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Impression Formation in Computer-Mediated Communication Revisited: An Analysis of the Breadth and Intensity of Impressions


Following either a text-based, synchronous computer-mediated conversation (CMC) or a face-to-face dyadic interaction, 80 participants rated their partners’ personality profile. Impressions were assessed in terms of both their breadth (the comprehensiveness of the impression) and intensity (the magnitude of the attributions). Results indicated that impressions formed in the CMC environment were less detailed but more intense than those formed face-to-face. These data provide support for theories that, in addition to acknowledging the unique constraints and characteristics of CMC, consider the cognitive strategies and heuristics involved in the impression formation process. The differential impact of a text-based medium on trait-specific impressions (e.g., extraversion, neuroticism) is also discussed in the context of a cross-modal approach to impression formation.

J.T. Hancock
P.J. Dunham
Communication Research, 28, 325-347
Publication Date
June 1, 2001