Video conferencing

Van der Kleij R., Schraagen J.M.C., De Dreu C.K.W., and Werkhoven P. (2009). How Conversations Change over Time in Face-to-Face and Video-Mediated Communication. Small Group Research, In print.    An experiment examined how the structure of interpersonal communication and task performance differ as a function of the group’s communication environment, and how these processes change over time. In a longitudinal design, three-person groups had to select and argue the correct answer out of a set of three alternatives from a total of ten questions.
Compared to face-to-face groups, video-mediated groups took more time for turns, required fewer turns to complete the task, and interrupted each other less. Although groups were able to maintain comparable performance scores across communication conditions, initial differences between conditions in dialogue structure disappeared over time, indicating that the video-mediated groups adapted to their communication environment. At the same time we found that--as a consequence of increased experience with the task and the group--groups in both conditions needed less conversation to complete the task. This finding suggests that--regardless of communication environment--group members developed shared knowledge about the task, roles, responsibilities, and informational needs of their fellow group members, making the work easier.

Werkhoven P.J., Schraagen J.M.C. and Punte P.A.J.  (2001). Seeing is believing: communication performance under isotropic video-conferencing conditions. Displays, 22, pp. 137 - 149.   The visual component of conversational media such as videoconferencing systems communicates important non-verbal information such as facial expressions, gestures, posture and gaze. Unlike the other cues, selective gaze depends critically on the configuration of cameras and monitors. Under isotropic videoconferencing conditions people see each other in spatially consistent directions (shared video space). Isotropy is hypothesized to regulate the interactional process of conversation. Further, it is hypothesized that isotropy increases social nearness which increases persuasive force but decreases the exchange of information in group discussion tasks. We have studied the interactional process and task outcome of two discussion tasks under isotropic and (standard) non-isotropic videoconferencing conditions relative to face-to-face conditions.
The communication of unshared information was tested in a ‘hidden profile’ task by Stasser et al. [1]. Dominance and persuasive force were revealed using a prioritization game of survival items called "Lost at the moon”, featuring a dominant confederate. The results support our hypotheses and have revealed that persuasive force (the ability to change another person’s opinion) is significantly stronger under isotropic conditions (including face-to-face) than under non-isotropic conditions. In contrast, dominance (the ability to influence group solutions by dominant behavior) is similar for all conditions. Further, participants communicate almost twice as much unshared information under mediated conditions than under the face-to-face condition.

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