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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:  5 lead to higher ratings of credibility. Several dimensions of interactivity are offered in such research, including "participation," "mediation," "contingency," "media and information richness," "geographic propinquity," "synchronicity," "identification," "parallelism," and "anthropomorphism" (Burgoon, Bonito, Bengtsson, Ramirez, Dunbar, and Miczo, 2000). In total, previous research submits that the availability of more modalities does not necessarily lead to greater judgments of credibility, which will be considered below in more detail. Participation Whereas most interactivity discussions concentrate on it as a media variable, it has also been defined as a psychological variable that varies across users (Newhagen, 1997; Kiousis, 2002; Wu, 1999). Indeed, the balance between user and media characteristics is paramount to conceptual and operational discussions of interactivity. For example, in the case of multimedia content on the Web, it is imperative to distinguish between the availability of interactive materials and the degree to which people use them. That is, simply adding pictures, animation, sound, video, etc. may enhance online communication to some extent, but the impact of multimedia content should be strongest when people actively use the content available (e.g., clicking on pictures on a Web page rather than simply viewing them). In fact, some research has shown that the too much multimedia content can actually diminish the usability of Web sites by overwhelming individuals (Rajani & Rosenberg, 1999). Thus, distinguishing between people who actually use multimedia content in Web site communication and those who do not is pertinent to mapping out the influence of online news on people’s judgments.

Authors: Kiousis, Spiro.
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5
lead to higher ratings of credibility. Several dimensions of interactivity are offered in
such research, including "participation," "mediation," "contingency," "media and
information richness," "geographic propinquity," "synchronicity," "identification,"
"parallelism," and "anthropomorphism" (Burgoon, Bonito, Bengtsson, Ramirez, Dunbar,
and Miczo, 2000). In total, previous research submits that the availability of more
modalities does not necessarily lead to greater judgments of credibility, which will be
considered below in more detail.
Participation
Whereas most interactivity discussions concentrate on it as a media variable, it has also
been defined as a psychological variable that varies across users (Newhagen, 1997;
Kiousis, 2002; Wu, 1999). Indeed, the balance between user and media characteristics is
paramount to conceptual and operational discussions of interactivity. For example, in the
case of multimedia content on the Web, it is imperative to distinguish between the
availability of interactive materials and the degree to which people use them. That is,
simply adding pictures, animation, sound, video, etc. may enhance online communication
to some extent, but the impact of multimedia content should be strongest when people
actively use the content available (e.g., clicking on pictures on a Web page rather than
simply viewing them). In fact, some research has shown that the too much multimedia
content can actually diminish the usability of Web sites by overwhelming individuals
(Rajani & Rosenberg, 1999). Thus, distinguishing between people who actually use
multimedia content in Web site communication and those who do not is pertinent to
mapping out the influence of online news on people’s judgments.


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