The use of computer-mediated communication (CMC) as a form of social interaction has become increasingly prevalent, yet few studies examine individual differences that may shed light on implications of CMC for adjustment. The current study examined neurocognitive individual differences associated with preferences to use technology in relation to social–emotional outcomes. In Study 1 (N = 91), a self-report measure, the Social Media Communication Questionnaire (SMCQ), was evaluated as an assessment of preferences for communicating positive and negative emotions on a scale ranging from purely via CMC to purely face-to-face. In Study 2, SMCQ preferences were examined in relation to event-related potentials (ERPs) associated with early emotional attention capture and reactivity (the frontal N1) and later sustained emotional processing and regulation (the late positive potential (LPP)). Electroencephalography (EEG) was recorded while 22 participants passively viewed emotional and neutral pictures and completed an emotion regulation task with instructions to increase, decrease, or maintain their emotional responses. A greater preference for CMC was associated with reduced size of and satisfaction with social support, greater early (N1) attention capture by emotional stimuli, and reduced LPP amplitudes to unpleasant stimuli in the increase emotion regulatory task. These findings are discussed in the context of possible emotion- and social-regulatory functions of CMC.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Psychology
- Behavioral Neuroscience