- Interactive uncertainty reduction strategies and verbal affection in computer-mediated communication
- Communication Research
- Volume | Issue number
- 39 | 6
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR)
The goal of this study was to investigate the language-based strategies that computer-mediated communication (CMC) users employ to reduce uncertainty in the absence of nonverbal cues. Specifically, this study investigated the prevalence of three interactive uncertainty reduction strategies (i.e., self-disclosure, question asking, and question/disclosure intimacy) in reduced-cue settings. Moreover, this study investigated whether these uncertainty reduction strategies increased the verbal statements of affection in CMC. Eighty-one unacquainted cross-sex dyads were randomly assigned to three experimental conditions: face-to-face, visual CMC supported by a webcam, or text-only CMC. Content analysis of the verbal communication revealed that text-only CMC interactants made a greater proportion of affection statements than face-to-face interactants. Proportions of question asking and question/disclosure intimacy were higher in both CMC conditions than in the face-to-face condition, but only question asking mediated the relationship between CMC and verbal statements of affection. No differences in question asking, question/disclosure intimacy, and verbal statements of affection were observed between the text-only CMC condition and the visual CMC condition. This study provided additional support for social information processing theory by specifying the role of different language-based strategies that may be employed online.
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