OPINIONS ARE LIKE a certain body part that shall remain unnamed — everybody’s got one. (And everyone thinks everyone else’s stinks.) This is particularly true about what’s considered appropriate communication in the digital age, especially when it comes to dating. But it seems like some of us are keeping our real opinions to ourselves — or we don’t even know what we really want. Most people would still argue that picking up the phone and calling a boo (or potential boo) is more romantic than any alternative, but a recent study is saying that’s just not so. At least for the person making the phone call, that is.
The study was specifically interested in emails, and set out to compare the emotional arousal of men and women when they sent them in comparison to the emotional arousal they experienced when they left voice mails. The research was done on college-aged men and women at both Indiana University and California State University-Sacramento.
What the researchers found was that there were indeed different physiological responses going on. They found that people got more emotionally aroused both writing and receiving emails than they did leaving or listening to voice mails, and they have a couple potential explanations as to why.
For one thing, people tend to use more emotionally-rousing words in emails than they do on the phone, since our writing and speaking voices can vary. Plus, there is also the opportunity to think about what you’re writing, and edit and delete it as necessary without any stress involved. When we speak, we just don’t have that option unless we delete a voicemail and start over again. Even so, we can’t really ever perfect the message.
Next up is their study about how the recipients of the voice mails and the emails feel about them. Alan R. Dennis, one of the researchers in the study, does caution against adopting email as a main form of communication, however.
“Face-to-face communication is much better if you want to converge on a mutual understanding. I can say something and make sure you understand exactly what I’m saying. We can augment the conversation and answer questions.”
No doubt about that. Still, you can’t argue against just how popular email is these days: