The Internet provides a new tool to investigate old questions in experimental social psychology regarding Person x Context interaction. We examined the interaction of self-reported shyness and context on computer-mediated communication measures. Sixty female undergraduates unfamiliar were paired in dyads and engaged in a 10 min free chat conversation on the Internet with and without a live webcam. Free chat conversations were archived, transcripts were objectively coded for communication variables, and a linear mixed model used for data analysis of dyadic interaction was performed on each communication measure. As predicted, increases in self-reported shyness were significantly related to decreases in the number of prompted self-disclosures (after controlling for the number of opportunities to self-disclose) only in the webcam condition. Self-reported shyness was not related to the number of prompted self-disclosures in the no webcam condition, suggesting that shyness was context dependent. The present study appears to be the first to objectively code measures of Internet behaviour in relation to the study of personality in general and shyness in particular. Theoretical and clinical implications for understanding the contextual nature of shyness are discussed. (C) 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology