The impact of social presence on feelings of closeness in personal relationships

Daniel Gooch, Leon Watts

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Any interactive communication system can support personal relationships by facilitating a welcome and timely presence of an absent person in the mind of the other. This paper presents a consideration of how short-term feelings, as experienced during acts of communication, relate to a relationship's longer term feelings towards one another. Through a 21-day study with 63 participants, we report ratings of Closeness and Social Presence (SP) as evidence that links the two concepts as temporally distinct aspects of emotional connectedness. Such a relationship is useful as, by relating SP to Closeness, we can demonstrate that, by creating technologies that help to create emotionally significant experiences during acts of communication, we are supporting the relationship in a more meaningful, long-term fashion by supporting feelings of Closeness. This assists the human computer interaction (HCI) community by clarifying how SP and Closeness can be used as phenomenological concepts to assess communication devices designed to support interpersonal relationships.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)661-674
Number of pages14
JournalInteracting with Computers
Issue number6
Early online date4 Jun 2014
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2015


  • HCI theory
  • concepts and models
  • user studies
  • collaborative and social computing theory
  • computer supported cooperative word


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