AuthorWalther, Joseph Bart.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis study involved an experiment of the effects of time and communication channel--computer conferencing versus face-to-face meetings--on impression development, message personalization, and relational communication in groups. Prior research on the relational aspects of computer-mediated communication has suggested strong depersonalizing effects of the medium due to the absence of nonverbal cues. Past research is criticized for failing to incorporate temporal and developmental perspectives on information processing and relational development. In this study data were collected from, and observations made of 96 subjects assigned to computer conferencing or traditional zero-history groups of three, who completed three tasks over several weeks' time. Results showed that computer-mediated groups increased in several relational dimensions to more positive levels, and that these subsequent levels approximated those of face-to-face groups. Boundaries on the predominant theories of computer-mediated communication are recommended, and future research is suggested.