In Week 3, we learned about various theories, models, and effects that people extend or apply when studying the social implications of communication technologies. We also learned about emerging technologies. This reflection assignment will ask you to think about both of these topics in two different parts. You must complete each part to earn full credit. If you have questions about this assignment, please ask!
General instructions: You need to write in complete sentences for this assignment (with the exception of references of course). Please submit this assignment as a word document or pdf using APA style on Carmen. Formatting your paper in APA style means that you should include the following: a title page, running heads, page numbers, double-spaced texts, indentation, one-inch margins (default setting), and a reference list on a separate page if any. You do NOT need to include an abstract, introduction, or conclusion for all papers in this course.
The body of your paper should NOT go over 3 pages (excluding the reference page).
Part 1
Theories and models explain real life phenomena. For this part of the assignment, you will apply a theory, model, or effect that we learned about to your own experiences or observations. You may choose a theory, model, or effect we discussed in Week 3, or you may choose a different one from your readings. Describe how each part of this theory, model, or effect applies to a situation you have personally observed or experienced. For example, you might describe how the hyperpersonal model applies to your friend meeting someone on Tinder and developing a relationship. Your experience may be perfectly described by the theory, model, or effect. But, it is okay if your experiences or observations do not fit perfectly with the theory, model, or effect. In this case, you can point out parts of the theory or model that could be improved based on what you experienced or observed. You may have to look up additional information about your theory, model, or effect. If you do, please cite your sources.
Part 2
Later in this course, you will need to know how to find academic sources of information about communication technology. For this part of the assignment, you will practice finding these sources. Specifically, you need to find one peer-reviewed journal article about a communication technology of your choice (e.g., video games, cell phones, virtual reality, social media). In your submission, you need to 1) provide an APA style citation for the article (either the 6th or 7th edition of APA is fine), 2) briefly summarize the article, and 3) explain what this article can teach us about the communication technology you chose. Please keep your responses to this part brief, ideally no more than two paragraphs.
Here are some resources that might help you with this part of the assignment:
Purdue OWL APA (Links to an external site.)
APA Style Blog (Links to an external site.)
How to read a journal article (& save yourself some time) download
Searching for academic papers: Using Library Research Databases.pptx download
The textbook (it has references lists that contain journal articles you might be able to use for this assignment. You would still need to look up the actual article and read it though.)
Grading Criteria
Grading will be based on…
The connection of course material to your responses (especially for part 1)
Your ability to critically think about the topics and provide novel insights
The quality and clarity of your responses to the prompt
The use of correct grammar and punctuation
Whether or not citations were provided and whether or not they were formatted properly according to APA style
Whether or not you addressed all parts of the prompt and met deadlines
Whether or not you generally followed instructions
week 3:

This week’s objectives: What might explain the following…
People being nasty online to other people from an opposing political party
People treating a robot like it’s their actual friend
Why I decided to solve crimes after I watched Veronica Mars solve them on TV?
Technological Determinism:
Media scholar Marshal McLuhan (1964) has a well-known quote: “the medium is the message”, meaning that the nature of the medium (which is similar to the concept of affordance we just learned) leads to changes in human dynamic. He pointed out that media technology shapes the society and the content itself is not that important— a technological determinism perspective (i.e., technology may determine *some* things.
Now I would like to solve the following without using your phone or laptop:
** Don’t cheat or it ruins the fun!
What is 7416 divided by 12?
Directions from Columbus to Ann Arbor, MI.
Once done, use any device you want to check your answers. Are they the same? Was it challenging to solve them?
It feels like we are so used to use and rely on technology in our daily life that we may lose certain abilities to solve probably the most basic puzzles. Going back to media technologies:
Print media like newspapers and magazines lead to mass dissemination of information in the early days.
Relying on texting/autocorrection too much could be the reason why we become bad at spelling and grammar.
Social media facilitate the mass coordination of protestors during the Arab Spring.
Computers as Social Actors (CASA) aka Media Equation (Reeves & Nass, 1996):
According to popular wisdom, humans never relate to a computer or a TV program in the same way they relate to another human being. Or do they?
According to Byron Reeves and Clifford Nass (1996), humans’ interactions with computers, TV, and new communication technologies (not necessarily the content or characters in the content) are identical to real social relationships and to the navigation of real physical spaces–the so-called “Media Equation”.
The two scientists show that people are polite to computers; that they treat computers with female voices differently than male-voiced computers; that large faces on a screen can invade a person’s body space; and that motion on a screen affects physical responses in the same way that real-life motion does.
They concluded that the human brain has not evolved quickly enough to assimilate 20th (21th)-century technology.
Reeves and Nass are top scholars in communication science. Watch an interview with them:
Read this chapter for more information about The Media Equation:
Uncanny Valley (Mori, 1970)
There might a threshold for people being “nice” or “friendly” to technology. Sometimes tech can be a little too real (read: creepy). This phenomenon is known as “uncanny valley”.

