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This week What is Communication ? The application of Communication theory to virtual environments Variables that affect communication in computer mediated environments Grounding Constraints and Affordances Gender Cultural variances On- and off-line effects of avatar appearance
What is Computer Mediated Communication (CMC) Main areas of research in relation to communication include the effects of: The absence of social context cues (i.e. Body language, facial expressions) Anonymity Gender and culture Published in The New Yorker September 12, 2005
Shannon-Weaver Communication Model Source Receiver Encoder Decoder Channel Message Noise
Shannon-Weaver Model applied to a Virtual World Source (person at the keyboard) consciously or unconsciously transmits a message Culture, language, gender etc Message is encoded according to internal and external variables e.g. avatar modification, environmental modification, choice of text or speech The Avatar is the channel/medium through which the message is transmitted Lag, audio problems Sending and receiving can be hindered by noise The receiver needs to be able to decode (understand) the message
Grounding Factors that may have an effect on grounding Simultaneity Sequentiality Reviewability Revisability Co-presence Visibility Audibility Contemporality CLARK, H. & BRENNAN, S. 1991. Grounding in Communication. In: RESNICK, L. B., LEVINE, J. M. & TEASLEY, S. D. (eds.) Perspectives on socially shared cognition. Washington: American Psychological Association.
Seven Media and Their Associated Constraints Adapted from - CLARK, H. & BRENNAN, S. 1991. Grounding in Communication. In: RESNICK, L. B., LEVINE, J. M. & TEASLEY, S. D. (eds.) Perspectives on socially shared cognition. Washington: American Psychological Association.
Noise DEVITO, J. A. 2007. The interpersonal communication book, Boston, Pearson/Allyn and Bacon.
Affordances Affordance Theory – J.J Gibson Perception of the environment leads to some course of action Affordances of VWs which affect communication include: the ability to use and/or make Gestures the ability and extent to which an avatars appearance can be customised the extent to which an avatar can be animated and whether the environment uses text, speech or a mixture of the two http://www.learning-theories.com/affordance-theory-gibson.html
Culture and CMC Cultures may draw on different channels of communication for conversational grounding Cultures may differ in interactional goals, making different media more or less appropriate Understanding interactions between culture and CMC is important for: • Building theories of collaborative technologies • Designing tools for global distribution and/or cross-cultural communication http://www.engr.udayton.edu/faculty/wsmari/cts06/CTS2006%20Lucheon%20-%20Notes.pdf
Cultural Variances and Variables PDI = Power Distance IDV = Individualism MAS = Masculinity UAI = Uncertainty Avoidance Index LTO = Long-Term Orientation http://www.geert-hofstede.com/hofstede_australia.shtml
Other Cultural Factors Context The extent to which information is made explicit or is assumed High-context culture Proxemics Clothing Emotes http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8199951.stm JACK, R. E., BLAIS, C., SCHEEPERS, C., SCHYNS, P. G., & CALDARA, R. (2008) Cultural Confusions Show Facial Expressions are Not Universal Current Biology, (in press)
Disinhibition The freedom afforded by virtual environments along with diminished visual and auditory clues and the narrow bandwidth of communication can result in a state of, what has been described as disinhibition (Joinson, 2003)
Major reason women present as men in online environments is so they won’t get hassled
Main reason men present as women is because they feel people are nicer to them and more likely to give them things (Bruckman, 1993).
Gendered communication styles carry over into virtual environments
Anonymity or pseudo anonymity of virtual environments results in increased assertiveness for many women (Rodino, 1997).
Voice presents a challenge for those who are presenting in the environment as a different gender or who prefer to present as gender neutral.
On- and Offline Effects of Avatar Appearance Creating an avatar is an act of visual communication What does YOUR avatar say about you? Inworld appearance can impact real life behaviour
More Information CMC general http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W0Mgxhqfdyg Animations and gestures http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WplYhxyFd3M http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6WKo4G8aQBc A list of references of the sources used in this presentation can be found in this weeks folder.