Vivian P. Ta

Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Psychology



First Advisor

William Ickes


The initial interactions of same-sex strangers were investigated to examine the development of latent semantic similarity (LSS; that is, how interaction partners come to use words in the same way) in computer-mediated interactions. A previous study by Ta, Babcock, and Ickes (2016) found that verbal behaviors, rather than nonverbal behaviors, uniquely predicted the development of LSS in the initial face-to-face interactions of same-sex strangers. This suggested that LSS might develop similarly and as efficiently in conversations in which only words are exchanged (i.e., computer-mediated interactions). As such, using a sample of 120 same-sex dyads (all strangers) who interacted with each other using AOL Instant Messenger for 18 minutes, the current study hypothesized that (1) dyad-level behaviors that introduce more words into the conversation will be essential and unique predictors of dyad-level LSS; (2) higher dyad-level LSS would predict higher dyad-level perceived interaction quality; (3) higher dyad-levels of agreeableness, extraversion, and openness to experience would predict higher dyad-level LSS; (4) dyad-level LSS would mediate the relationship between dyad-level personality measures of agreeableness, extraversion, and openness to experience and dyad-level perceived interaction quality; and (5) dyad-level LSS would increase over time. The results revealed that (1) higher number of messages sent, but not the number of questions asked, significantly predicted higher LSS; (2) LSS did not significantly predict perceived interaction quality, but did predict certain factors of perceived interaction quality; (3) agreeableness, extraversion, and openness to experience did not significantly predict LSS; (4) LSS was not a significant mediator of the relationship between these 3 personality measures and perceived interaction quality; and (5) LSS decreases, rather than increases, over time, which may be attributed to a compensation effect, or to differences in dyad-level extraversion.


Latent semantic similarity, Latent semantic analysis, Dyadic interaction, Computer-mediated interaction


Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington

Included in

Psychology Commons