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Four main socio-psychological theories: Similarity-attraction 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.
Social exchange process The social exchange process theory "...
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Therefore, communication is not only influenced by situational conditions and initial reactions but the "...
social-historical context in which the interaction is embedded".
These theories help to explain why speakers seek to converge or diverge from the language, dialect, accent and behavior of their interlocutors. This latter theory argues that a person's self-concept comprises a personal identity and a social identity, and that this social identity is based in comparisons people make between in-groups (groups they belong to) and out-groups (groups they do not belong to).
According to social identity theory, people strive to maintain a positive social identity by either joining groups where they feel more comfortable or making a more positive experience of belonging to the groups they already belong to.
The first assumption indicates that people bring their past experience to conversations.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.Although most often convergence can bring forth rewards, there are some occasions when it can also bring forth costs such as "increased effort to converge, a loss of perceived integrity and personal (and sometimes group) identity".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.