Title: Diving or drowning?
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Title: Diving or drowning? immersive images and their effects on the participant's experience
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Rollet, Edouard, 1975-
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla
Publication Date: 2001
Copyright Date: 2001
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Subject: Journalism and Communications thesis, M.A.M.C   ( lcsh )
Dissertations, Academic -- Journalism and Communications -- UF   ( lcsh )
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
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Summary: ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study is to provide an overview of a sports-related, image-based immersive experience, as compared with the traditional viewing of sports pictures and videos. This investigation was conducted based on data collected though pretest and posttest measures, as well as computer monitoring, in a 2x2 factor design experiment, with interactivity and motion as the main factors. Exposure to, or interaction with, the four ensuing stimuli (interactive pictures, interactive videos, videos, and pictures) constituted the core of the experimental treatment. Borrowing from Steuer's approach to virtual reality, interactivity was conceptualized as the malleability of the medium's form and content. This study provides the theoretical and empirical rationale supporting the idea that the interactive technology used in this study, whether still or animated, is indeed immersive. Feeling of telepresence, or feeling of "being there," was substantially increased for participants who were in either of the two interactive settings. However, beyond the immersive quality of the experience, the main question of this study, metaphorically formulated as two possible alternatives --diving or drowning-- revolves around investigating how the participants perceived, and reacted to, this immersive experience. Did the participants feel overwhelmed by such an experience? Were they affected cognitively or emotionally by such conditions? If so, did these changes hinder or improve the mediated experience?
Summary: ABSTRACT (cont.): Although the findings of the present study suggest that that interactivity had no effects, positive or negative, on the cognitive process, it seems that the immersive images made the experience more arousing, increased the participants' feeling of being in control, and probably induced a more positive evaluation of the content in terms of perceived interest. The principal proposition of the study is that the interactive feature, typical of immersive images, may allow the participants to better achieve their goals, which are operationalized using a uses and gratifications approach. Although in immersive conditions arousal increased as the participants' motivation for excitement increased, such proposition was not supported for the other three motivations --cognition, diversion, and parasocial interaction.
Summary: KEYWORDS: sports, immersive images, uses and gratifications, telepresence, media, cognition, emotions, interactivity, mass communication, media, adsam, virtual reality
Thesis: Thesis (M.A.M.C.)--University of Florida, 2001.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references (p. 177-187).
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System Details: Mode of access: World Wide Web.
General Note: Title from first page of PDF file.
General Note: Document formatted into pages; contains xiii, 188 p.; also contains graphics; RealAudio file, iPIX file, HTML documents linked to PDF file.
General Note: Vita.
Statement of Responsibility: by Edouard Rollet.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00100861
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 48515001
alephbibnum - 002763556
notis - ANP1578

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DIVING OR DROWNING?
IMMERSIVE IMAGES AND THEIR EFFECTS
ON THE PARTICIPANT'S EXPERIENCE


















By

EDOUARD ROLLET


A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF ARTS IN MASS COMMUNICATION

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


2001




























Copyright 2001

by

Edouard Rollet















ACKNOWLEDGMENTS


It is with great pleasure that I take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the

numerous persons who have helped me bring this project to an end.

My sincere appreciation and respect first go to my committee members, whom I

thank for their patience and guidance throughout this study. Dr. Wayne Wanta mentored

my perspective on theory and my first steps in academic research. His appeasing words

helped me compose myself in some stressful times. Dr. Michael Weigold's assistance in

the experimental setting and statistical analysis was essential. I thank him for sharing his

expertise in such a clear and understandable way. I owe to Pr. Melinda McAdams the

substance and presentation of this study. She helped me build its foundations and put a

great deal of energy into helping me improve the clarity of my thoughts and writing. I

also want to thank Dr. Michael Leslie and Dr. Kurt Kent for putting me on track and

finding the words I needed at the right time.

