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Videoconferencing in the Field: A Heuristic Processing Model

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This research uses dual-process cognitive theory to describe how people process information differently when it is delivered via videoconference rather than when it is delivered face-to-face. According to this theory, relative to face-to-face communication, people in videoconferences tend to be more influenced by heuristic cues — such as how likeable they perceive the speaker to be — than by the quality of the arguments presented by the speaker. This is due to the higher cognitive demands that videoconferencing places on participants. We report on a field study of medical professionals in which we found differences in information processing as predicted: participants attending a seminar via videoconference were more influenced by the likeability of the speaker than by the quality of the arguments presented, whereas the opposite pattern was true for participants attending in person. We also found that differences in cognitive load explain these effects. The discussion on the theoretical model and associated findings explains why prior videoconference studies have not consistently found main effects for media. The findings also show that videoconferencing is not like face-to-face communication, despite apparent similarities.
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... • Media Richness Theory (MRT) [22,24] • Media Naturalness Theory (MNT) [53,54,55] • Dual-Process Theory (DPT) [30,47,34] • Proxemics [40] 4 ...
... • Media Richness Theory (MRT) [22,24] • Media Naturalness Theory (MNT) [53,54,55] • Dual-Process Theory (DPT) [30,47,34] • Auditory stream analysis [15] ...
... • Media Richness Theory (MRT) [22,24] • Media Naturalness Theory (MNT) [53,54,55] • Dual-Process Theory (DPT) [30,47,34] • Turn taking, conversation analysis [73,43,79] 6 Self-related Factors ...
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... Problems with social bonding and impression formation: Technical issues with compressed audio and video, disruptions of the connection and/or delays in the audio-visual transmission disturb the interpersonal communication on all levels including social bonding and impression formation [95][96][97][98]. Technically disrupted and delayed communication can create misunderstandings and unfavorable impressions [95,96,99] which increase cognitive load [100] and may feed into the experience of technostress [101] and VC fatigue. Task switching due to repair activities (e.g., trying to re-connect to the VC system, changing of window size or camera angle) create further mental load [102,103] that can contribute to fatigue, can also negatively impact the person's impression. ...
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... Having analyzed the use of cameras when videoconferencing, different research works have found that users experience an increase in cognitive load as a consequence of the use of cameras [43,[68][69][70]. Cognitive-load theory (CLT) studies the cognition mechanisms that human beings have, and one of its goals seeks to optimize learning [71,72]. ...
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... Online meetings can make participants, including facilitators, feel more uncomfortable or awkward than in-person encounters. There is greater pressure to maintain eye contact, increased emotional and cognitive load, and an absence of non-verbal cues, as highlighted by other research into online meetings (Ferran & Watts, 2008;Miller et al., 2017). This may lead to a more formal and less social atmosphere, and a risk of an over centralisation of the process with attention overly focussed on the facilitator rather than on peer-to-peer. ...
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