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Personal and Ubiquitous Computing

, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 87–96 | Cite as

The Media Equation Does Not Always Apply: People are not Polite Towards Small Computers

  • Mikael Goldstein
  • Gunilla Alsio¨
  • Jost Werdenhoff
Original Article

Abstract:

The Media Equation asserts that people treat and behave towards computers in much the same way as towards other people, for example regarding politeness. We report the results of a study investigating the validity of the Media Equation for PDAs and smart phones. Twenty-five users each performed seven tasks with one of four PDAs or a smart phone. None of the users had any prior experience with a PDA. Contrary to the postulations of the Media Equation, the number of “likes” decreased and number of “dislikes” increased in the computer present condition. Previous objective performance when interacting with a palm computer appears to account for subjective attitudes much more than computer absence/presence. It appears that degree of politeness might be performance-level dependent but this has to be reinvestigated before more firm conclusions can be drawn.

Key words: Cultural difference – Handheld computers – Media Equation – Objective performance – Politeness – Subjective attitudes 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mikael Goldstein
    • 1
  • Gunilla Alsio¨
    • 2
  • Jost Werdenhoff
    • 3
  1. 1.Ericsson Radio Systems AB, Kista, Stockholm, SwedenSE
  2. 2.Erga ergonomikonsult, Stockholm, Sweden (now at Seuseboard Technologies AB)SE
  3. 3.Now at Acando AB, Stockholm, SwedenSE

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