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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:  4 element in the concept’s definition, though it is critical to acknowledge that other definitions stress different features of the construct. Given the multimodal emphasis of interactivity in many areas of communication research, a natural question that emerges is what are the ramifications of this multimodality? In educational contexts, a series of empirical studies has demonstrated that multimedia formats are more effective for learning than single media formats (e.g., Mayer, 2001; Najjar, 1996; Bagui, 1998; Shi & Alessi, 1996). Nonetheless, this pattern is not universal. In a study of Web site content, Mayer (2002) found that increased modality led to greater memory among readers of online news. When looking at perceptions of credibility and quality, Edgar (2002) found that text and pictures were perceived more positively than text only, but text only was perceived more positively than content containing audio and video. Therefore, content type may influence the impact of modality on people’s perceptions of online information. In short, investigations of different content types are needed to better enhance our knowledge of how people process online information in terms of credibility. Though few inquiries have probed the impact of interactivity on the credibility of online news, many investigations of decision making in computer-mediated communication have examined the influence of interactivity on perceived credibility — usually as it relates to other participants (sometimes human & sometimes computer). Bengtsson et al. (1999), in an inquiry of face-to-face (FTF) vs. computer-mediated communication, discovered that text-only CMC interactions (low in interactivity in that study) prompted higher ratings of credibility for partners in decision-making tasks than conditions with text, voice, and images. Thus, higher interactivity does not necessarily

Authors: Kiousis, Spiro.
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4
element in the concept’s definition, though it is critical to acknowledge that other
definitions stress different features of the construct.
Given the multimodal emphasis of interactivity in many areas of communication
research, a natural question that emerges is what are the ramifications of this
multimodality? In educational contexts, a series of empirical studies has demonstrated
that multimedia formats are more effective for learning than single media formats (e.g.,
Mayer, 2001; Najjar, 1996; Bagui, 1998; Shi & Alessi, 1996). Nonetheless, this pattern
is not universal. In a study of Web site content, Mayer (2002) found that increased
modality led to greater memory among readers of online news. When looking at
perceptions of credibility and quality, Edgar (2002) found that text and pictures were
perceived more positively than text only, but text only was perceived more positively
than content containing audio and video. Therefore, content type may influence the
impact of modality on people’s perceptions of online information. In short, investigations
of different content types are needed to better enhance our knowledge of how people
process online information in terms of credibility.
Though few inquiries have probed the impact of interactivity on the credibility of
online news, many investigations of decision making in computer-mediated
communication have examined the influence of interactivity on perceived credibility —
usually as it relates to other participants (sometimes human & sometimes computer).
Bengtsson et al. (1999), in an inquiry of face-to-face (FTF) vs. computer-mediated
communication, discovered that text-only CMC interactions (low in interactivity in that
study) prompted higher ratings of credibility for partners in decision-making tasks than
conditions with text, voice, and images. Thus, higher interactivity does not necessarily


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