The Richer, The Better? Effects of Modality on Intercultural Virtual Collaboration

Qian Xu, Deanna Behring


We conducted two experiments to learn how different communication modalities and modality combinations affected intercultural virtual collaboration. Study 1, a within-subjects experiment, compares the effects of text chat and audio chat on perceived communication difficulties, perceived language difference, task satisfaction, and performance. Study 2, a within-subjects experiment, explores the effects of modality combinations of text and audio chats with and without pictures and the linguistic accommodation strategies adopted by intercultural dyad members. The major findings are that (a) audio led to better collaboration outcomes than text when there was only one communication modality, (b) multimodality did not lead to better collaboration outcomes than single modality, and (c) visual cues boosted the influence of text chat but impeded the effect of audio chat.


modality, multimodality, intercultural virtual collaboration, social identity

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