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Most millennials hate the thought of leaving a voicemail, especially when it's to a love interest. Now, scientists say they have good reason.
A new study has found Facebook messages and emails are more likely to get you a date than a simple phone call. This contradicts previous research that claims email and text messages can lack emotion.
'The bottom line is that email is much better when you want to convey some information that you want someone to think about,' said one of the authors, Alan Dennis from Indiana University. Dennis and co-author Taylor Wells, an assistant professor at California State University-Sacramento, wanted to learn more about how we respond emotionally to emails.
印第安纳大学（Indiana University）的艾伦•丹尼斯（Alan Dennis）是该研究的一位作者。他说，“最重要的是，当你想表达一些希望引起别人思考的信息时，发邮件会更适合。”另一位作者是来自加州州立大学-萨克拉门托分校（California State University-Sacramento）的助理教授泰勒•韦尔斯（Taylor Wells），他和丹尼斯想深入了解人们对于邮件情绪上的反应。
In a study of 72 teenagers, scientists found that people who sent romantic emails were more emotionally aroused and used stronger and more thoughtful language than those who left voicemails.
The research was conducted by placing skin sensors on the subjects' faces to measure muscle movement associated with positive and negative emotion, and on their feet to measure arousal. Subjects were randomly chosen to do voicemail or email and to either produce a practical or a romantic message.
'When writing romantic emails, senders consciously or subconsciously added more positive content to their messages, perhaps to compensate for the medium's inability to convey vocal tone,' Dennis and Wells wrote in the paper. 'Email enables senders to modify the content as messages are composed to ensure they are crafted to the needs of the situation. Voicemail lacks this feature,' they added. 'A sender records a voicemail in a single take, and it can be sent or discarded and re-recorded, but not edited. [This means] senders engage with email messages longer and may think about the task more deeply than when leaving voicemails. This extra processing may increase arousal.'
The use of email induced more arousing psychophysiological responses than voicemail, regardless of whether the message was practical or romantic. The study found the results held true for both men and women.
The findings run counter to something known as 'media naturalness theory', a commonly held evolutionary standard suggesting that the further we get away from face-to-face communications, the less natural and less effective it becomes.
The researchers, however, did not see much use of emoticons and emojis in their emails. Rather, they found that when writing emails, subjects took more time to choose their words carefully to make sure the language conveyed the full meaning.
Dennis warns people against misinterpreting these findings to suggest that face-to-face meetings, personal phone calls and other direct forms of communications aren't as useful.
'If something isn't really clear and you want to make sure that everyone has the same understanding of what something means, that's best done in phone calls, face-to-face meetings or video conferencing,' Dennis said.
The study has been accepted for publication in the journal Computers in Human Behavior.
这项研究已经获准在期刊《计算机与人类行为》（Computers in Human Behavior）发表。