The benefits of distance and mediation: How people react to conflicts in video chat vs. FtF

Soo Yun Shin, Wuyu (Rain) Liu, Jeong woo Jang, Gary Bente

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Conflicts come as natural elements in human relationships and they are experienced in face-to-face as well as mediated interactions. Yet, it is unclear in which way and to which degree the modality of interaction influences the experience, the process, and the outcome of conflict communication. Comparing face-to-face and video chat encounters, the current experiment examined whether different communication modalities (video chat: mediated-distal vs. face-to-face: non-mediated-proximal) affect emotional arousal, partner evaluation, and communication satisfaction in conflict-laden interactions. Arousal was measured via self-report as well as physiological measures (interbeat interval, galvanic skin response). Results show that people who interacted via video chat reported less arousal than those who interacted face-to-face although there was no significant difference in physiological arousal measures. Also, those who interacted via video chat rated their partner and their conversation more positively. The findings suggest that, although some nonverbal signals were conveyed in both settings, the lack of mere physical co-presence in mediated encounters might be beneficial for conflict resolution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
StatePublished - Aug 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Arousal
  • Communication satisfaction
  • Conflict
  • Liking
  • Trustworthiness
  • Video chat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • General Psychology


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