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Computer-Mediated Communication in Personal Relationships

Edited By Kevin B. Wright and Lynne M. Webb

This is the first collection of readings on computer-mediated communication focusing exclusively on interpersonal interactions. Examining messages exchanged via email, Twitter, Facebook, websites, and blogs, the authors analyze communication issues of ongoing importance in relationships including deception, disclosure, identity, influence, perception, privacy, sexual fidelity, and social support. The book examines subjects that attract intense student interest – including online performance of gender, online dating, and using computer-mediated communication to achieve family/work life balance – and will inspire further research and course development in the area of computer-mediated communication in personal relationships. Because it provides a synthesis of ideas at the nexus of interpersonal communication theory and computer-mediated communication theory, the book can serve as a textbook for advanced undergraduate as well as graduate courses.
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17. Digital Deception in Personal Relationships (Norah E. Dunbar / Matthew Jensen)



Digital Deception in Personal Relationships

Norah E. Dunbar

Matthew Jensen

Trust and sincerity are the foundation on which close relationships are built. Paradoxically, it is that trust which allows deception to flourish because it prevents us from fully scrutinizing the messages from our relationship partners (Knapp, 2008; Guerrero & Floyd, 2006). Individuals lie to their closest relationship partners for a variety of reasons and the discovery of deception can have a profound impact on both the partners and the relationship itself. New technologies present an interesting challenge for deception researchers because the number of verbal and nonverbal cues available is more limited than when we are speaking in person. Whether it is a college student emailing her parents about her latest calculus test, a forward-deployed military officer using Skype to speak with his wife, or a salesperson in the field using her iPhone to communicate with her boss at the head office, deception in personal relationships is affected by the modality of the communication.

The use of computer-mediated communication (CMC) to talk with friends and family has changed the way we communicate in our personal relationships somewhat but not entirely. Although the advent of the Internet was both heralded as a revolutionizing force that would bring people together around the globe and a dystopian force that would segment and isolate people hampering face-to-face (FtF) relationships, the past few decades of research have not revealed CMC to meet either...

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