In effect, e-mail cannot adequately convey emotion. A recent study by Profs. Justin Kruger of New York University and Nicholas Epley of the University of Chicago focused on how well sarcasm is detected in electronic messages. Their conclusion: Not only do e-mail senders overestimate their ability to communicate feelings, but e-mail recipients also overestimate their ability to correctly decode those feelings.
One reason for this, the business-school professors say, is that people are egocentric. They assume others experience stimuli the same way they do. Also, e-mail lacks body language, tone of voice, and other cues - making it difficult to interpret emotion.
"A typical e-mail has this feature of seeming like face-to-face communication," Professor Epley says. "It's informal and it's rapid, so you assume you're getting the same paralinguistic cues you get from spoken communication."
I see the same thing all the time in post comment discussions here and all over the blogosphere and in various discussion forum venues and the Usenet. People misinterpret my posts. They misinterpret each other. They get morally indignant and insulting. Things descend from there. I try to read my writings for alternative explanations to reduce the extent of the problem but still expect to be misunderstood some of the time.
Peope think they are just as clear in email as they are on the phone. How can humans be that foolish? (er, never mind, we are that foolish all the time)
|Communicator believes he is clearly communicating||78%||78%|
|Receiver believes he is correctly interpreting||89%||91%|
|Receiver correctly interprets message||56%||73%|
So then the internet is automating the process of producing misunderstandings! We internet dwellers have more communications misunderstandings than those who still restrict their lives to the real world.
|Share |||Randall Parker, 2006 May 21 12:27 PM Comm Tech Society|