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This theory concerns "(1) the behavioral changes that people make to attune their communication to their partner, and (2) the extent to which people perceive their partner as appropriately attuning to them." "Communication accommodation theorists focus on the patterns of convergence and divergence of communication behaviors, particularly as they relate to people’s goals for social approval, communication efficiency, and identity".Particularly, it focused on the cognitive and affective processes underlying individuals' convergence and divergence through speech.The importance of language and behavior is illustrated in the third assumption since they are indicators of social status and group belongings.When two people who speak different languages try to have a conversation, the language used is more likely to be the one used by the higher status person.That idea of "salient social membership" negotiation is illustrated well during an interview as the interviewee usually makes all efforts to identify with the interviewer by accommodating the way that is spoken and behaved to raise the chance of getting the job.The last assumption puts emphasis on social appropriateness and norms.The causal attribution theory "[s]uggests that we interpret other people's behavior, and evaluate the individual themselves, in terms of the motivations and intentions that we attribute as the cause of their behavior" It applies to convergence in that convergence might be viewed positively or negatively depending on the causes we attribute to it: "Although interpersonal convergence is generally favorably received, and non-convergence generally unfavorably received, the extent to which this holds true will undoubtedly be influenced by the listeners attributions of the speaker's intent." Giles and Smith provide the example of an experiment that they conducted amongst French and English speaking Canadians to illustrate this.In this experiment, when individuals believed that the person from the different group used language convergence to reduce cultural barriers, they evaluated it more positively than when they attributed it to the pressures of the situation.
The first assumption indicates that people bring their past experience to conversations.when members of different groups are in contact, they compare themselves on dimensions that are important to them, such as personal attributes, abilities, material possessions and so forth." Because speech style and language is an important factor in defining social groups, divergence in speech style or language is often used to maintain intergroup distinctiveness and differentiate from the out-group, especially when group membership is a salient issue or the individual's identity and group membership is being threatened.Many of the principles and concepts from social identity theory are also applicable to communication accommodation theory.Since speech is a way to express group membership, people adopt convergence or divergence in communication to "signal a salient group distinctiveness, so as to reinforce a social identity".Communication accommodation thus, becomes a tool to emphasize group distinctiveness in a positive way, and strengthen the individual's social identity.
There are four main socio-psychological theories: The similarity-attraction theory posits that "The more similar our attitudes and beliefs are to those of others, the more likely it is for them to be attracted to us." An individual on the receiving end of high level of accommodation is likely to develop a greater sense of self-esteem and satisfaction than being a receiver of low accommodation. states that prior to acting, we attempt to assess the rewards and costs of alternate courses of action", and that we tend to choose whatever course of action will bring greater rewards and less costs.