Caleb T. Carr, Ph.D.

Professor of Communication











Research Navigation Overview Online Identity Masspersonal Communication Research Outlets

News Blotter


February, 2024 Journal of Media Psychology

Every Friday after work you go out with coworkers for a few drinks, and invariable end up posting a few pictures of your Friday Funzies to Instagram. Can the way you depict yourself in relation to alcohol actually change your relationship with alcohol? A registered report by Dr. Femke Geusens, myself, and Dr. Kathleen Beullens drew on identity shift theory to answer this question. Perhaps fortunately, neither posting pictures of alcohol or being social with alcohol affected participants' intention to drink in the future.


January, 2024 Media Psychology

It is pretty well established that recent social media posts can affect employers' perceptions of an applicant; but what about when employers find those posts you made years ago? New research by brilliant graduate scholars Mary C. Katreeb (now a PhD student at Arizona State) and Ertemisa P. Godinez (now a talent specialist for a financial services firm) looks at the effect of post temporality on current impressions. The good news is that older posts seem to impact perceptions of the 'now' you less than more recent posts.


November, 2023 Human Communication & Technology

Do sponsored posts tell us as much about a target's offline self as either self-statements or third party reviews? New research by a group of graduate scholars tells us that influencers may be better than an organization's own claims; but aren't as good as true reviewers from unknowns. This paper was the output of my Fall 2022 COM418 course, and demonstrates how well the enrolled scholars mastered the warranting construct.


Summer, 2021 CMC Textbook

A long while in the making, you can now pre-order Computer-mediated communication, my new textbook for undergraduate scholars, is now available. The book focuses on both theories and applications of mediated communication, presenting classic theories in contemporary environments. Chapters address interpersonal, group, organizational, and political communication online, as well as social media, CMC for education and persuasion, and other contemporary topics. Instructor supplements forthcoming, including test bank and sample assignments.




The overarching theme of my research has been to look at the nature of human interaction as it has been affected by computer-mediated channels. I am generally interested in mediated communication, organizational communication, and group communication, particularly when two or more of these fields combine. Though this research can (and has) taken many forms, currently I am interested primarily in two lines of research: (1) Online identity and (2) Implications and applications of masspersonal communication.

Please click here for a html version of my CV, including links to selected papers and to downloadable copies of my CV.


Online Identity


"Back in the day" (which, most people are surprised to learn, was a Tuesday) you got to know someone by talking to them face-to-face. Erving Goffman has told us that was often an unfortunate way to do things because we were forced to interact with access to all cues of our communicative partners available, which could quickly disclose individual stigma. Computer-mediated communication has presented a radically different means to communicate, both to construct our own identities and to interpret the identity of others. My research into how we perform and interpret identity online has focused on two paths:

Identity Shift. First, I am interested in the process of identity shift, or how individuals transform their own selves through selective self-presentation. When you go online and say, "I'm outgoing," you tend to report feeling more extraverted afterwards. Explicating identity shift theory and conducting several empirical studies on how deliberate self-statements affect self-perceptions (including extraversion and brand affinty), I am interested in how the increasing amount of self-presentation in which we engage online may be influencing our self-constructs.

Within Hiring. Second, I am interested in how job candidates construct identities online for (or accidentally encountered by) employers, as well as how organizations create online identities to help attract qualified job applicants. As we increasingly turn to online searches as screening tools on both side of the hiring equation, how does who we (i.e., both the employer and the potential employee) present ourselves impact others' wilingness to advance the hiring process?

My current research projects explore how online interactions can intensify the attributional effects of identity cues, both for self-perception and of employers' perceptions of job applicants in the hiring process.


Masspersonal Communication


Since its inception, the communication discipline has reflected a bifurcation of mass and interpersonal communication, both in its structure and its theories. Yet, scholars have increasingly called this separation a "false dichotomy" (Reardon & Rogers, 1988). Seeking to bridge these areas and perhaps negate that false dichotomy, O'Sullivan (2005) proposed the concept of masspersonal communication, denoting communication that is either: (1) mass communication via an interpersonal channel; (2) interpersonal communication via a mass channel; or (3) the convergence of mass and interpersonal communication. Though certainly masspersonal communication was possible via legacy technologies, social media have made masspersonal communication even more timely and relevant, and provides new opportunities for theories of both human and mediated (particularly "new" media) communication. Large parts of my work are now either explicating and directly testing the masspersonal model of communication, or are applying the masspersonal concept to understand how this under-researched convergence of previously distinct concepts affects interactions in several contexts, including advertising, education, and identity shift.

Current research projects into masspersonal communication further explicate and set boundaries for the concept and model alike, as well as explore how explore how SNSs and other online social media tools may affect masspersonal messages and resultant perceptions and effects.


Research Outlets


My work has appeared in several peer-reviewed journals including the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, Human Communication Research, Communication Research, and the Journal of Applied Communication Research. I have also authored an undergraduate textbook (including instructor support materials), Computer-mediated communication: A theoretical and practical introduction to human communication online; and have been fortunate to coauthor several chapters, including Strategic use of social technology: An interactive perspective of social psychology, The dynamics of intergroup communication, and The networked self: Identity, community, and culture on social network sites.

I present regularly at the annual meetings of the International Communication Association and the biennial meeting of the Media Psychology Division of the German Psychological Society; and also often present at and attend the National Communication Association. My work has been recognized by several awards at all three of these associations. I also occasionally submit work to the Academy of Management, Computer-Supported Cooperative Work, and Computers and Human Interaction.

Layout Copyright © 2006