Testing the Interactivity Principle: Effects of Mediation, Propinquity, and Verbal and Nonverbal Modalities in Interpersonal Interaction

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Early channel reliance research compared different modes of communication to assess relationships among nonverbal and verbal cues. Emerging communication technologies represent a new venue for gaining insights into the same relationships. In this article, the authors advance a principle of interactivity as a framework for decomposing some of those relationships and report an experiment in which physical proximity—whether actors are in the same place (“co-located”) or interacting at a distance (“distributed”)—and the availability of other nonverbal environmental, auditory, and visual information in distributed modes is varied. Results indicate that both proximity and availability of nonverbal cues affect communication processes, social judgments participants make about each other, and task performance. The authors discuss implications about gains and losses due to presence of nonverbal features.

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Journal of Communication, v. 52, issue 3, p. 657–677