Social Psychological Aspects of Computer-Mediated Communication

Sara Kiesler
Jane Siegel
Timothy McGuire


As more and more people use computers for communicating, the behavioral and societal effects of computer-mediated communication are becoming critical research topics. This article describes some of the issues raised by electronic communication, illustrates one empirical approach for investigating its social psychological effects, and discusses why social psychological research might contribute to a deeper understanding of computer-mediated communication specifically and of computers and technological change in society more generally. One objective of our research is to explore how people participate in computer-mediated communication and how computerization affects group efforts to reach consensus. In experiments, we have shown differences in participation, decisions, and interaction among groups meeting face to face and in simultaneous computer-linked discourse and communication by electronic mail. We discuss these results and the design of subsequent research to highlight the many researchable social psychological issues raised by computing and technological change.


APA Citation

Kiesler, S., Siegel, J., & McGuire, T. W. (1984). Social psychological aspects of computer mediated communication. American Psychologist, 39, 1123-1134.

About the Study

Links to Article
Mode Online
Publication Type Journal Article
In Publication American Psychologist
Type of Research Quantitative
Research Design Experiments
Intervention/Areas of Study
Level of Analysis Student-level
Specific Populations Examined Undergraduates
Peer-Reviewed Yes
Specific Institutional Characteristics of Interest
Specific Course or Program Characteristics
Outcome Variables of Interest Instructional effectiveness
Student Sample Size 0-99
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