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A Social Cognitive Explanation of Internet Uses and Gratifications: Toward a New Theory of Media Attendance
Unformatted Document Text:  media Uses and gratifications research (e.g. interpersonal communication, Papacharissi & Rubin, 2000; problem solving, persuading others, relationship maintenance, status seeking, and personal insight for Flanagin & Metzger, 2001) or previously unexplored (e.g. Song et al.’s virtual community gratification, Charney & Greenberg’s coolness, sights and sounds, career, and peer identity factors). Others have innovated with conceptual and operational definitions of gratifications, creating what might be called prospective, or expected, gratifications. These ask respondents to indicate the gratifications that they expect from the Internet in the future as opposed to those that they desire or have obtained in the past. This is a departure from the gratifications sought/gratifications obtained (GS/GO) formulation that has long guided Uses and gratifications (Palmgreen et al., 1985). Studies that have employed prospective measures (e.g., Lin, 1999; Charney & Greenberg, 2001; LaRose, Mastro & Eastin, 2001) have doubled and or tripled the amount of variance explained in Internet attendance behavior compared to conventional approaches. A Social Cognitive Perspective of Uses and gratifications Prospective gratification measures are consistent with a social cognitive view of media attendance derived from Bandura’s (1986, 1989) Social Cognitive Theory (SCT). In SCT, the expected outcomes of a behavior are important determinants of its performance. LaRose et al. (2001) found that expected outcomes produced superior predictions of Internet attendance compared to conventional Uses and gratifications research. They argued that expected outcomes (e.g. “when using the Internet it is likely that I will have fun”) improve upon the explanatory power of both gratifications sought and gratifications obtained.

Authors: Eastin, Matthew. and Larose, Robert.
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media Uses and gratifications research (e.g. interpersonal communication, Papacharissi &
Rubin, 2000; problem solving, persuading others, relationship maintenance, status
seeking, and personal insight for Flanagin & Metzger, 2001) or previously unexplored
(e.g. Song et al.’s virtual community gratification, Charney & Greenberg’s coolness,
sights and sounds, career, and peer identity factors).
Others have innovated with conceptual and operational definitions of
gratifications, creating what might be called prospective, or expected, gratifications.
These ask respondents to indicate the gratifications that they expect from the Internet in
the future as opposed to those that they desire or have obtained in the past. This is a
departure from the gratifications sought/gratifications obtained (GS/GO) formulation that
has long guided Uses and gratifications (Palmgreen et al., 1985). Studies that have
employed prospective measures (e.g., Lin, 1999; Charney & Greenberg, 2001; LaRose,
Mastro & Eastin, 2001) have doubled and or tripled the amount of variance explained in
Internet attendance behavior compared to conventional approaches.
A Social Cognitive Perspective of Uses and gratifications
Prospective gratification measures are consistent with a social cognitive view of
media attendance derived from Bandura’s (1986, 1989) Social Cognitive Theory (SCT).
In SCT, the expected outcomes of a behavior are important determinants of its
performance. LaRose et al. (2001) found that expected outcomes produced superior
predictions of Internet attendance compared to conventional Uses and gratifications
research. They argued that expected outcomes (e.g. “when using the Internet it is likely
that I will have fun”) improve upon the explanatory power of both gratifications sought
and gratifications obtained.


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