Many persons participated in or supported the project and every one of them was

an indispensable link in the chain. IPIX Corporation's partnership was vital. I especially

want to thank Andrew Mutz, Senior VP of Engineering and Technology, Stuart

Roberson, Senior VP of Marketing, and Bernie Mitchell, Director of iPIX Movies, for

their trust and their support for this study through the lending of the video production

material. The technical assistance of Randall Jacobs, Product Manager of iPIX Movies,









was of great help for me. I am indebted to David Carlson who made me discover and

understand the immersive technology and who shared his most precious resources, the

Interactive Media Lab, as well as his own desktop and computer. I also want to thank

Mary Howard, Assistant Director at University Athletic Association, and Doug

DeMichele, Associate Director of Recreational Sports, for facilitating access to the fields

and courts. John Hatcher and Jason Lam were the key persons in the production and

editing of the immersive videos; I will never be able to thank them enough. Their skills

and expertise in video production are amazing. I thank Dr. James Babanikos for helping

me meet such great persons.

I am also grateful to Dr. Jon Morris for his help with the implementation and

analysis of the AdSAM measures, Arlindo Albuquerque for his dedication and

availability as soon as a server issue emerged, and Dr. Michael Prietula and Pamela Karr

for their input on HCI. Matt May introduced me to the world of sports photography and

helped me put my marks on the field. My fellow European neighbor Antoni Castells i

Talens was quick to understand the coding of the recall questions, his thoroughness

played a large part in the intercoder reliability! I also want to thank Jody Hedge for her

patience and enlightenment on the Graduate School's administrative process. UF has

been a great experience for me, and every instructor I had here made this graduate

experience truly immersive.

Finally, and most importantly, I am filled with gratitude to my parents and my

brother and sister for their unconditional spiritual, moral, and material support.

Throughout the years, and although thousands of miles away, I have been moved by

their, well... telepresence.
















TABLE OF CONTENTS

page

A C K N O W L E D G M E N T S ................................................................................................. iii

LIST OF TABLES ....................................................... ............ ....... ....... ix

LIST OF FIGURES ......... ......................... ...... ........ ............ xi

ABSTRACT ........... ......... .......................................xii

CHAPTERS

1 IN TR OD U CTION .............................................. .. ....... .... .............. .

N eed for R research .................. ................... ................... .......... .... ...... ........ .. 2
R research P rob lem .............................................. ........................... 6
Scope of the Study ................. ............................................ ........ 8

2 THEORETICAL FOUNDATION S........................................................... ............... 10

Literature R review ................................................... .. .... .. .. .. ........ .. 10
Interactivity D defined ................................................. ...... .. .. .......... 10
The issue of defining interactivity .............. ...... ........................ ........... 10
D definitions of interactivity ............................................................... ................... 11
Consensual definition of interactivity ................................................................ 15
Interactivity and Communication Models ......................................................... 17
A n active audience .................................................... ........ .......... 17
A new com m unication m odel ........................................ ......................... 18
N ew m eth o d s ........................................................................ 19
U ses and G ratifications .......... .............................. ........ ..... .... .. .......... .. 21
Theory overview .................. .................................. ..... .. . .. ....... 21
Uses and gratifications and interactivity................................. ............. ......... 24
F am iliarity .............. .. .... ..................... ........................... 26
U ses and gratifications and sports............................................... .... .. .............. 28
Critiques of uses and gratifications...... ..................... .............. 29
V irtual R reality ............................. .............. ...... 3 1
T h e o ry ............. ..... ............ ................. .................................................. 3 1
Telepresence ........................................ ......... 33
D im tensions of virtual reality ........................................ 35
Immersive images .............. .......... ......... ........... ........ 38


v









M edia Effects ..................4................................. 42
Uses and gratifications and effects ....................................................... 42
Entertainm ent and effects ....................... ............................... ............ .............. 43
Sports program m ing ........................................................ ............. ...... ...... 45
M edia form s and effects....................................................... ........... .............. 46
C ignition ............................. .................... 49
E m o tio n s ................................................................... 5 7
M odel ............. ............................................ ....... ........ ........ 62
Propositions....................... ............... ..... ............. 63
Cognition....................................... 63
Familiarity and Dominance........................................................ 64
A ro u sa l ............. ................. ................. ................................................... 6 4
Pleasure ......... ................................... ......... 65
Im m ersio n ........................................................... ........ ...... 6 5
Telepresence ........................ ................ ......... 65
Telepresence and sensory evaluation................. ....................................... ...... 65
Telepresence and uses and gratifications .................................................... ..... 65
Theoretical Assumptions ............. ............................................... 66

