Purdue University Graduate School
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I'll send all positive thoughts out to you: Detecting hyperpersonal relationships through self-disclosure

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posted on 2022-08-08, 12:52 authored by Elise P TaylorElise P Taylor

The hyperpersonal model predicts computer-mediated communication can allow for relationships formed in that medium to become more intimate than their offline counterparts. Specifically, it combines ideas first presented in social information processing (i.e., that the volume of information exchanged over time within computer-mediated relationship is more important than how long it takes to exchange that volume) with the technological affordances given to the sender, receiver, message, and channel in order to create a feedback loop of assumed good intentions within the CMC medium that allows for online relationships to surpass face-to-face relationships in terms of their emotional intimacy. Existing research has shown that a variety of factors influence how people feel about an online friend, including the richness of the medium, personality, and the amount of emotional self-disclosure that had been exchanged within the relationship. However, studies to date have inconsistently measured self-disclosure and largely rely on survey or experimental methods rather than the examination of existing text-based datasets. This study proposes and tests a model that the relationship between an initial person’s emotional self-disclosure and the reciprocal self-disclosure the friend responds with in a CMC medium is mediated by the degree to which their language converges, or the degree to which they empathize with each other, and is moderated by the volume of text exchanged by the pairs during their relationship. The study uses a corpus of the text messages exchanged between 2,174 pairs of people. The results indicate that there is an indirect relationship between initial self-disclosure and reciprocal self-disclosure which is mediated by is empathetic convergence. Furthermore, the volume of information exchanged may also play a role in some of these interactions. This study offers implications and suggestions for refining the hyperpersonal model to be applicable in the current digital zeitgeist.


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Communication

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Sorin Adam Matei

Additional Committee Member 2

Stacey Connaughton

Additional Committee Member 3

Emily Buehler

Additional Committee Member 4

Matthew Hannah