Psychology News – A study at Dartmouth University reveals that when people “click”, they have shorter gaps in conversations. The researchers looked for meaning in conversational gaps and linked faster response time to greater social connection.
A study reveals that people feel more connected when they “click” well in conversations. In social studies, “click” is a colloquial term for liking someone or something.
The study, conducted at Dartmouth University, looked into “short response time” in conversations to measure closeness in social connections. In fact, the study is a novelty in how it examines the meaningfulness of gaps in conversations.
The research ran in 3 studies, asking both friends and strangers to hold conversations and rate their felt connection. The first study videotaped 66 participants taking part in 10 conversations of their choosing. Each participant had a different conversation partner of the same gender. Afterwards, they watched the video playback and were asked to rate their perceived connectedness. To cross-examine the initial results, the participants and their close friends were invited to hold conversations in the second study. In the third study, third-party respondents from Amazon’s Mechanical Turk were asked to listen to audio clips of conversations with manipulated response times. Then, they had to rate how well the people in the conversations were connected.
The findings, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, show that conversations with shorter response times correlated with feelings of greater social connection. Inferences are drawn from how the experiment examined identical conversations with varied response times. It is noted that the feelings of connectedness only varied according to the response times. The researchers claim that the speed with which people “click” comprises the “simple, robust, and sufficient metric of social connection”.
Thalia Wheatly, co-author of the study, elaborates, “When people feel like they can almost finish each other’s sentences, they close that 250-millisecond gap, and that’s when two people are clicking.”
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Templeton, Emma & Chang, Luke & Reynolds, Elizabeth & LeBeaumont, Marie & Wheatley, Thalia. (2022). Fast response times signal social connection in conversation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 119. e2116915119. 10.1073/pnas.2116915119.