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