• January 26, 2024
  • healthycosmic
  • 0

Interpersonal communication is the basis of human interaction, forming relationships and influencing social interactions. One fascinating way to look at this is the Expectancy Violation Theory (EVT). It was developed through Judee Burgoon in the latter part of the 70s. EVT offers a distinctive perspective through which to study and understand the intricate nature of interpersonal communication. This article will dive into the core principles of the Expectancy Violation Theory, its applications, and how it impacts the dynamism of human interactions.

Introduction of Expectancy Violation Theory

Effective communication is essential for developing or maintaining relationships. The Expectancy Violation Theory posits that our expectations of how others are expected to behave significantly impact our attitudes and actions. This theory adds an exciting aspect to interpersonal communications by studying situations where people violate expectations set by others and the consequences for relationships.

Key Concepts and Predictions

The basis for EVT is two main concepts: Expectancy and value.

Expectancy is the expectation of how others will behave in any given scenario. Expectations are influenced by many aspects, such as social norms or personal experiences, as well as the history of relationships. Infraction Valence, on the one hand, refers to the perceived negative or positive evaluation of a deviation from the expectations.

EVT forecasts that when people take actions that align with expectations, the interaction will likely be viewed as positive. When expectations are breached, the nature of the violation and the relationship between the two will determine if the result will be positive or not. For instance, a constructive breach (a surprise compliment) could boost a relationship, whereas an unintentional breach (unwanted personal space intrusion) can cause discomfort or tension.

Reconciling Conflicting Expectations

One of the most exciting aspects of EVT is its capacity to clarify how people can reconcile expectations that conflict. If expectations from various sources match, the participants negotiate to decide which is more important. Negotiation is crucial in determining the dynamic of interpersonal relations.

Understanding how people manage different expectations can offer valuable insights into the complexities of human interactions. It is a way to understand the dynamic and adaptable character of communication between people, where people constantly manage and alter their expectations according to the circumstances and specifics of their interactions.

Research into Human Interaction

Understanding EVT can provide deep insights into human interactions. People can manage interactions more efficiently by analyzing the interaction between expectations and behaviour. EVT can be a beneficial instrument for improving communication skills and fostering positive connections.

Applications of Expectancy Violation Theory

Expectancy Violation Theory (EVT) is a field that has applications in many areas and sheds light on the various factors that affect human interactions. In the advertisement field, for example, the theory can help marketers understand how people react to new or unexpected advertising strategies. By strategically bending expectations, advertisers can draw their audience’s attention and make an unforgettable impression.

At work, EVT has implications for management and team dynamics. Leaders who are aware of how their employees view them may strategically utilise expectancy violations to promote a healthy and productive workplace. Understanding and managing the valence of violations will help in successful conflict resolution and improve team cohesion.

Furthermore, Expectancy Violation Theory (EVT) has implications for learning about cultural variations in communication. Different cultures typically have different standards regarding people’s verbal signals and styles of communication. Through the use of EVT, scholars and experts will understand how people from diverse cultural backgrounds perceive and respond to the violation of these expectations.

Biography of Judee Burgoon

Judee Burgoon, the visionary behind the Expectancy Violation Theory, is a renowned expert in communication. She was born on the 25th of April 1945. Burgoon obtained her Ph.D. in Communication at the University of Iowa. In the course of her career, she’s contributed significantly to studying non-verbal communication as well as deceit and, of course, expectancy violation.

Burgoon’s work has not only enriched our understanding of interpersonal communication but has also influenced a variety of fields that are not related to communication studies. Her research continues to inspire researchers and scholars and shape how we think about and study human interactions.


Expectancy Violation Theory provides an insightful and nuanced view of interpersonal communication. By examining the interaction between expectations, violations and the subsequent significance assigned to these acts, we better understand the intricate nature of human interactions. The ramifications of Expectancy Violation Theory (EVT) are a wide range of areas, such as advertising and workplace dynamics, making it a valuable method for researchers and professionals to unravel the mysteries of efficient communication. As we weave through the intricate web of human relations, EVT provides a roadmap to understand the unspoken rules that determine our interactions.

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