Put the Phone Down: Testing a Complement-Interfere Model of Computer-Mediated Communication in the Context of Face-to-Face Interactions

Kostadin Kushlev, Samantha J. Heintzelman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

If there ever was a key to happiness, this key would open a door that leads straight to a rich social life. And in the era of smartphones, this key to social connection is in our pockets anytime and anywhere. Or is it? Using the experience sampling method (ESM), we explore the use of computer-mediated communication (CMC) in the context of face-to-face (FtF) social interactions, testing two competing hypotheses: (1) a complementarity hypothesis stating that more channels of communication should be associated with higher well-being and (2) an interference hypothesis stating that FtF interactions could be impoverished by adding computer-mediated channels of communication. We surveyed 174 millennials (Mage = 19.28; range: 17–22) 5 times a day over a period of a week (4,508 episodes). When participants reported a mix of CMC and FtF socializing in the same episode, they felt worse and less connected than when solely interacting FtF.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)702-710
Number of pages9
JournalSocial Psychological and Personality Science
Volume9
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2018
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology

Keywords

  • Internet/cyberpsychology
  • communication
  • computer-mediated communication
  • human–computer interaction
  • media psychology
  • smartphones
  • social connectedness
  • social interaction
  • well-being

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