Hyperpersonal Model is an interpersonal communication theory that suggests computer mediated communication (CMC) can become hyperpersonal because it "exceeds interaction," thus affording message senders a host of communicative advantages over traditional face-to-face (FtF) interaction. Compared to ordinary FtF situations, a hyperpersonal message sender has a greater ability to strategically develop and edit self-presentation, enabling a selective and optimized presentation of one's self to others.
The hyperpersonal model specifies conditions favorable to either interpersonal or impersonal interaction. The hyperpersonal model addresses three questions: 1) when is mediated interaction impersonal; 2) when is CMC interpersonal; and 3) when is CMC hyperpersonal? Hyperpersonal communication, according to Walther, is “more socially desirable than we tend to experience in parallel FtF interaction” (p. 17). Combinations of media attributes, social phenomena, and social-psychological processes may lead CMC to become “hyperpersonal,” that is, to exceed face-to-face (FtF) communication. This perspective suggests that CMC users may experience greater levels of intimacy, unity and liking within a group or dyad than similar groups or dyads interacting FtF.
Communication professor Joseph Walther is credited with the development of this theory in 1996, after extensive research on computer mediated communication.
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