Support seeker expectations, support message quality, and supportive interaction processes and outcomes: The case of the comforting computer program revisited

Stephen A. Rains, Corey A. Pavlich, Bethany Lutovsky, Eric Tsetsi, Anjali Ashtaputre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Developing a complete understanding of supportive communication in personal relationships requires considering the role of support seekers. We examined the influence of seeker expectations and verbal person centeredness (VPC) on the nature and outcomes of supportive interactions. Participants discussed a personal problem during an interaction with a fictional computer program called “ListenerBot.” Participants’ expectations about the helpfulness of ListenerBot and the quality of ListenerBot’s feedback in the form of VPC were manipulated. Participants in the helpful prime condition wrote more words during the interaction and evaluated ListenerBot more favorably than participants in the unhelpful prime condition. Relative to participants who received low VPC feedback, participants who received high VPC feedback evaluated ListenerBot more positively and experienced a greater reduction in emotional distress. Tests for indirect effects showed that VPC and the expectations prime contributed to participants’ reduction in emotional distress through influencing their evaluations of ListenerBot.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Social and Personal Relationships
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019

Keywords

  • Behavioral confirmation
  • emotional distress
  • human–computer interaction
  • social support
  • support seeking
  • verbal person centeredness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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