Seeing is believing: Communication performance under isotropic teleconferencing conditions

Peter J. Werkhoven*, Jan Maarten Schraagen, Patrick A.J. Punte

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


The visual component of conversational media such as videoconferencing systems communicates important non-verbal information such as facial expressions, gestures, posture and gaze. Unlike the other cues, selective gaze depends critically on the configuration of cameras and monitors. Under isotropic videoconferencing conditions people see each other in spatially consistent directions (shared video space). Isotropy is hypothesized to regulate the interactional process of conversation. Further, it is hypothesized that isotropy increases social nearness which increases persuasive force but decreases the exchange of information in group discussion tasks. We have studied the interactional process and task outcome of two discussion tasks under isotropic and (standard) non-isotropic videoconferencing conditions relative to face-to-face conditions. The communication of unshared information was tested in a 'hidden profile' task by Stasser et al.[Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 31 (1995) 244]. Dominance and persuasive force were revealed using a prioritization game of survival items called 'Lost at the moon', featuring a dominant confederate. The results support our hypotheses and have revealed that persuasive force (the ability to change another person's opinion) is significantly stronger under isotropic conditions (including face-to-face) than under non-isotropic conditions. In contrast, dominance (the ability to influence group solutions by dominant behavior) is similar for all conditions. Further, participants communicate almost twice as much unshared information under mediated conditions than under the face-to-face condition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-149
Number of pages13
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Communication performance
  • Information sharing
  • Persuasive force
  • Shared video space
  • Videoconferencing


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