“What you say and how you say it” matters: An experimental evidence of the role of synchronicity, modality, and message valence during smartphone-mediated communication
ABSTRACT: Nowadays, smartphone-Mediated Communication (SMC) has become a popular form of social interactions. The present experimental study manipulated three aspects of messaging in a WhatsApp chat as a form of SMC: synchronicity (immediate vs. time-lagged response), modality (with or without emojis), and valence (empathic accurate vs. empathic inaccurate response). The aim of this study was to investigate whether these three aspects had an impact on perceived social support, interpersonal trust, and personality attribution of the communication partner. The partial mediation of perceived social presence (the evaluation of the communication partner’s accessibility) and subjective social presence (the perception of being concordant with him/her) was also examined. Participants were 160 young adults, balanced in gender. They were randomly assigned to different the experimental conditions where they engaged in a manipulated WhatsApp chat with a fictitious same-gender communication partner. Post-questionnaire data were analyzed using Structural Equation Modeling. Message valence (empathic accurate response) and modality (with emojis) significantly predicted higher levels of both forms of social presence. Synchronicity (immediate response) predicted higher levels of perceived but not subjective social presence. Social presence, in turn, was positively associated with social support, while subjective, but not perceived social presence, was positively associated with personality attribution. Neither perceived nor subjective social presence were related to interpersonal trust. Our results show that both what is said and how it is said impact the experience of interpersonal relations in SMC.
Project description:<b>Background:</b> Empathy is essential for interpersonal relationships, yet remains difficult to measure. Some evidence suggests that early traumatic experiences leads to alterations in empathic responding. <b>Objective:</b> This study sought to differentiate connections between subtypes of childhood maltreatment, a pictorial test of affective empathy (PET), and self-reported empathy (Interpersonal Reactivity Index; IRI) by using network analysis approach to investigate the structure of relationships between childhood maltreatment and later empathic responding. <b>Method:</b> 301 participants completed the PET, the Early Trauma Inventory Self Report-Short Form (ETISR-SF), the IRI, and questionnaires assessing current mood and perceived stress levels. <b>Results:</b> The PET showed a strong positive association with the IRI subscale empathic concern (EC), after conditioning on all other nodes in the network. EC proved to be a highly central node and was positively related to severity of childhood sexual abuse (CSA), yet not to childhood physical abuse or emotional maltreatment. Pathways between emotional maltreatment and physical abuse and the PET were indirect, passing through self-reported EC and CSA. <b>Conclusions:</b> Our study suggests that CSA more so than other childhood maltreatment experiences is associated with increased self-reported affective empathy, but is not captured directly through a pictorial test of affective empathy.
Project description:With the rise in social media use, emojis have become a popular addition to text-based communication. The sudden increase in the number and variety of emojis used raises questions about how individuals interpret messages containing emojis. To explore perceptions of emoji usage, we conducted a 2 (Sender Gender: Female or Male) × 2 (Emoji Type: Affectionate or Friendly) between-groups experiment to examine the appropriateness and likability of each of four hypothetical text messages sent to a woman from either a male or female coworker. In general, we predicted that text messages containing affectionate emojis (i.e., kissing-face and heart emoji) would be perceived as more appropriate and likable when they came from female than from male senders, whereas messages containing less overtly affectionate (but still friendly) emojis (i.e., smiling-face emoji) would be considered equally appropriate and likable whether it came from female or male senders. As predicted, the results confirmed that texts with affectionate emojis were judged as more appropriate and likable when they came from women than from men. However, texts with less affectionate but friendly emojis were judged as equally appropriate-but more likable-when they came from men than when they came from women. Taken together, our results indicate that gender and emoji choice influence perceptions, and therefore people should consider how emoji choice could impact the reception of their message.
