Application of Psychology in Emails Could Lead to More Effective Communication

By Lee Ann Santore ’19

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In this age of technology, email is employed as a fundamental form of communication capable of creating and strengthening both casual and professional relationships. Researchers from the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, having studied 16 billion emails sent by 2 million users, were able to identify several key patterns. The results revealed that most emails are responded to within an hour, and that after two days have passed, it is unlikely to receive a response. Age was also found to have a direct relationship with response times: the older a person got, the longer it took them to respond. Gender, however, had a negligible impact. The device used to respond had a significant impact: users using laptops took double the time to respond than those using smart phones. Additionally, the study demonstrated that when it comes to email length, users tend to mimic each other. This means that if one user sends an email one paragraph long, if the conversation is going well, they should expect a response of the same length. The resulting understanding of email response times and response psychology can be used as an effective tool for initiating and maintaining effective communication between parties.

  1. Image Source:
  2. Morin, Waiting for a reply? Study explains the psychology behind email response time. Forbes. (2015).



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