The use of affective technologies has been seen to be the solution to the development of intimate relationships between connected individuals in social networks. This will increase the way people interconnect. This development will give a way in which humans will eliminate loneliness and enhance the devices that can be used for connectedness. With this development, there will be optimized health and well-being of people because they are now able to communicate with one another. This proposal will focus on how automatic communications quantity communications have on perceived intimacy in environments which have been mediated. The research will take a quantitative approach because there will be a collection of data. This data will be analyzed and evaluated to arrive at the conclusions of the research. The data will be analyzed and measured using the necessary data analysis software. This proposal will be based on the development of interpersonal process model that has been developed for intimacy. This will be used to guide the development of applications that will be used to enhance social interaction with by making use of the technology of effective communication.
For a long time, people have had the need to interact with one another and have strong interpersonal relationships. This objective and the urge are part of motivating factors of the human race. They want a way in which there will be communications with one another. When these relationships are not created, there are effects that will be created in the intellectual well-being of the human being. The presence of interpersonal relationships is also one of the contributing factors that will enhance the health of an individual. An example of this is that if two people fall in love, they will have joy, especially if the love is mutual. This love will be a source of distress and disappointment if they are not reciprocated. Research also shows that if there is the deprivation of the immune system, there will be the effect on the immune systems of an individual. The social interactions aspects part of human being is a crucial aspect that brings the social bonding. Further research also shows that individuals who are socially fit are highly likely to evade being attacked by cancer. On the other hand, majority of the individuals who are admitted to hospitals are those individuals who have been isolated and divorced. These depict the importance of social connectedness has on the lives and the health and psychological well-being of individuals (Haans, & IJsselsteijn, 2006).
The benefits that are derived from social interconnectedness have led the researchers in the field of human computer interaction. Researchers have been urged to do research on how to expand the social interconnectedness with the use of technology. With the advent of technology, there are many devices and technologies that can now be used to increase the social interconnectedness. One of the technologies that have been developed with this in mind is the development of the Hug Over a Distance. This technology is that of a vest which is air-inflated. The vest can be controlled and triggered remotely to create a sensation that is similar to that of a real hug. With this, those who are far could hug the vest with the imagination that they are hugging the real person who is in remote locations. There is another attempt to create intimate technologies was that of the Cube and the Picture Frame. This is the creation of a virtual three dimensional image so that the other individuals will be able to see the expression. In the cubes, the couple can place objects so that the other one can see. The Picture Frame is a way in which graphical symbols can be added to photos which are shared (Valkenburg, & Peter, 2009).
Research questions and hypotheses
This paper will be guided by the following research questions:
- Does affective technology enhance the development of intimate relationships in social networks?
- Does the quantity of emoticons used in affective technology affect the intensity of intimacy in a social network?
- Do automatic emoticons have a smaller effect on intimacy than when they are initiated by the sender?
The research will be built in order to have hypotheses that will be used as a guide to the development of the research. This will ensure that there is efficient and reliable use of the research objectives. The hypotheses of the study will be as follows:
- An increase in the number of emoticon that an individual gets from the person they are interacting with will lead to an increase in perceived intimacy towards the same individual
- Emoticons that are communicated automatically have a smaller effect than emoticons that are initiated by the sender.
Background and literature review
Researchers have argued that the quantity of communication has an effect on the status and the level of connectedness and the emotion of feeling for individuals. An increase in the levels of intimacy will come as a result of increase in the aspect of self-disclosure (Liu et al., 2011). In this respect, the revealing of personal information to other people is what is referred to as self-disclosure. The relationship between self-disclosure and interpersonal relationship can be attributed to the fact that people feel that self-disclosure messages have a stronger sense of meaning and are meaningful to people (Li, 2011; Li et al., 2013). Self-disclosure messages are considered to be strong, and the intentions of these messages are considered to be out of string intent to communicate some information. Self-disclosure, out of these reasons, is known to increase the levels of understanding between two people (Janssen et al., 2010; Garner et al., 2013). These messages are known to elicit self-disclosure of personal lives between other people. The relationship between self-disclosure and intimacy comes from the research that has shown that increase in self-disclosure leads to increase in intimacy between two individuals (Cheng, Liang, & Leung, 2014). It has been suggested that computer-mediated communication (CMC) is more intimate than face-to-face communications. This is an argument that is still being done and argued by many people. The aspect of self-disclosure has been integrated in various models and theories (Visser, Vastenburg, & Keyson, 2011). It has been used to show the role that they have in increasing the levels of intimacy between two individuals (Baker, 2002; Kort et al., 2013).
