Criticism or Praise? The Impact of Verbal versus Text-Only Computer Feedback on Social Presence, Intrinsic Motivation, and Recall

Cheryl C. Bracken, Cleveland State University
Leo W. Jeffres, Cleveland State University
Kimberly A. Neuendorf, Cleveland State University


The Computers Are Social Actors (CASA) paradigm asserts that human computer users interact socially with computers, and has provided extensive evidence that this is the case. In this experiment (n = 134), participants received either praise or criticism from a computer. Independent variables were the direction feedback (praise or criticism), and voice channel (verbal or text-only). Dependent variables measured via a computer-based questionnaire were recall, perceived ability, intrinsic motivation, and perceptions of the computer as a social entity. Results demonstrate that participants had similar reactions to computers as predicted by interpersonal communication research with participants who received text-only criticism reporting higher levels of intrinsic motivation, perceived ability, and recall. Additionally, the computer was seen as more intelligent. Implications for theory and application are discussed.