Teasing apart the effect of visibility and physical co-presence to examine the effect of CMC on interpersonal attraction

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Abstract

This study analyzed the possible difference in interpersonal attraction between communicators in cue-rich computer-mediated communication (CMC) and face-to-face (FtF) communication. The first aim was to determine whether physical co-presence and visibility may account for differences in interpersonal attraction between interlocutors in CMC and FtF communication. The second aim was to assess social presence and identifiability as underlying mechanisms in the relation between communication medium and interpersonal attraction. An experiment among 105 unacquainted cross-sex dyads with a 2 (visible/invisible) × 2 (physical co-present/physically not co-present) between-subjects design, revealed that while visibility had a direct negative effect on interpersonal attraction, it positively influenced attraction through social presence and identifiability. In addition, people who were physically co-present were more attracted towards each other because they felt more social presence. Finally, both co-present and visible interactants were less attracted towards each other. This study provides support for social presence theory by revealing that both physical co-presence and visibility enhance social presence. In addition, our results have implications for theory and research regarding the effect of cue-rich CMC on interpersonal attraction.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)468-476
Number of pages8
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Volume55
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2016

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