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The Media Equation: How People Treat Computers, Television, and New Media Like Real People and Places
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The Media Equation: How People Treat Computers, Television, and New Media Like Real People and Places

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  141 ratings  ·  10 reviews
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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Zimran Ahmed
Apr 26, 2017 rated it liked it
Interesting information. Presented in a ponderous, academic style that puts the answer last.
Tyler Harris
Dec 16, 2016 rated it liked it
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
Oct 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
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.
Kamil Rudnicki
Jul 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Very nice book that shows we treat media and computer interfaces as real people. That we do this automatically even if we know it is fiction.
May 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 06, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Nov 27, 2011 rated it liked it
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.
Bryan Ma
Jun 03, 2012 rated it liked it
Potentially more useful to the proverbial Martian anthropologist, the interesting bits of this study were found among unfortunately increasingly dull case studies. Nevertheless this is an important topic and the authors explore it fairly comprehensively.
Apr 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
Really cool insights about human brains and how we interpret media. Highly recommended for anyone interested media study and psychology.
Rémi Barraquand
Jan 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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