Het ene doen we steeds minder, het andere steeds meer. Terwijl we onze smartphone nog steeds een telefoon noemen, lijkt het wel alsof we het voor vanalles en nog wat gebruiken, maar steeds minder voor bellen. Maar een berichtje sturen via Whatsapp of Whatever, dat doen we graag en veel.
Nieuw onderzoek keek naar het effect van berichtjes versus gesproken conversaties op de band tussen zowel vrienden als nieuwe kennissen. Terwijl de meerderheid telefoneren ‘awkward’ of ongemakkelijk vond, bleek het wel degelijk de aangewezen weg te zijn om een degelijke connectie te maken.
Emile Reynolds vat de eigenlijke experimenten als volgt samen voor BPS Digest:
In their first study, Amit Kumar from the University of Texas at Austin and Nicholas Epley from the University of Chicago looked at the experience of reconnecting with an old friend. Participants were first asked to think of someone they had fallen out of touch with, stating how long it had been since they interacted and rating the current closeness of their relationship.
Participants then imagined reconnecting with their old friend, and were asked whether they would prefer to contact them by phone or email and how they felt the interaction would go. They were then randomly assigned to actually connect with the friend either via email or by phone over the next week.
Even though the majority of participants believed they would form a stronger bond over the phone than via email, 67% stated they would prefer to get in touch by email (a number that rose to 72% among participants who successfully completed the full experiment). This may be because of perceived awkwardness: the majority also felt that a phone call would be more awkward. Of the participants who managed to get in touch with an old friend, those assigned to the phone condition reported feeling a significantly stronger bond than those assigned to the email condition — and in the end felt no more awkward.
The next study looked at new friends. Participants were put into pairs and assigned to one of three groups — text chat, audio chat, or video chat. To get close to their new friend, participants interacted via a “sharing game”, in which both parties ask and answer intimate questions (e.g. “can you describe a time you cried in front of another person?”). Before completing the tasks, participants predicted how well they would get to know their partner, how much they would enjoy the conversation, how strong a bond it would foster, and how awkward it would be to chat.
Although participants did not expect different outcomes across the different forms of communication, they again felt more connected with their partner via voice-based media than when simply using text. Participants anticipated awkwardness across all three categories (which may be more to do with the very intimate and unusual task than with specific communication methods themselves), though those expectations were unfounded.
In a final study, participants were again asked to imagine reconnecting with an old friend, rating how connected or awkward they expected to feel over email or phone and indicating their preferred method on a seven-point scale. The results suggested that expectations are a key driver of our choices — the more participants expected to feel connected via phone or email, the more they preferred to communicate in that form, and the more awkward they anticipated feeling the more likely they were to avoid that method.
Waarom ‘echte’ telefoongesprekken beter werken is voer voor verder onderzoek, maar het lijkt wel alsof het een goed idee zou zijn om het gesproken woord te herontdekken, hoe ongemakkelijk sommigen het ook vinden…
Abstract van het onderzoek:
Positive social connections improve wellbeing. Technology increasingly affords a wide variety of media that people can use to connect with others, but not all media strengthen social connection equally. Optimizing wellbeing, therefore, requires choosing how to connect with others wisely. We predicted that people’s preferences for communication media would be at least partly guided by the expected costs and benefits of the interaction—specifically, how awkward or uncomfortable the interaction would be and how connected they would feel to their partner—but that people’s expectations would consistently undervalue the overall benefit of more intimate voice-based interactions. We tested this hypothesis by asking participants in a field experiment to reconnect with an old friend either over the phone or e-mail, and by asking laboratory participants to “chat” with a stranger over video, voice, or text-based media. Results indicated that interactions including voice (phone, video chat, and voice chat) created stronger social bonds and no increase in awkwardness, compared with interactions including text (e-mail, text chat), but miscalibrated expectations about awkwardness or connection could lead to suboptimal preferences for text-based media. Misunderstanding the consequences of using different communication media could create preferences for media that do not maximize either one’s own or others’ wellbeing.