Experiment to Increase Meaningful Conversations
Introducing a social contract that people sign agreeing to meaningful conversation can increase conversation quality over instant messaging when two people are anonymous.
August 2013 - July 2016
Echo, Duke University, The Center for Advanced Hindsight
(The Fabulous is a 2016 Material Design Award-winning, Google Play Editor's Choice app that has won consecutive top chart listings.)
Under Dan Ariely's advisement, I designed and conducted an experiment to find out factors that would enhance conversation quality among strangers for an app I was developing. How can we create a virtual environment that enhances meaningful conversations over instant messaging? Would people be more open with each other if they were anonymous? What if they signed a social contract agreeing to meaningful conversation?
Hypothesis & Questions
Hypothesis: Signing a social contract agreeing to have a meaningful conversation between two strangers will lead to a higher quality conversation experience. Additionally, how will anonymity affect instant messaging conversations? How will anonymity interact with social contracts?
Research Design & Methodology
I recruited 128 people and randomly assigned them to 1 of 4 groups testing 2 factors: social contracts vs. social presence.
Conversation pairs who saw each other reported better conversation quality and better partner impression. The social contract was effective when conversation pairs were anonymous to each other.