At a party, one observes various levels of interpersonal communication. At an open table, new acquaintances exchange names and share their musical preferences. A couple on their second date chats about their political views. Long-time friends discuss their feelings about a difficult family situation. Meanwhile, a married couple sits quietly, making only occasional comments about the other guests and chuckling in agreement. Another couple, stewing in anger, sits away from the other guests, refusing to speak to each other.
Social Penetration Theory: Definition & Examples - Video & Lesson Transcript | daviddedios.com
The social penetration theory SPT proposes that, as relationships develop, interpersonal communication moves from relatively shallow, non-intimate levels to deeper, more intimate ones. Altman and Taylor note that relationships "involve different levels of intimacy of exchange or degree of social penetration". The social penetration theory is known as an objective theory as opposed to an interpretive theory, meaning that it is based on data drawn from experiments and not from conclusions based on individuals' specific experiences. The social penetration theory states that the relationship development occurs primarily through self-disclosure , or intentionally revealing personal information such as personal motives or desires, feelings, thoughts, and experiences to others. This theory is also guided by the assumptions that relationship development is systematic and predictable. Through self-disclosure, relationship development follows particular trajectory, moving from superficial layers of exchanges to more intimate ones. Social penetration theory is based on four basic assumptions.
The topics of breadth and depth have come up repeatedly. That is because these two terms are so important and the central foundation to the Social Penetration Theory. Just as in real life, breadth and depth works the same in online social networks such as Facebook.