The Media Equation:  How People Treat Computers, Television, and New Media Like Real People and Places

by Byron Reeves and Clifford Nass

I actually heard Dr. Nass present on this book a national meeting of CLE planners.  Fascinating.  The title really says it all.  Drs. Reeves and Nass have done numerous social psychology experiments which were originally done with two persons, and substituted some electronic medium (often a computer), for one of the individuals.  For example, in the "flattery effect", experiments have shown that subjects will rate folks providing assistance higher in knowledge, helpfulness, etc. if the assisters praise the subjects, even if the subjects know the praise isn't based on real knowledge and is just being "practiced."  Replace the assisters with computers running a program and exactly the same phenomenon occurs.  Much of this book tries to point the way to how companies can use this knowledge to better design computer and other technology products.  The implications for Computer Assisted Instruction and Distance Learning applications are obvious.


Copyright 1998, 199, 2000, 2001  by David N. Shearon