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Social Penetration Theory of Irwin Altman & Dalmas Taylor - Term Paper Example

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Social Penetration Theory of Irwin Altman & Dalmas Taylor

Similar to Altman and Taylor’s Social Penetration Theory of exposing more of themselves as levels of intimacy grew over time and interaction, the study of the Taiwanese adolescents indicated some similar patterns but some differences as well. As in the case of the popular onion peel model, the group comprised of males and females primarily teenagers, stated that they did engage more fully with members of the opposite sex as time progressed. Thus, as is the case where people go from revealing basic information to more and more personal information about themselves as they share degrees of companionship, so did the adolescents involved in the test. The results were comparable in real life to the Social Penetration Model. The results differed though with female participants compared to their male counterparts in cyberspace. The males progressed gradually, increasing as time and nature of the relationship grew. The females however, at first establishing a guarded level of self disclosure, gradually revealed more about themselves but then once again became more guarded when the relationship became that of a romantic or sexual one. The interaction performed solely in the realm of cyberspace was done only on the computer so physical and non-verbal communications were absent. While interacting with only a still photograph and written communication, the interaction between the participants would be far less intense than if they were together in person. Still another point that should be made, is that with the degree of anonymity and less vulnerability, the participants may have engaged in more forthright communication. The results also vary according to social norms, customs and cultural background. The females in Taiwan may have retreated when the degree of interaction became one of a sexual nature because of their upbringing and ideas about sexual involvement before marriage. This may not necessarily be the case among adolescents from other countries and cultures where promiscuity and sexual interaction are more widely accepted. Methods Used to Conduct this Research The survey used to compare the adolescents’ self-disclosure both in real life and in cyberspace consisted of a variety of questions about their desire to engage in conversation about different sexual topics at varying degrees of intimacy. Due to the anonymity, a deindividuated state is induced in cyberspace. The individuals then seem to be more apt to engage in sexual self-disclosure in cyberspace than in real life (Chiou andWan 2006). Therefore, sexual disclosure on the Internet may not be dependent on the level of intimacy in a relationship as it is in real life. The Taiwanese adolescents were divided into three groups from different demographic areas: Northern, Central and Southern Taiwan. An equal proportion of male and female subjects were used and also pertaining to the region they lived in. Therefore a broad cross section represented the participants in the study. The questionnaire used an 11-point scale and was comprised of 15 questions pertaining to feelings about pornography, sexually transmitted diseases, masturbation, sexual harassment and cybersex among others (Chiou and Wan 2006). Conclusions Found in the Study The researchers used mathematical formulas and computations to analyze the results. The ...Show more


Abstract In today’s modern technological age, new forms of communication have arisen. Cyberspace, as life on the Internet is known, is full of different Social Media platforms that people ranging from young adolescents to the elderly participate in. While interacting with each other, they form relationships with people they would never have come into contact with…
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Social Penetration Theory of Irwin Altman & Dalmas Taylor essay example
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