Online Disinhibition Effect (Suler, 2004)
We have actually touched on this theory a little bit last week. The general idea of ODE is that people act differently online than they do offline–people behave more freely online due to a perceived lack of sanctions.
Their online behaviors can GOOD in that they may be more open-minded and disclose more about themselves. For example, you may post more information about private self online than in face-to-face communication.
Their online behaviors can be BAD in that because people have no fear of being punished, they may engage in creepy behavior and be very rude. Trolling is also another example.
Social Identity Model of Deindividuation Effects (SIDE) (Lea & Spears, 1992)
*** Sorry, I missed this model when publishing this module back in Week 3.
SIDE model is basically a “twist” of social identity theory we’ll learn in Week 4. This model posits that visual anonymity in the online world obscures our personal identity online as an individual (e.g., personal features, individual differences) so that interpersonal concerns become weaker. Whenever a group identity cue (about gender, race, for instance) is available, people would perceive themselves or others as representative of social groups rather than as individuals (i.e., deindividualization effects–> more salient group identity than personal identity).
For example, when interacting with college students across the country in anonymity on Twitter using a pseudonym, your social identity as a Buckeye is more salient than you as your individual self, which will influence what you say and how you behave.
Social Information Processing Theory (SIP) (Walther, 1992)
We get a lot of info face-to-face, but not so much from computer-mediated communication (CMC) (we sip small bits of information…)
Relationships develop…just slower
Cues filtered out…but we replace them with, for example, emojis and others like :), ;),:P,
The author of this theory Dr. Joseph Walther is probably the “godfather” of computer-mediated communication (CMC). Take a look at how he explains SIP:
Hyperpersonal Model (Walther, 1996)
Joseph Walther again. This is another important theory in CMC literature. The idea is:
Sender: People disclose a lot of information about themselves and this information is highly selective–they selectively present themselves online (mostly in a positive way). Think about what information you put in your Facebook profile, have you ever photoshop the profile picture before posting it.
Receiver: Due to reduced cues and contexts, people overattribute the similarity, idealization, and feelings of closeness between the message senders and themselves. This can explain why people can easily fall in love with someone online: due to the lack of cues/contexts, people tend to overidealize the conversation partner and thus overestimate the affection.
Selective self-presentation and over-attribution can have great downstream impacts on people’s media choice, emotion, and behaviors. I will show you how this model can help explain OSU students select social comparison messages and political news toward the end of the term.
Self-determination theory
Self-determination theory is a theory about motivation and personality. It explains what motivations drive people’s choices without external influence and interference, and the degree to which people’s behavior is self-motivated and self-determined.
This theory has three components:
Autonomy (i.e., the feeling that you have free will and can make the free choice)
Competence (i.e., the perception that you have the ability and you CAN do something)
Relatedness (i.e., the perception of belongingness). They determine, for example, what social media you use, Twitter or Snapchat; what content you post on Facebook.
The theory distinguishes two types of motivations: intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation.
Intrinsic motivation leads to long-term effects (i.e., you stay away from smoking because you want to stay healthy) but it is hard to induce from outside.
Extrinsic motivation can be easy to induce but its impact on behavior change is short-term (i.e., parents not allowing you to smoke will not prevent you from smoking for long).
Warranting theory
This is another theory originally from Joseph Walther. The idea is that information posted by others is more reliable than the information posted by “me”.
Think about why you browse consumers’ comments a lot before deciding to buy a product on Amazon.
Other theories you should know
Agenda setting theory
Topics covered in media influence what people think is important —> media tells us what to think about, not what to think. For example, COVID-19 has received much media coverage in the last two months, they may not change your opinions on COVID-19, but will definitely make you think that it is IMPORTANT.
Cultivation theory
The more time people spend watching TV, the more they believe the reality portrayed (e.g., violence).
Note that both agenda-setting theory and cultivation theory are mass media-based theories, meaning that they are only applicable to the newspaper, television, radio from which people have generic exposure to media information. They are not supposed to be used to explain the effects of new media like social media, virtual reality, etc. from which people get personalized experiences.
Content: Drones, Virtual reality, & Other emerging technologies
On this page, we will learn about some of the emerging technologies.
New topics come with a book icon before it
Concepts/theories you should pay attention to come with a flag icon
Objectives: You should be able to answer the following questions:
What technology have we discussed?
What are their affordances?
What are some potential social implications of these technologies or their use?
An aircraft or spacecraft with no pilot on board
Originally used by the military
There were more than 2 million recreational drones sold in 2016 (Platt, 2017) –> often used for photography (e.g., realtors) and action videos (e.g., pro mountain bikers)
Drones are included and recognized by the national airspace system
There are MANY different drones

Agents vs. Avatars
Agent = digital forms driven by computer algorithms
Avatar = digital forms driven by humans in real-time
The difference between the two is important. For example, the difference between game play with other avatars (player-controlled characters) or agents (characters controlled by the computer) may influence the engagement a game player experiences.
Virtual reality vs. Augmented reality
Augmented reality (AR) digital elements to a live view often by using the camera on a smartphone. Examples of augmented reality experiences include Snapchat lenses and the game Pokemon Go.
Virtual reality (VR) a complete immersion experience that shuts out the physical world. Using VR devices such as HTC Vive, Oculus Rift or Google Cardboard, users can be transported into a number of real-world and imagined environments such as the middle of a squawking penguin colony or even the back of a dragon.
Internet of Things
Internet of Things (IoTs) is a network of devices that collect and share data (think “smart” devices).

Technology Horror Short Films
Let’s have some fun (horror):

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