This article seeks to make an original contribution to the study of intercultural communication by examining the ‘culture shock’ model by means of scientific theories of behaviour. It will argue that although culture chock is built on both cultural determinist and cultural relativist foundations, it is broadly empirically accurate. However, it needs to be rendered consilient. Applying Genetic Similarity Theory to it renders it consilient and, indeed, it parsimoniously explains an important stage of culture shock. Culture shock is also found to be congruous with scientific behaviourist research. In engaging with culture shock as it does, the article aims to render intercultural communication more directly germane to those beyond the discipline.