It has been argued that the communication of emotions is more difficult in computer-mediated communication (CMC) than in face-to-face (F2F) communication. The aim of this paper is to review the empirical evidence in order to gain insight in whether emotions are communicated differently in these different modes of communication. We review two types of studies: (1) studies that explicitly examine discrete emotions and emotion expressions, and (2) studies that examine emotions more implicitly, namely as self-disclosure or emotional styles. Our conclusion is that there is no indication that CMC is a less emotional or less personally involving medium than F2F. On the contrary, emotional communication online and offline is surprisingly similar, and if differences are found they show more frequent and explicit emotion communication in CMC than in F2F.

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Computers in Human Behavior
Department of Psychology

Derks-Theunissen, D., Fischer, A., & Bos, A. (2008). The role of emotion in computer-mediated communication: A review. Computers in Human Behavior (Vol. 24, pp. 766–785). doi:10.1016/j.chb.2007.04.004