MultiView: Improving Trust in Group Video Conferencing through Spatial Faithfulness

ACM Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI) (2007)


Video conferencing is still considered a poor alternative to face-to-face meetings. In the business setting, where these systems are most prevalent, the misuse of video conferencing systems can have detrimental results, especially in high-stakes communications. Prior work suggests that spatial distortions of nonverbal cues, particularly gaze and deixis, negatively impact many aspects of effective communication in dyadic communications. However, video conferencing systems are often used for group-to-group meetings where spatial distortions are exacerbated. Meanwhile, its effects on the group dynamic are not well understood. In this study, we examine the effects that spatial distortions of nonverbal cues have on inter-group trust formation. We conducted a large (169 participant) study of group conferencing under various conditions. We found that the use of systems that introduce spatial distortions negatively affect trust formation patterns. On the other hand, these effects are essentially eliminated by using a spatially faithful video conferencing system.