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Abstract

Reduced-cues theories of communication assume that the sensorial stimulation of face-to-face interaction is essential for an optimal communicative experience. From a motivational perspective, Wicklund and Vandekerckhove (2000) took this theory further by hypothesizing that people involved in rapid communication in a setting poor in sensorial stimulation would tend to have (a) brief and (b) egocentric exchanges. Two experiments were developed in order to test these points. In Experiment 1, participants had to simulate communication with a long-lost friend either via a computer-typed letter (slow and without sensorial output media) or an email (fast and without sensorial output media). Results showed that email participants wrote shorter messages and were less likely to bring up friendship-related memories than letter participants. The second quasi-experimental study succeeded in extending the external validity of Experiment 1's findings. Research limits as well as scope for future research are discussed in the conclusions.