According to popular wisdom, humans never relate to a computer or a television program in the same way they relate to another human being. Or do they? The psychological and sociological complexities of the relationship could be greater than you think. In an extraordinary revision of received wisdom, Byron Reeves and Clifford Nass demonstrate convincingly in The Media Equation that interactions with computers, television, and new communication technologies are identical to real social relationships and to the navigation of real physical spaces. Using everyday language, the authors explain their novel ideas in a way that will engage general readers with an interest in cutting-edge research at the intersection of psychology, communication and computer technology. The result is an accessible summary of exciting ideas for modern times. As Bill Gates says, '(they) ...have shown us some amazing things'.
Part I. Introduction: 1. The media equation; Part II. Media and Manners: 2. Politeness; 3. Interpersonal distance; 4. Flattery; 5. Judging others and ourselves; Part III. Media and Personality: 6. Personality of characters; 7. Personality of interfaces; 8. Imitating a personality; Part IV. Media and emotion: 9. Good versus bad; 10. Negativity; 11. Arousal; Part V. Media and Social Roles: 12. Specialists; 13. Teammates; 14. Gender; 15. Voices; 16. Source orientation; Part VI. Media and Form: 17. Image size; 18. Fidelity; 19. Synchrony; 20. Motion; 21. Scene changes; 22. Subliminal images; Part VII. Final Words: 23. Conclusions about the media equation; References.