Being watched or being special: How i learned to stop worrying and love being monitored, surveilled, and assessed

Erica Ann Robles, Abhay Sukumaran, Kathryn Rickertsen, Clifford Nass

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


This paper explores the relationship between display of feedback (public vs. private) by a computer system and the basis for evaluation (present vs. absent) of that feedback. We employ a social interpersonal context (speed-dating) in a controlled laboratory setting. Participants (in male-female pairs) receive real-time performance feedback, either only about themselves (private) or about both participants (public). Participant perceptions of monitoring, conformity, and self-consciousness about themselves and their dating partner, as well as perceptions of system invasiveness, system competence, and system support are assessed. There is a consistent pattern of significant interaction between feedback display and basis for evaluation conditions. Public feedback with an added, trivial basis for evaluation creates significantly lower perceptions of monitoring, conformity, self-consciousness, and system invasiveness, than do the other three conditions. Additionally, there is a main effect for basis for evaluation with respect to system competence and supportiveness; the presence of a basis produces more positive assessments than its absence. This research shows that reactions to being monitored and evaluated do not differ strictly along the dimension of public vs. private; basis for evaluation of feedback functions as a mediator and thus co-determines participant attitudinal responses. The implications are discussed at several levels, and motivate a broader cultural explanation in terms of the theory of rationalization. Issues concerning the utility of linking laboratory settings to larger cultural contexts in this and related fields of inquiry are presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCHI 2006
Subtitle of host publicationConference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, Conference Proceedings SIGCHI
Number of pages9
StatePublished - 2006
EventCHI 2006: Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Montreal, QC, Canada
Duration: Apr 22 2006Apr 27 2006

Publication series

NameConference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings


OtherCHI 2006: Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
CityMontreal, QC


  • Computer-mediated communication
  • Evaluation
  • Feedback
  • Private
  • Public
  • Shared experience
  • Ubiquitous computing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


Dive into the research topics of 'Being watched or being special: How i learned to stop worrying and love being monitored, surveilled, and assessed'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this