Information Processing and Exchange in Mediated Groups

Interdependence and Interaction

Authors


All correspondence regarding this study should be addressed to Joseph A. Bonito, Department of Communication, University of Arizona, Communication Building #25, Room 209, Tucson, AZ 85721; email: jbonito@u.arizona.edu.

Abstract

This study examined whether features of mediated group discussion were related to participator judgments. Prior to discussion, participants (N = 138) were asked to memorize a list of qualifications for each of 3 hypothetical candidates for a faculty position. Each list contained shared (given to all members) and unique (given to just 1 member) information. Participants, working in 3-person groups, then interacted via 1 of 2 computer text environments to choose the best candidate. Following discussion, participants rated each other on a set of participator assessment items. Discussions were coded for units that contained shared or unique information. The analysis revealed that shared contributions were related only to self-assessment of participation. Unique contributions had a complex relation with self-assessments—they were positively associated with such judgments only when partners infrequently provided unique information. Technology affected in a variety of ways the relation between the discussion variables and participator assessments. Discussion focuses on the relation between information pooling and interaction, as well as on the role of technology in group process.

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