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The disclosure-intimacy link in computer-mediated communication: An attributional extension of the hyperpersonal model


The present research investigated whether the attribution process through which people explain self-disclosures differs in text-based computer-mediated interactions versus face to face, and whether differences in causal attributions account for the increased intimacy frequently observed in mediated communication. In the experiment participants were randomly assigned to a face-to-face or computer-mediated interaction with a confederate who made either high- or low-intimacy self-disclosures. Results indicated that computer-mediated interactions intensified the association between disclosure and intimacy relative to face-to-face interactions, and this intensification effect was fully mediated by increased interpersonal (relationship) attributions observed in the computer-mediated condition. The article presents an attributional extension of the hyperpersonal model (Walther, 1996) by demonstrating the role of causal attributions in interpersonal intensification processes in text-based computer-mediated interactions.

L.C. Jiang
N. Bazarova
J.T. Hancock
Human Communication Research, 37, 58-77
Publication Date
January 1, 2011