Social anxiety and physiological arousal during computer mediated vs. face to face communication

Jonathan G. Shalom, Haggar Israeli, Omer Markovitzky, Joshua D. Lipsitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


Although survey results suggest that socially anxious individuals may use computer mediated communication (CMC) differently from others and feel differently about CMC relative to face to face (FTF) communication, little is known about their actual experience during CMC. Using an experimental interaction task, we assessed (N = 73) high and low social anxiety participants during CMC and FTF. In addition to self-reported social anxiety, arousal, and perception of success and control, we assessed heart rate and skin conductance, which are physiological indices of arousal. Both CMC and FTF interaction tasks were associated with significant increases in physiological arousal compared to baseline. Although subjective anxiety and arousal were higher in FTF compared to CMC, physiological arousal showed no significant differences across conditions. An interaction effect was found for perceived success such that those high in social anxiety perceived greater success in CMC than in FTF while those low in social anxiety showed no differences across conditions. Further experimental study of subjective and objective indices of anxiety will help elucidate the unique experience of CMC for those with high social anxiety.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)202-208
Number of pages7
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • Computer mediated communication
  • Physiological arousal
  • Social anxiety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • General Psychology


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