section. Section D explains the main features of self-disclosure and answers the question: How closeness is born out of self-disclosure?. In section E, the major features, arguments and strengths of Social Penetration Theory will be brought into exposure. And in the concluding section (section E) the possible weaknesses of the theory will be noticed.
B. Clarification of Terms There are three key concepts that need to be exhaustively defined before we could have a comprehensive presentation of what Social Penetration theory really is. These are the following. B.1 Personality Structure it refers to the nature and/or basic description of human personality. In the general level, this structure is common to many if not most of the individual persons. This is even reaffirmed in the views of Altman and Taylor. B.2 Self-Disclosure - it refers to the gradual process of unfolding ones inner self. This process, in the writings of Altman and Taylor, is possible only after an established intimacy and closeness. It is quite difficult for a person to divulge all his/her secrets to another person he barely knows. And it is nearly impossible for a person to disclose the innermost layers of his/her self. B.3 Social Penetration Theory this theory refers to the interpersonal relationship that is dependent on the gradual self-disclosure of one person to another person through their intimacy and closeness. It presupposes that people are like onions having multiple layers. One person tries to penetrate every layer till he reaches the very core of another persons self. The researcher accepts that the definitions given above are limited, however, a complete explanation about the concepts and their logical relations will be provided in the following sections.
C. Personality Structure: A Multi-Layered Onion Altman and Taylor liken individuals to onions. The reason for this comparison is the fact that both the onion and the person do have multi-layers. In the case of the onion, it has multiple layers surrounding its core. Likewise, individuals do have multi-layered nature of personality. This simply means that what one can superficially perceive about another person may not entirely be its real self. There are several layers before one could penetrate anothers inner self. Altman and Taylor illustrate these layers. First layer is labeled as the superficial area of identification which is being composed of the following: preference in music, clothes, foods, etc. the next is the semi-private layer which includes the attitude that a person reveals only to some people. These people are perhaps close to him/her. The inner core is made up of one persons values, self-concepts, unresolved conflicts and deeply felt emotions. This is the unique private domain which is invisible to the world but has a significant impact on the areas of one persons life.
D. Closeness through Self-Disclosure Closeness and intimacy between individuals become possible only through self-disclosure. Talks about deep secrets and thoughts between two persons in a manner of reciprocity result to closeness and intimacy. This is where Social Penetration Theory of Altman and Taylor becomes applicable. How? The depth of penetration represents the degree of personal disclosure.
I feel compelled to disclose that I have no idea why you posted this. Gee, I feel closer to you already!
So women lie when they say size doesn't matter.
This ties into what I've called the Virtue of Straightforwardness. Assuming that most people are good by nature, it's in our interest to share as much info as possible.
Do you have the "Social Penetrators" ping list?
Who "penetrates" onions, anyway?
Most people peel, slice, and dice.
well, now you can say you were published on your resume.
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