Project description:Background and objectives: Numerous theoretical and clinical advances have been made through research on person-centered care (PCC). Nevertheless, care is still focused on the medical aspects of treating patients' diseases in Korea, and thus providing individualized PCC to patients tends to be neglected. This study aimed to investigate the relationship between PCC competence, empathic competence, interpersonal competence, and perceived stress to identify the factors that impact PCC competence for developing programs that foster PCC competence in nursing students. Materials and Methods: Data were collected from 149 participants, which comprised third- and fourth-year nursing students from two universities in Korea who have experienced clinical training. PCC competence, empathic competence, interpersonal competence, and perceived stress were measured using structured self-reported questionnaires. Results: PCC competence was positively correlated with empathic competence (p < 0.001) and interpersonal competence (p < 0.001), and negatively correlated with perceived stress (p < 0.001). Empathic competence, perceived stress, interpersonal competence, and satisfaction with the participants' nursing major were identified as factors that influenced the PCC competence (adjusted R2 = 0.570). Conclusions: To enhance PCC competence in nursing students, empathic competence, interpersonal competence, and satisfaction with the participants' nursing major need to be improved and perceived stress needs to be reduced.
Project description:There is considerable evidence that the experience of justice is associated with perceived legitimacy of authority, but there has been no research about this association when considering past rather than current fairness. Based on the fairness heuristic theory, we tested the hypothesis that interpersonal justice trajectories positively affect perceived legitimacy of the authority; we also tested whether social class moderated this effect. Community residents (<i>N</i> = 111; 54 women) rated the authority's fairness on 16 consecutive weeks and rated perceived legitimacy on the 16th week. The results of latent growth modeling showed that the trajectory of interpersonal justice scores leading up to the final week significantly predicted perceived legitimacy, regardless of the current experience of interpersonal fairness. Tests of moderation showed that the legitimacy perceptions of individuals of lower subjective social class were significantly affected by interpersonal justice trajectories, whereas this was not the case among individuals of higher subjective social class. The results are discussed in terms of their implications for research on perceived legitimacy and justice, as well as their implications for understanding social class.
Project description:The ability to empathize with other people is a critical component of human social relationships. Empathic processing varies across the human population, however it is currently unclear how personality traits are associated with empathic processing. This study was designed to test the hypothesis that specific personality traits are associated with behavioral and biological indicators of improved empathy. Extraversion and Agreeableness are personality traits designed to measure individual differences in social-cognitive functioning, however each trait-dimension includes elements that represent interpersonal social functioning and elements that do not represent interpersonal social functioning. We tested the prediction that interpersonal elements of Extraversion (Warmth) and Agreeableness (Altruism) are associated with empathy and non-interpersonal elements of Extraversion and Agreeableness are not associated with empathy. We quantified empathic processing behaviorally (empathic accuracy task using video vignettes) and within the brain (fMRI and an emotional perspective taking task) in 50 healthy subjects. Converging evidence shows that highly warm and altruistic people are well skilled in recognizing the emotional states of other people and exhibit greater activity in brain regions important for empathy (temporoparietal junction and medial prefrontal cortex) during emotional perspective taking. A mediation analysis further supported the association between warm-altruistic personality and empathic processing; indicating that one reason why highly warm-altruistic individuals may be skilled empathizers is that they engage the temporoparietal junction and medial prefrontal cortex more. Together, these findings advance the way the behavioral and neural basis of empathy is understood and demonstrates the efficacy of personality scales to measure individual differences in interpersonal social function.
Project description:This paper reports the results of an experiment involving text-messaging and emojis in laboratory trust games executed on mobile devices. Decomposing chat logs, I find that trust increases dramatically with the introduction of emojis to one-shot games, while reciprocation increases only modestly. Skin tones embedded in emojis impact sharing and resulting gains-to the benefit of some and detriment to others. Both light and dark skin players trust less on receipt of a dark skin tone emoji-suggestive of statistical discrimination. In this way, computer-mediated communication leads to reduced gains for dark-skinned persons. These results highlight the complex social judgment that motivates trust in an anonymous counterpart.
