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  • Cited by 11
  • Print publication year: 2011
  • Online publication date: June 2012

7 - Facing the future: emotion communication and the presence of others in the age of video-mediated communication


Overview:Video-mediated communication is about to become a ubiquitous feature of everyday life. This chapter considers the differences between face-to-face and video-mediated communication in terms of co-presence and considers the implications for the communication of emotion, self-disclosure, and relationship rapport. Following initial consideration of the concepts of physical presence and social presence, we describe recent studies of the effect of presence on the facial communication of emotion. We then delve further into the different social psychological aspects of presence, and present a study that investigated how these various aspects independently impact upon self-disclosure and rapport. We conclude by considering how the absence of co-presence in video-mediated interaction can liberate the communicators from some of the social constraints normally associated with face-to-face interaction, while maintaining others and introducing new constraints specific to the medium.

Video-mediated interpersonal interactions are set to become a ubiquitous feature of everyday life. Recent advances in communication technologies, such as affordable broadband access to the internet and the appearance of third-generation mobile phones, mean that the much-heralded advent of the videophone is about to become reality. As video becomes ubiquitous, it places the face center-stage for the communication of emotion on the internet, much as it is in our normal “face-to-face” interactions. Of course the big difference between the face-to-face interactions that we take for granted today and the face-to-face interaction of the future is the absence of physical co-presence. In this new form of visual interaction, actors are separated by distance, communicating via webcams and computers or mobile phones.

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