3 M E T H O D O L O G Y ................................................................................................... 6 8

D e sig n ............. ..... ............ ................. ....................................................... 6 8
P ro c e ss .............................................................................. 6 8
T ra in in g ............... ................................................................................ . . ........... ..... 6 9
Facilities....................... ............... ...... .............. 70
P retest.............................. .............. ...... 7 0
P articip ants ........... .... .............. .................................... ........................... 7 1
R recruiting ............................. .................... 72
Randomization ............... ......... ...................... 72
Stimuli ......... ......... ....... ................. .............. 73
D description ............................ .................... 73
P reduction ............... ................................... ........................... 74
V ariables for A nalysis............................. .............. 76
Independent Variables .. ... ........ ................... .............. 76
Dependent Variables ...... .................... ........... ........ 77
M easurem ent............................. .................... 78
Questionnaires..................... ........ 78
Pretest questionnaires................... .... ......... 78
P osttest qu estionnaires ....................................................................... 80
Uses and gratifications measures .............................................. .................. 81
A d S A M ..................................................................................................... 8 3
Intercoder Agreement .......................................... 86
C om puter M monitoring .. .......... ...................................... ........................... 87
Timelt..................................... ...... .............. 87
K ey M eter ........................................................................................... . 8 7
S statistical A n aly sis ....................................................................................... 8 8
D design V validity .................................................................. .... ............................ 88


vi










H y p o th e se s ................................ ......... .. .............................................. 9 0
Cognition....................................... 90
E m o tio n s ................................................................... 9 0
Dominance .............. .............. ..........................90
A ro u sa l ............. ......... .. .............. .. ...................................................... 9 1
P le a su re ............. ......... .. .............. .. ..................................................... 9 1
Im m version .................................... .................. ................. .............. 91
Perception of presence / Telepresence ............... .......................... 91
Sensory evaluation / Intensity of response ................................................ 92
Exploratory Hypothesis: Interest in Content .................................... .................. 92
M ethodological Assum options ........................................ 92
N ew M edia............................. ............. ...... 92
Design ......... ................................................. 94
Participants ............................. .............. 97
S tim u li .......................................................................................................... 9 8
Instrum ents .............................. .............. 99
S elf rep ort .................................................................................. .............. 9 9
A d S A M .................................................................................................... 1 0 0

4 FINDINGS ................................................................. ..........101

Descriptive Analysis ................................................................... ... ........ 101
Sample Characteristics................................. 101
D em graphics ......................................... 101
F am iliarity ............................ .............. ..... 102
Mouse activity........................................................ 104
Length of Exposure........................................... .............. 105
Sample Scores on the Independent Variables......................................................... 106
R e c a ll ........................................................................................ . 1 0 6
Em options ......................................... 108
Immersion ............................................................. 110
Interest and perceived knowledge .................................................... ......... 112
T ests of H y p oth eses ............................................. ........................ ..................... 114
C o g n itio n ............................................................................................ 1 14
E m o tio n s ........................................................... ........ ...... 1 15
D o m in a n c e ................................................................. ................................. 1 1 5
A ro u sa l ..................................................................................................... 1 1 7
P pleasure ............................................................................................. ........ 118
Im m ersio n ................................................................... 1 19
Telepresence ......................................... 119
S en sory ev alu action ....................................................................... 12 1
In te re st............... ................................................................................ . . .......... ..... 12 2


