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EM-POLITE: How to get the most out of your e-mail? An experimental study exploring the impact of im/politeness, social status and gender on our responses to e-mail communication. (EM-POLITE)

In the current context of globalization, a significant part of our daily
communication happens online, and the first communicative
exchange creating a new relationship often occurs via e-mail. E-mails
are widely used because of their speed and efficiency, but they lack
information available face-to-face, such as intonation, facial
expressions, gestures. This makes it challenging to adapt our e-mails
to our addressee. However, little is known about how people
emotionally react to im/polite e-mails. In addition, there is a
knowledge gap concerning how sender-recipient social status (e.g., a
boss vs. an employee), sender gender, and recipient gender
influence recipientsU+2019 emotions online. To address these
shortcomings, I will investigate the relationship between these
variables and im/politeness using as case studies requests for action,
requests for information, and criticisms, realized with varying degrees
of im/politeness. A corpus of Dutch e-mails containing these speech
acts will be compiled, and their im/politeness will be experimentally
assessed. In another series of experiments, the interaction of relative
social status and gender on affective evaluations of im/politeness in
e-mails will be explored. Then, surveying participantsU+2019 eye
movements and emotions when reading these e-mails and in a
subsequent face-to-face interaction in virtual reality will enable me to
see whether the intensity of the experienced emotions goes together
with the degree of im/politeness.

Date:1 Oct 2019  →  Today
Keywords:social status, e-mail communication, politeness and impoliteness
Disciplines:Psycholinguistics and neurolinguistics, Sociolinguistics, Discourse analysis, Pragmatics