Attitude change in face-to-face and computer-mediated communication: Private self-awareness as mediator and moderator

  • Sassenberg K
  • Boos M
  • Rabung S
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Abstract

Two types of social influence can be distinguished: norm-based influence occurs when social identity is salient and interpersonal influence occurs when personal identity is salient. In two experiments the impact of trait and state private self-awareness on interpersonal influence during face-to-face and computer-mediated communication (CMC) was investigated. It is argued that interpersonal influence resulting from face-to-face communication is stronger than interpersonal influence resulting from CMC because CMC heightens state private self-awareness. As a result, it leads to a focus on personal perceptions and thoughts which in turn reduces attitude change. Experiment 1 suggests that communication media may influence attitude change via private self-awareness. Experiment 2 showed that trait private self-awareness moderates the effect of communication media on interpersonal influence. Interpersonal influence was stronger in face-to-face communication than in CMC only for individuals higher in private self-awareness. This finding indicates that the impact of situational variations of a concept can be limited to individuals who have a more elevated sense of private self- awareness.

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