Machiavellianism and computer-mediated communication: an experiment in the software psychology of terminal to terminal communication



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Texas Tech University


The tide of computer technology has brought with it a new era of communications. The age of computer-linked communications is upon us, and yet the field of human factors has failed to overcome technological inertia to meet this change.

The field of software psychology studies human performance in computer and information systems. The effects of personality on performance in computer systems is a "hot" topic in software psychology as is computer-mediated communication.

A study was proposed to examine the influence of Machiavellian tendencies on the solution of a problem discussed via computer-mediated communications or faceto- face communications. Groups which communicated via computer took significantly longer to solve the problem than did groups in which communication was face-to-face. Groups in which the manipulator was low Mach and the target was high Mach took the longest time. When the dependent measure was the amount of influence, rather than time, mode proved to be the primary factor—individuals v;ere more easily influenced face-to-face. Quality of the end product and the amount of influence exerted by the target were not found to be affected. Implications for this research and future research are discussed.