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Social psychological aspects of computer-mediated communication

by S Kiesler, J Siegel, T W McGuire
American Psychologist ()

Abstract

Describes some of the issues raised by electronic communication, including time and information-processing pressures, absence of regulating feedback, dramaturgical weakness, paucity of status and position cues, social anonymity, and computing norms and immature etiquette. An empirical approach for investigating the social psychological effects of electronic communication is illustrated, and how social psychological research might contribute to a deeper understanding of computers and technological change in society and computer-mediated communication (CMC) is discussed. A series of studies that explored how people participate in CMC and how computerization affects group efforts to reach consensus is described; results indicate differences in participation, decisions, and interaction among groups meeting face to face and in simultaneous computer-linked discourse and communication by electronic mail. Findings are attributed to difficulties of coordination from lack of informational feedback, absence of social influence cues for controlling discussion, and depersonalization from lack of nonverbal involvement and absence of norms. (103 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved). © 1984 American Psychological Association.

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