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Interpersonal Sensitivity in Computer-Mediated and Face-to-Face Conversations


Two studies were designed to assess the impact of computer-mediated communication (CMC) on the development of dominant/subordinate status roles and on the accuracy of interpersonal perceptions during dyadic, text-based conversations. Results comparing face-to-face (FtF) and synchronous CMC interactions indicated: (a) that dyads established dominant/subordinate roles in both communicative environments, although these roles were more clearly differentiated in the CMC interactions; and (b) that the accuracy of interpersonal perceptions did not differ substantially during CMC and FtF interactions. Considered together, these data pose problems for theoretical accounts of CMC suggesting that the impoverished social cues in this form of text-based communication tend to equalize hierarchical differences in the status of participants and undermine the accuracy of interpersonal perceptions.

E. Boucher
J.T. Hancock
P.J. Dunham
Media Psychology, 11, 235-258
Publication Date
April 1, 2008