5 DISCUSSION ........................................................................123

Immersive Images and Telepresence ............................................................... 124


vii









Im m version ..................................................... 124
Telepresence and Vividness................................................ 125
The evaluation index.............................. ......... 126
Variations in vividness across stimuli....................... ....... .............. 127
Telepresence and Familiarity with Sports.............................. 129
Telepresence and parasocial interaction ....................................... .............. 130
Telepresence and Familiarity with Interactivity .............................................. 134
Im m ersive Im ages and C ognition ........................................................................ ... 136
Im m ersive Im ages and R ecall ........................................................................ ... 136
Familiarity with Sports and Recall .............. ...... ....................................... 139
Immersive Images and Emotions............................... .............. 140
D om finance ............... .. ..... ........................... ... .... ......... 140
Familiarity with interactivity and dominance................................. ............... 140
Immersive im ages and dominance........................... .......................... ..... 143
A ro u sa l .............................. .................................................... 14 5
Im m ersive im ages and arousal .................................................. ........ ...... 145
M option and arousal .. ............. ..... .... ..... .... .... ...... .......... ............ ................. 146
M otivation for excitem ent and arousal ..................................... .............. 148
P pleasure ............... ... ................................................................... .............. 149
Immersive images and pleasure ................. .................................. 149
M option and pleasure ............................. .............................. ....... ..... ................ 151
Interest ..................................................................... ... ... ....................................... 152
Uses and Gratifications and Effects.................... .. ................. .............. 153

6 C ON CLU SION ................... ................... ................... .. .. ....... 155

S u m m a ry ........................................................................................................... 1 5 5
Theoretical Im plications .................................................. ............................... 156
Practical Implications..................................................... 159
Limitations and Suggestions for Future Research .............................................. 161

APPENDICES

A PRESTEST QUESTIONNAIRE ....................................................163

B POSTTEST QUESTIONN AIRE ........................................... .....................169

C SCREENSHOTS SELECTION: IMMERSIVE PICTURES TREATMENT ............175

L IST O F R E F E R E N C E S ......... .. ............... ............... .............................................. 177

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ......... ...... ................. ............... 188
















LIST OF TABLES


Table Page

4.1: Average Mouse Activity in the Picture and Video Settings ................ ................105

4.2: Variations in Emotions Between Pretest and Posttest for the Interactivity and for the
M option F actors .................................................................................. 106

4.3: Variations in Emotions Between Pretest and Posttest for Both the Interactivity and
the M otion Factors (Interaction) .......................... ..................... ............. .. 107

4.4: Overall Variations in Emotions Between Pretest and Posttest ............ ... ................. 108

4.5: Variations in Emotions Between Pretest and Posttest for the Interactivity and for the
M option Factors ................................................................ ... ......... 109

4.6: Variations in Emotions Between Pretest and Posttest for Both the Interactivity and
the M otion factors (Interaction)...... .............................. ......... ...................... 109

4.7: Means for Telepresence and Intensity of Evaluation for the Interactivity and the
M option Factors ................................................................ ... ......... 112

4.8: Means for Telepresence and Intensity of Evaluation for Both the Interactivity and the
M otion Factors (Interaction) ......... ............................................ ....... ........ 112

4.9: Means for Interest in the Games and Perceived Knowledge for the Interactivity and
for the M otion F actors ............................ ....................................................... 113

4.10: Means for Interest in the Games and Perceived Knowledge for Both the
Interactivity and the M otion Factors (Interaction)............................................113

4.11: ANOVA Table for Recall Score ..................................................... ..................115

4.12: Recall Means for the Interactivity and the Cognition Orientation Factors, Control
for M option ...................................... ................................ .......... 115

4.13: ANOVA Table for Variation in Dominance ............... .....................................116

4.14: Means of the Variations in Dominance for the Interactivity and the Familiarity with
Interactivity Factors .................. .............................. .. ...... .. ........ .. 117









4.15: Linear Regression Coefficients for the Dependent Variable Telepresence in
Interactive and Non-interactive Settings. Control for Motion.............................121

