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ERIC Number: ED374487
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1994-Aug
Pages: 24
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Is Human-Computer Interaction Social or Parasocial?
Sundar, S. Shyam
Conducted in the attribution-research paradigm of social psychology, a study examined whether human-computer interaction is fundamentally social (as in human-human interaction) or parasocial (as in human-television interaction). All 30 subjects (drawn from an undergraduate class on communication) were exposed to an identical interaction with computers. In one condition, subjects were told they were dealing with computers; in another, they were told they were interacting with programmers. Each subject was tutored by two different computers on two topics and evaluated by the computers. The first set of evaluations praised the subject four out of five times, the second set of evaluations criticized the subjects four out of five times. Psychological differences were found between conditions, suggesting human-computer interaction to be social rather than parasocial. Users tended to respond to computers as though the computers were other humans, and dealing with computers is more like interpersonal communication rather than like mass communication. Further research should expand on this study by adding another condition wherein subjects are led to believe that they are interacting with a live tutor/evaluator in another room. Depending on whether this condition is closer to the computer condition or the programmer condition, theories about the socialness of human-computer interaction can be generated. (Contains 25 references and one table of data.) (RS)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Researchers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A