In CMC we trust: The role of similarity

Lauren E. Scissors, Alastair J. Gill, Kathleen Geraghty, Darren Gergle

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

41 Scopus citations


This paper examines how different forms of linguistic similarity in a text-chat environment relate to the establishment of interpersonal trust. Sixty-two pairs played an iterative social dilemma investment game and periodically communicated via Instant Messenger (IM). Novel automated and manual analysis techniques identify linguistic similarity at content, structural and stylistic levels. Results reveal that certain types of content (some positive emotion words, task-related words), structural (verb tense, phrasal entrapment), and stylistic (emoticons) similarity characterize high trusting pairs while other types of similarity (e.g., negative emotion words) characterize low trusting pairs. Contrary to previous literature, this suggests that not all similarity is good similarity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCHI 2009
Subtitle of host publicationDigital Life New World - Proceedings of the 27th International Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Number of pages10
StatePublished - Dec 1 2009
Event27th International Conference Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2009 - Boston, MA, United States
Duration: Apr 4 2009Apr 9 2009


Other27th International Conference Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2009
CountryUnited States
CityBoston, MA


  • Instant messaging (IM)
  • Language
  • Lexical entrapment
  • Linguistic similarity
  • Social dilemma
  • Trust

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design

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