Project description:Background: The capacity for empathy plays an important role in interpersonal relationships and social functioning, and impairments in empathy can have negative effects on social interactions and overall social adjustment. This suggests that empathy may be a critical target for intervention in individuals who struggle with social interactions, yet it is unclear if the skills required for empathy are malleable. This study investigates the efficacy of targeted social cognitive training for improving empathic skills. Methods: Forty-five individuals (mean age = 24) were included in this study. Twenty-four individuals were allocated to the active social cognition training group and 21 individuals were allocated to a computer games control condition. Subjects completed approximately 10.5 h of training over two weeks. Pre- and post- training, they completed measures of empathy and emotion recognition, including the Interpersonal Reactivity Inventory (IRI) and an empathic accuracy task. ANOVA and regression analyses tested changes in participants' performance on the empathic accuracy task and scores on the IRI subscales were used to assess the effect of the social cognitive training. Results: Repeated measures ANOVA show that there is a significant group by timepoint interaction on the Empathic Accuracy task, with individuals who completed the social cognition training showing a significant improvement in performance following training. There were no significant changes for either group on any of the self-report IRI subscales. Individuals in the active training group show significant improvement on negative valence videos and a trend towards improvement on positive valence videos. In addition, individuals in social cognition active training group who reported higher intrinsic motivation demonstrated greater improvement on the Empathic Accuracy task. Conclusions: Individuals who completed a computerized social cognition training program demonstrated improved performance on a rater objective measure of empathic accuracy while individuals who completed a computer game control condition did not demonstrate any significant changes in their performance on the empathic accuracy task. These results suggest that targeted training in social cognition may increase empathic abilities, even in healthy individuals, and that this training may be beneficial to individuals with social cognitive deficits.
Project description:Social cognitive impairment is a core feature of schizophrenia and plays a critical role in poor community functioning in the disorder. However, our understanding of the relationship between key biological variables and social cognitive impairment in schizophrenia is limited. This study examined the effect of sex on the levels of social cognitive impairment and the relationship between social cognitive impairment and social functioning in schizophrenia. Two hundred forty-eight patients with schizophrenia (61 female) and 87 healthy controls (31 female) completed five objective measures and one subjective measure of social cognition. The objective measures included the Facial Affect Identification, Emotion in Biological Motion, Self-Referential Memory, MSCEIT Branch 4, and Empathic Accuracy tasks. The subjective measure was the Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI), which includes four subscales. Patients completed measures of social and non-social functional capacity and community functioning. For objective social cognitive tasks, we found a significant sex difference only on one measure, the MSCEIT Branch 4, which in both patient and control groups, females performed better than males. Regarding the IRI, females endorsed higher empathy-related items on one subscale. The moderating role of sex was found only for the association between objective social cognition and non-social functional capacity. The relationship was stronger in male patients than female patients. In this study, we found minimal evidence of a sex effect on social cognition in schizophrenia across subjective and objective measures. Sex does not appear to moderate the association between social cognition and functioning in schizophrenia.
Project description:<h4>Introduction</h4>Scholars have proposed that empathy is a key feature of strong social ties, but less is known about the role empathy plays when tensions arise.<h4>Objective</h4>We examined whether older adults' empathy was associated with (a) coping strategies for interpersonal tensions, and (b) mood when there were tensions throughout the day. We also explored whether coping strategies explained the potential buffering effect of empathy on older adults' momentary mood.<h4>Methods</h4>Older adults (N = 302) from the Daily Experiences and Well-Being Study completed a baseline survey on empathy and coping strategies. They also completed ecological momentary assessments every 3 hours each day for 5-6 days, which included questions about interpersonal tensions and mood. This study considered tensions with close partners (e.g., family and friends) and with non-close partners (e.g., acquaintances and service providers).<h4>Results</h4>In the face of interpersonal tensions, more empathic older adults reported using more constructive and less destructive coping strategies than less empathic older adults, regardless of their closeness to social partners. Being more empathic also buffered older adults' mood when tensions occurred with close partners, but this buffering effect was not mediated by older adults' general preference for coping strategies.<h4>Conclusion</h4>This study advances our understanding of empathy and interpersonal tensions in later life, with a focus on daily experiences.
Project description:Dopamine beta-hydroxylase (DBH), an enzyme that converts dopamine to norepinephrine, has broad influences on social functions. In this study, we examined to what extent two polymorphisms (-1021C/T and a 19 bp insertion/deletion) in DBH gene modulate individuals' empathic perception and response, which were measured, respectively, by reading the mind in the eyes test and the empathic concern subscale of interpersonal reactivity index. Results showed that polymorphism at -1021C/T, but not the 19 bp insertion/deletion, accounts for 2.3% variance of empathic perception and 1.4% variance of empathic response. Individuals with the CC genotype, which is associated with higher DBH activity, manifested greater empathic ability than those with CT/TT genotypes. These findings demonstrate the importance of DBH -1021C/T as a genetic basis of empathy and in predicting individual differences in social and affective processing.