Conversational multitasking in interactive written discourse as a communication competence

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Conversational multitasking is a distinctive property of synchronous, textual computer-mediated communication (CMC); it can be characterized as a new aspect of communication competence that CMC gives rise to. In this study it is tested how this capacity is affected by separation of conversation threads spatially and through color. Two conversation threads were presented to participants in three conditions: (1) in two distinct windows; (2) intertwined within a single window, without differentiation of color; and (3) intertwined in the same window, as in condition 2, but distinguished through color. Recognition (multiple-choice) tests showed significant differences between the three conditions, where the first (two windows) yielded the highest scores and the second (same window without differentiation of color) yielded the lowest. The significance, implications and limitations of these results are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-78
Number of pages9
JournalCommunication Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 2006


  • Chat
  • Communication Competence
  • Interactive Written Discourse
  • Multitasking


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