Emotion encoding and interpretation in computer-mediated communication: Reasons for use


As computer-mediated communication (CMC) is increasingly used to build and maintain relationships, the examination of channel choice for the development of these social ties becomes important to study. Using free response data from Riordan and Kreuz (submitted for publication), we examine reasons for choosing among face-to-face, asynchronous email, or synchronous instant message channels to transmit negatively or positively valenced emotional information. The most common reason for choosing face-to-face over channels of CMC was the ability to use more nonverbal cues. The most common reason for choosing a CMC channel over face-to-face was to shield oneself from the message recipient. Face-to-face was deemed more effective, more personal, more comfortable, and less permanent than CMC channels. Reasons differed significantly by valence and channel. We suggest that better knowledge of why people choose certain channels for different types of socio-emotional communication can help develop more comprehensive theories of CMC that account for different attributes of each channel in information transmission. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Publication Title

Computers in Human Behavior