The use of CMC is known to be common with many media like blogs, dating sites, social networks, and fora for messages (Koo, Wati, & Jung, 2011).
Psychological studies have shown that emotions form an indispensable component of formation of intimate relationships. Research shows that emotion depression is a killer of intimacy development between individuals (Chan, 2013). This is something that will have to be researched and developed. It is necessary to understand the fact that this aspect is a powerful phenomenon that should be developed and enhanced (Botella et al., 2012). For people who have depressed emotions, there are minimal chances of those people to form new relationships. There is a common use of emotions in online communications than in face-to-face communications (Prochaska, 2013).
The research approach will be through experiment. There will be the use of an experiment. There will be 48 participants taking part in the experiment. There will be a pay of 10 Euros for the participants. Before the participants will be allowed to take part, the researcher will obtain informed consent from the participants. There will be 24 participants from each gender. For accuracy, participants will be required not to know the other person with whom they will be participating.
All the participants will receive the four conditions for the emoticon quantity for each excerpt of the movie that would be used in the experiment. Each movie excerpt will be associated with one condition. They will be required to watch a movie in order to have the excerpt with which they will associate the conditions provided. This way, there will be 24 different orders of emoticon number and 24 different orders of movie excerpts will be available for males and females. There will be balancing of the four emotions quantity with the movie excerpts that will be used in the experiment. This will give a total of 24 combinations in the experiment. This will mean that the movie excerpts and emoticon quantity combinations will be used twice.
The use of the movie has been chosen because it brings the social aspect of the experiment. It is also appropriate because movies are known to elicit different emotions. All participants will be required to watch all the four movie excerpts. The participants will be required to indicate whether the movie excerpts will elicit happy or sad emotions for them. This will be indicated with the pressing of up or down arrows on the keyboard. The up button will indicate happy and the down will indicate the sad emotion. This will be confirmed by the researcher through a short message that will be indicated on the screen. It is expected that all the movie excerpts will elicit both happy and sad emotions. If there will be some difference in the elicitations of the emotions between the movie excerpts, it is expected that this will not go beyond four.
Questionnaires will be used to collect data. The participants will be used to select the relationship between the partners in the experiment. This will be recorded in the questionnaire.
The use of survey questions will be used to answer the research questions because the number of emoticons will be indicated in the survey questions. The survey questions will be used to get the feelings of the participants on the effect of increase in the number of emoticons. It will also help understand the effectiveness of user-initiated emotions from automatically initiated emotions.
Expected results – possible conclusions
The second research shows that user-initiated communications increased intimacy and interconnectedness of the participants. From the research, it is possible to understand the use of computers in initiating communications.
The research will give the advantages and disadvantages of the use of affective technologies in the development of intimacy. Some of the advantages include the fact that the increase in the use of emoticons in computer mediated communications will increase the rate of intimacy between two individuals that are communicating. Shared emotions, while communicating, will affect the status of communication and will increase the aspects of intimacy. This will help developers and practitioners in developing affective technologies. The use of this knowledge will help in the development of future technologies that will be used in the interconnectedness. There will be the development and the use of devices that will be used in interconnectedness. This will help in the development of future technologies that will be used in affective technologies.
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This questionnaire is intended to assist the researcher in collecting data about the effect of affective technologies in the development of intimacy between two individuals. You have been identified purposely as an important respondent to the questionnaire. You are requested to, kindly, answer the questions below appropriately. The information you will provide will be treated with utmost confidentiality and will be used solely for purposes of this research. If need be, the findings of the research will be shared. The researcher is a student undertaking a course in psychology.
Below is a brief questionnaire. Please tick (√) where appropriate
Less than 20 yrs
Above 50 yrs
- Using the number of circles as the quantity of perceived intimacy towards the other person (1 circle being very low perceived intimacy and 7 circles being very high perceived intimacy), indicate the quantity of perceived intimacy for each of the number of emoticons you receive from the person, as shown below: (Tick where appropriate)
- How effective were automatically-initiated emoticons in initiating intimacy towards the other person? (Tick where appropriate)
Not at all effective
Fairly not effective
- How effective were user-initiated emoticons in initiating intimacy towards the other person? (Tick where appropriate)
Not at all effective
Fairly not effective