Nonverbal expectancy violations: Model elaboration and application to immediacy behaviors

Judee K. Burgoon, Jerold L. Hale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

537 Scopus citations


Nonverbal expectancy violations theory holds that positive violations produce more favorable communication outcomes than conformity to expectations, while negative violations produce less favorable ones, and that reward characteristics of the communicator mediate the interpretation and evaluation of violations. The factors affecting expectancies and the consequences of violating them are reviewed and compared to other models (discrepancy-arousal, arousal-labeling, arousal-valence, sequential functional) employing similar assumptions and mediating variables. An experiment extending the model domain to immediacy violations and to interactions with familiar as well as unfamiliar others had friend and stranger dyads (N=82) engage in discussions during which one member of each pair significantly increased immediacy, significantly reduced it, or conformed to normal levels. Nonimmedicacy violations produced lower credibility ratings than high immediacy or conformity to expectations for both friends and strangers. Nonimmediacy was interpreted as communicating detachment, nonintimacy, dissimilarity and more dominance than normal immediacy, while high immediacy expressed the most intimacy, similarity, involvement and dominance. Implications for the role of ambiguity in violations are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)58-79
Number of pages22
JournalCommunication Monographs
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics


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