Research @ Northwestern

Technology-mediated Communication and Collaborative Relationships

I explored how pairs or groups of individuals use communication technologies to collaborate, and how the features of a given technology may impact social outcomes. This line of research focused on the role of linguistic and paralinguistic cues in technology-mediated communication.

Linguistic Similarity and Interpersonal Trust in Text-based CMC
This project examined how language, particularly linguistic similarity, is related to trust development in text-based CMC environments. Participants played, via Instant Messenger, a social dilemma game that required the establishment of trust for both players to do well. Linguistic similarity was measured at the content, structure, and stylistic levels. Additional work examined chronemic cues in the IM conversations, and the relationship between chronemics and the establishment of trust.

Culture and Collaborative Work in Distributed Teams
This study, which I conducted during an internship at IBM Research, focused on the role of culture in distributed work team’s real-time collaborative work. I conducted a qualitative user study of distributed work teams in Japan and the United States that used LiveDeck, a real-time collaborative editing and whiteboarding tool. This work focused on how individuals used a selection of features, including slide navigation options, anonymity features, and ’emotes’ representing various nonverbal behaviors, and how use of and preference for different features was related to national culture.

Technology-mediated Communication and Romantic Relationships

I explored the role of communication technologies in the initiation and maintenance of romantic relationships. This line of research primarily examines face-to-face phenomena, demonstrated in the interpersonal communication and social psychology literature, in mediated settings.

Romantic Relationship Initiation and CMC
This study explored how individuals ask each other out for a romantic date via email, focusing on how men and women employ different strategies and which strategies are successful in securing a romantic date. Unlike previous work examining romantic relationships that are formed between strangers online, this work examines how individual who first met face-to-face (during a speed-dating event) use CMC to initiate a romantic relationship.

Linguistic Style Matching and Romantic Relationships
This study examined the link between linguistic style matching, or the extent to which individuals subtly match each other’s speaking or writing style, and romantic relationship outcomes. The role of linguistic style matching was explored in relation to the likelihood of mutual romantic interest after initial romantic encounters and to the likelihood of relationship stability for established couples.

Romantic Couple Conflict and Technology-mediated Communication
This line of work examines the role of various communication technologies during romantic couple conflict. While much is known about romantic couple conflict in face-to-face settings, little is known about how technology might affect the communication processes or relational outcomes of the conflict. One study recently found that couples channel switch, or switch between face-to-face and different types of mediated communication, during one conflict episode. Individuals revealed a variety of interpersonal motivations for channel switching and noted both pros and cons for using mediated communication (e.g., text messaging, IM, email) during a conflict.