To thine communication partner be true: The effect of presentation consistency on perceived authenticity and liking after making a first impression online



This experiment examines the effects of presentation consistency on perceived authenticity and liking in computer-mediated communication, differentiating between profile views and short online text-based conversations. The experimental design is a 2 (presentation-consistent vs. -inconsistent) × 2 (profile view vs. short conversation) between-subjects experiment using university students (N = 173) in Singapore. Results show higher perceived authenticity (η2p = .29) and liking (η2p = .16) after short conversations than after profile views without conversations. When there is only a profile view, perceived authenticity is lower when the profile photo is inconsistent with the profile text than when it is consistent (η2p = .05). We discuss these findings in terms of schema tuning, where presentation inconsistencies can be accommodated over time as individuals develop unique mental schemas about their communication partners.

Perceived authenticity, schema theory, idealization, liking, computer-mediated communication
Author biographies

Nicholas Tang

Nanyang Technological University

Janell Chu

Nanyang Technological University

Kahmun Leong

Nanyang Technological University

Sonny Rosenthal

Nanyang Technological University


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