School of Communication and Digital Content


Master of Arts in Communication (MA)


David Allison

Primary Subject Area

Gender Studies; Information Science; Language, Rhetoric and Composition; Psychology, Social; Sociology, General


computer-mediated communication, gender, lead media, perception


Communication | Communication Technology and New Media | Gender and Sexuality | Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Ethnicity in Communication | Social Psychology


Over the years, communication methods have evolved from face-to-face conversations to computer-mediated communication including: e-mail, instant message, and text message interactions. Since the methods have changed, a large aspect of communication, nonverbal cues, have become nearly impossible. These methods of communication that lack nonverbal cues are therefore referred to as lean media because they lack the richness of facial expression, vocal expression, and immediacy. In order to modify more recent forms of communication to include nonverbal cues, individuals have created their own nonverbal cues. While each individual is unique, though, genders normally tend to think or behave in similar fashion. This quantitative study researches the aspects of communication that deal with lean media and the gender perceptions that follow. This research focuses on three hypotheses: (1) Females tend to use more nonverbal cues than males when interacting in computer-mediated communication. (2) Females tend to perceive confusion at a higher rate than males when using lean media during computer- mediated communication. (3) Females tend to perceive conflict at a higher rate than males when using lean media during computer-mediated communication. By posting an online survey, data was colleted from 19 dichotomous and multiple-choice questions. A total of 300 individuals participated. The results revealed that females have a stronger tendency to use nonverbal cues when interacting on computer-mediated communication. They also showed how women generally receive confusion and conflict at a higher rate than men.