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Bonding was defined as the momentary emotional experience of feeling connected to and affection for a friend.Research comparing face-to-face and more distal forms of communication predates the rise of the Internet by several decades.By the late 1970’s, experimental work examining information exchange through teleconferencing and closed-circuit television was advanced enough to warrant a review in Psychological Bulletin (Williams, 1977).In the years since, CMC researchers have compared audiovisual, auditory, and text-based communication to in-person communication on a wide variety of variables, including efficiency of communication, cognitive task performance, intimacy of disclosure, and trust (Antheunis, Schouten, Valkenburg, & Peter, 2012; Bargh, Mc Kenna, & Fitzsimons, 2002; Burgoon et al., 2002; Ray & Floyd, 2006; Tidwell & Walther, 2002; Walther, Loh, & Granka, 2005).
In developmental psychology, the existing literature on social media use, while increasingly sophisticated, has nonetheless relied primarily on survey-based approaches.
Compared with other participants, those who spoke on the phone more frequently with their participating friend reported greater bonding during audio chat.
Use of textual affiliation cues like emoticons, typed laughter, and excessive letter capitalization during IM related to increased bonding experience during IM.
Social information processing theory (Walther, 1992), suggests a more complex story: when using a medium with limited availability of visual cues or other channels of communication, interlocutors adapt their behaviors in order to connect more effectively using that particular medium.
While bonding may take longer, Walther argues, it can ultimately reach levels present in face-to-face communication.