The Breakfast Club: The Four Stages Of Social Penetration Theory

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Register to read the introduction… Social Penetration Theory was first coined by Social Psychologist's Irwin Altman and Dalmas Taylor. The theory posits that as relationships develop communication moves from non-intimate levels to deeper and more personal ones. "According to Altman and Taylor, they specify that relationships go through sequential stages as they develop" (Miller 167). In the earliest stage, orientation, individuals play it safe with small talk. "This involved the gathering of biographical data, the avoidance of disharmony, and the observation of the other's behaviors" (Helms ¶ 21). They are very cautious and hesitant in their interaction with others. "In the second stage, exploratory affective exchange, the individual begins to relax their guard a bit and share some …show more content…
In the beginning of the movie, the characters show little interaction with one another. They usually kept to themselves minding there own business. At one point in the beginning of the movie John asked Claire why she was in detention and Claire replied, "Mind your own business". Andrew asked Claire if she was going to his friend's party on Saturday night and she replied, "Maybe". This is an example of the orientation stage. Claire kept her conversation with Andrew short and she refuse to tell John why she was in detention because first of all she is not friends with him due to different social backgrounds and second she does not want her personal information to get around. The group goes in the second stage of social penetration, exploratory affective exchange, when they talk about such topics on their sex life and explanation on why they received detention. It is seen in the movie that they are more relax except for Claire since she is afraid to say that she is a virgin because they might consider her a "tease." "The more time one spends with each other the more likely we are to self-disclose more intimate thoughts and details of our life" ( Rogers 56). With that being said, we move towards the affective exchange where a great deal of open exchange occurs. Claire finally admits that she is a virgin. Towards the movie the group moves towards affective exchange when they talk about their …show more content…
"Trajectories of Relationship Disengagement." Journal of Social and Personal Relationships 1(1984)28-48.

Borcher, T. (1999) Interpersonal Communication: Self Disclosure http://www.abacon.com/commstudies/interpersonal/indisclosure.html

The Breakfast Club. Dir. John Hughes. Universal, 1985.

Brill, Michael. Transformation, Nostalgia, and Illusion in Public Life and Public place. Human Communication Research. 2(2, Winter), (1976) 7-24.

Brown, Barbara B., Altman, Irwin, and Werner, Carol M.(1992). Close relationships in the physical and social world: Dialectical and transactional analyses. Communication Yearbook. 15, 508-521.

Catton, William R. "Social and Behavior Science Research." Social And Behavioral Aspects of The Carrying Capacity of Natural Environments 269-290.

Helms, A. (2003). Social Penetration: The Development of Interpersonal Relationships Among Roommates. http://www.austincountry.com/socialpenetration.html

Merriam-Webster's Dictionary 2002 Merriam-Webster, Inc.

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