The Romantic Mediated Communication (RoMCoM) team focuses on how new (entertainment) technologies affect romantic relationship initiation and functioning in general. This line asks how young people use technology to establish and sustain relationships relationships. Following our work on dating app motivations, the next step will be to understand for whom and under which circumstances the mobile entertainment space - particularly dating apps - can enrich or endanger well-being.
The team is specifically interested in the specific functionalities of mobile dating apps that set it apart from already established ways of online dating. Even more, the team wants to understand which role haptic technologies might play. This research line will expand existing research on mediated communication by considering the role of haptic technologies that enable mediated inter-human touch. Mediated touch is among the newest additions to the (entertainment) technology landscape, and as such, we know little about how it will be experienced. Will mediated touch enhance feelings of closeness and intimacy? Can it buffer against stressful experiences? Who is drawn to the use of haptic devices as part of their daily communication pattern? All questions will be addressed using different methodological approaches, including qualitative work, survey research, measurement burst design, and experiments. This research line is directed by Sindy Sumter in collaboration with Laura Vandenbosch (KU Leuven).