A new study indicates that emails are more romantic than voicemails. The study found that senders of emails used more considered language and were more emotionally aroused than those sending messages via voicemail, whether those messages were practical or romantic.
The debate regarding emails and texts versus voicemails rages on, and a new study has added fuel to the fire.
The study, headed by Alan Dennis from Indiana University and Taylor Wells, an assistant professor at California State University-Sacramento, tested 72 teenagers and asked them to send messages either via email or voicemail. The participants were given both romantic and practical messages to send.
The senders had their arousal levels measured via sensors that were attached to their faces and feet. The results found that those who sent emails were more psychologically aroused than those sending voicemails. The directors of the study hypothesize that the senders used more thoughtful and detailed language in the emails in order to compensate for the lack of emotional tone conveyed in a written statement as opposed to a spoken one.
They also hypothesized that the email senders were able to take more time to consider the exact content of their message due to the fact that written messages could be edited until they expressed the exact intent of the sender. Voicemails, however, cannot be edited, only deleted and re-recorded in one take.
"Senders engage with email messages longer and may think about the task more deeply than when leaving voicemails," the authors state. "This extra processing may increase arousal."
"There's a lot of theory that says email and other text communications don't really work very well," explained Dennis. "We should probably go back and reconsider a lot of the stereotypical assumptions that we hold about email and text messaging that may not hold true when we take a deeper look at how people react physiologically."
That may be true, but since the study only measured the arousal level of the sender as opposed to the recipient of the message, it seems that the actual effectiveness level of the message is still unclear. Also, since the study only used teenagers as participants, the results may be skewed towards the younger generation, which is more accustomed to the use of electronic messaging communication than the general population.