Table of Contents
Last updated February 19, 2001
SPRING 2001 THEORY WORKBOOK
Theorist: Byron Reeves and Clifford Nass
Reeves, B., & Nass, C. (1996). The media equation: How people treat computers, television, and new media like real people and places. New York: Cambridge University Press.
This theory looks at interpersonal
communication between an individual and the media. We talk back to
our computers, and we use the same personal spacing techniques with media
as we would if that particular medium were a real person. We unconsciously
act as if the media are people. Thereís something unique about this
theory. It is relatively new, and considers new forms of interpersonal
This theory is scientific
in nature, and according to Chaffee & Bergerís 1997 criteria for scientific
theories, it is an okay one.
When the television you are watching is real small, you tend to sit closer, and when it is large, you tend to sit further away from it. Ask a friend to randomly watch you when you are watching someone you like, admire, or think is attractive on television. You can do the same for them as well. I notice that I tend to sit closer to the television, smile, and keep eye contact when I am watching someone I like on television. However, I walk away, make ugly faces, or ignore people I donít like when I am watching television.
More Research on Media Equation:
Moon, Y., & Nass, C. (1996). How real are computer personalities? Psychological responses to personality types in human-computer interaction. Communication Research, 23, 651-674.
Media Equation in Texts:
Griffin, E. (2000). A first look at communication theory (4th ed.). Boston: McGraw-Hill, 309, 349, 373-385, 476.