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Equal Trust: An Experiment Exploring the Impact of Interactivity and Sources on Individuals' Perceptions of Credibility for Online News Stories
Unformatted Document Text:  11 and Nass (2001) and Meyer (1988) both propose that bias and accuracy are key dimensions. Further, Bengtsson et al. (1999) and Gaziano and McGrath (1986) agree that trustworthiness is a primary indicator. Because this investigation studied the credibility of news, we principally drew on studies scrutinizing news credibility in creating our scales, which is discussed later in the Methods Section. Hypotheses & Research Questions In summary, prior research has hinted that increased interactivity in the form of multimedia content has significant ramifications in terms of how people process messages in computer-mediated communication (e.g., Rajani & Rosenberg, 1999). In some cases, more multimedia content has translated in higher perceptions of credibility, but in others it has not (e.g., Bengtsson et al., 1999). Part of the reason for this discrepancy may be because the extent to which people actively use multimedia content has not been accounted for. Consequently, the following research question and hypothesis are offered: RQ1: Will subjects exposed to online news stories high in interactive content (i.e., text, pictures, & video) rate the stories and sources within the stories as more credible than those in the moderate (text & pictures) and low interactive content (text only) conditions? H1: It is predicted that subjects who actively use interactive content will rate the online stories and sources within the stories as more credible than those who do not. Little research has ascertained whether identified sources are perceived more positively than unidentified sources in terms of credibility. Nonetheless, some research has demonstrated that familiarity with sources enhances trust (Bailey et al., 2001). While the presence of an identified source by no means equals familiarity, it is the first step to

Authors: Kiousis, Spiro.
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11
and Nass (2001) and Meyer (1988) both propose that bias and accuracy are key
dimensions. Further, Bengtsson et al. (1999) and Gaziano and McGrath (1986) agree that
trustworthiness is a primary indicator. Because this investigation studied the credibility
of news, we principally drew on studies scrutinizing news credibility in creating our
scales, which is discussed later in the Methods Section.
Hypotheses & Research Questions
In summary, prior research has hinted that increased interactivity in the form of
multimedia content has significant ramifications in terms of how people process
messages in computer-mediated communication (e.g., Rajani & Rosenberg, 1999). In
some cases, more multimedia content has translated in higher perceptions of credibility,
but in others it has not (e.g., Bengtsson et al., 1999). Part of the reason for this
discrepancy may be because the extent to which people actively use multimedia content
has not been accounted for. Consequently, the following research question and
hypothesis are offered:
RQ1: Will subjects exposed to online news stories high in interactive content (i.e., text,
pictures, & video) rate the stories and sources within the stories as more credible than
those in the moderate (text & pictures) and low interactive content (text only) conditions?
H1: It is predicted that subjects who actively use interactive content will rate the online
stories and sources within the stories as more credible than those who do not.
Little research has ascertained whether identified sources are perceived more
positively than unidentified sources in terms of credibility. Nonetheless, some research
has demonstrated that familiarity with sources enhances trust (Bailey et al., 2001). While
the presence of an identified source by no means equals familiarity, it is the first step to


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