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The Media Equation: How People Treat Computers, Television, and New Media Like Real People and Places
Can human beings relate to computer or television programs in the same way they relate to other human beings? Based on numerous psychological studies, this book concludes that people not only can but do treat computers, televisions, and new media as real people and places. Studies demonstrate that people are "polite" to computers; that they treat computers with female voic ...more
Paperback, 305 pages
Published January 29th 2003 by Center for the Study of Language and Inf
(first published September 13th 1996)
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The concept of this book is a simple question: Media = Reality? As the title describes, these researchers set out to examine whether computers, televisions, and other media follow the same social and natural rules as humans. The findings were interesting, such as how a masculine voice from a computer is responded to in the same way as a masculine voice coming from a human, or how people respond to visual stimuli on a computer screen similarly to if the object were really present.
When I had this ...more
When I had this ...more
To be honest, comparing the inanimate "media" to humans in terms of psychology and social interactions may not be the most interesting topic to read about. What makes this book a real treat however is the clear structure and the comprehensive, methodical and analytical style in which the experiments and conclusions thereof are presented.
This marvelous little academic book describes the results of studies the authors did that determined -- wait for it -- that people treat computers, TV and other electronic media as if they were human. In other words, we're polite to computers when we address them directly, and less polite when we're talking about them behind their backs. The whole idea seems obvious when you think about it for more than 5 minutes, but I'm sure it didn't when the authors set out to study the matter, and anyway th ...more
Interesting material, but repetitive and mind-numbing presentation. Basically, each chapter follows the same structure - question, equivalent social psych experiment, our experiment design, results and discussion. The bottom line is yes, people do treat media like they do people, probably because our brain is only evolved to deal with other living beings and therefore treat everything like living beings. However, some of the experiments are strange, and would be hard to find corollaries in real ...more
People know computers are not social beings, and say they know. Still, experiments show they treat computers (and other media like movies) as if they were real social beings. This book does a good job of describing their hypotheses clearly (e.g., "People will believe that they did better on a task when they are flattered by a computer than when the computer doesn't give any evaluation."), and the experiments they conducted to test the hypotheses.