How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
The ChangingMinds Blog!
Can you tell what people online are really like?
The strapline for the scary 'Aliens' movie was 'In space, nobody can hear you scream'. Around the time the internet was getting going, Gary Larson, author of the 'Far Side' cartoons produced a drawing of a dog on a computer with the title 'On the web, nobody knows if you are a dog'.
But is it true? are first impressions online as good as first impressions face-to-face? Whilst there will always be practiced deceivers and na?e believers, what is the real difference between online and physical assessment of other people?
Researcher Max Weisbuch and his colleagues got students to chat with the same people online and in person without realizing they were being studied in this way. They were then asked about the likability of the stooges and their Facebook comments about them were analyzed. The results sowed that people who were rated as more likable face-to-face were also rated as more likable online.
Whilst this is perhaps unsurprising, it is interesting in that online the
whole body language and verbal intonation thing is largely missing. What seems
to be happening is that in the absence of non-verbal information we intensify
our search for substitute information, for example scrutinizing Facebook photos
and noting the emotionality and openness in written messages.