Publication details [#64085]

Terkourafi, Marina and Sarah Lord. 2018. Tracking opinion convergence online. The effect of facial attractiveness. Internet Pragmatics 1 (1) : 88–112.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
John Benjamins
Journal DOI


This paper investigates whether facial attractiveness, as one source of positive/negative attitudes towards one’s conversational partner, affects the degree and type of opinion convergence online, even in the absence of physical co-presence. The hypothesis is that when you interact with someone you find attractive, opinion convergence will occur even if you are not physically co-present with them. Additionally, the paper tracked different types of opinion convergence (one-sided or mutual) and how convergence is linguistically negotiated in these different circumstances. The hypothesis was confirmed, to a point. Opinion convergence was most frequent among Attracted pairs; however, opinion convergence was greatest among Neutral pairs. Opinion convergence was qualitatively different in the 3 conditions. This research adds to previous studies which highlighted aspects of communication unique to online environments (anonymity, invisibility) to explain the heightened tendency for face-threatening behaviours to occur online, by showing how implicit biases (operationalized here as facial attractiveness) can be an additional factor influencing online behaviour. Keywords: facial attractiveness, anonymity, opinion convergence, implicit bias