Development of an Online Platform for Dyadic Interaction Research

Investigator: Thomas Malloy, Rhode Island College

Scientific Theme: Neuroscience

Abstract: The Social Relations Laboratory at Rhode Island College ( is focused on intergroup and interpersonal behavior. Using a face to face interaction paradigm, the laboratory has studied interpersonal attraction (Malloy, 2018a), perceptions of interpersonal similarity (Malloy, 2019), the accuracy of interpersonal perceptions (Malloy, 2020) and question asking in male-female interactions (Kluger and Malloy, 2019). In addition, the laboratory has studied the effects of facial attractiveness, social status, and face recognition (Malloy, DiPietro, DeSimone, Chau, Curley, and Silva); note that all coauthors on this project are former RI INBRE SURF fellows. All of this work was conducted prior to the outbreak of Covid-19, and since then all face to face and in-laboratory data collected has been precluded. Consequently, we have migrated all of our research online to maintain health and safety. This proposal for an EVEREST 2021 pilot award aims to development an online platform so that we can approximate actual face to face interaction virtually. The proposal is to integrate the face-to-face interactive capacity afforded by ZOOM with Qualtrics which is an online platform for data collection. We will recruit participants for participation in remote face-to-face interaction from the Prolific website where people participate in research for reasonable compensation. While the development of a system to approximate actual face-to-face interaction is essential during the current Covid-19 pandemic, it will be highly useful event when people can interaction without fear of infection. For example, one could recruit participants from different parts of the world and facilitate interactions that would not be possible in the absence of a virtual platform like the one we propose.

Human Health Relevance: The Covid-19 pandemic has ceased face to face social interaction research. The proposed project seeks to approximate those interactions in a virtual environment by integrating existing software for virtual interactions (Zoom) with software currently used for online data collection (Qualtrics).