4.16: Means for Perceived Interest of the Games in the Interactive and the Non-
interactive Groups..................... ............... ............. 122

5.1: Linear Regression Coefficients for the Dependent Variable Telepresence. Control for
Interactivity. (Reversed Telepresence Scale) ............................................... 130

5.2: ANOVA Scores for the Dependent Variable Telepresence. ........................................131

5.3: Bivariate Correlations Among Importance of Sports, Familiarity with Sports, and
R ecall S cores............................................................................... ............... 14 0

5.4: Estimated Marginal Means for Interactivity. Dependent Variable: Variation in
D om finance ............................................................... ... ... ......... 143

5.5: Estimated Marginal Means for Interactivity. Dependent Variable: Variation in
A rousal ................................... ........................... ... ...... ........ 145

5.6: Estimated Marginal Means for Motion. Dependent Variable: Variation in Arousal .....148
















LIST OF FIGURES



Figure Page

3-1: Sam ............................................................................84

4. 1: Perceptual M ap ........................................................................................ ......111

4.2: Means for Variation in Dominance ........................................................................117

5.1: Mean Scores for Telepresence. Interactive Setting. ...............................................133

5.2: Mean Scores for Telepresence. Non-interactive Setting. .............................................133
















Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts in Mass Communication

DIVING OR DROWNING?
IMMERSIVE IMAGES AND THEIR EFFECTS
ON THE PARTICIPANT' S EXPERIENCE

By

Edouard Rollet

August 2001


Chairman: Wayne Wanta
Major Department: Journalism and Communications

The purpose of this study is to provide an overview of a sports-related, image-

based immersive experience, as compared with the traditional viewing of sports pictures

and videos. This investigation was conducted based on data collected though pretest and

posttest measures, as well as computer monitoring, in a 2x2 factor design experiment,

with interactivity and motion as the main factors. Exposure to, or interaction with, the

four ensuing stimuli (interactive pictures, interactive videos, videos, and pictures)

constituted the core of the experimental treatment. Borrowing from Steuer's approach to

virtual reality, interactivity was conceptualized as the malleability of the medium's form

and content.

This study provides the theoretical and empirical rationale supporting the idea that

the interactive technology used in this study, whether still or animated, is indeed









immersive. Feeling of telepresence, or feeling of "being there," was substantially

increased for participants who were in either of the two interactive settings.

However, beyond the immersive quality of the experience, the main question of

this study, metaphorically formulated as two possible alternatives -diving or drowning-

revolves around investigating how the participants perceived, and reacted to, this

immersive experience. Did the participants feel overwhelmed by such an experience?

Were they affected cognitively or emotionally by such conditions? If so, did these

changes hinder or improve the mediated experience?

Although the findings of the present study suggest that that interactivity had no

effects, positive or negative, on the cognitive process, it seems that the immersive images

made the experience more arousing, increased the participants' feeling of being in

control, and probably induced a more positive evaluation of the content in terms of

perceived interest.

The principal proposition of the study is that the interactive feature, typical of

immersive images, may allow the participants to better achieve their goals, which are

operationalized using a uses and gratifications approach. Although in immersive

conditions arousal increased as the participants' motivation for excitement increased,

such proposition was not supported for the other three motivations -cognition, diversion,

and parasocial interaction.














CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION




In the last three decades, the advent and development of interactivity has played

an essential role in the evolution of media channels and content. From video games, to

virtual reality, to Web buttons, interactivity has transformed the media landscape and is

becoming a major component of future media production and use. Visuals, graphics and

images play a fundamental part in this interactive environment because interactivity most

often relies on visual stimuli to provoke a reaction from an active audience. In other

words, visuals serve as a metaphoric revolving door between the source and the receiver.

However, recent developments in new media technology have attempted to go beyond a

bi-dimensional approach to visuals by simulating, by means of various technologies, a

three dimensional presentation of visuals that puts the viewer in what is referred to as an

immersive environment. From being virtual, flat revolving doors, visuals are moving to

show off virtual rooms and surroundings. For Reeves and Nass (1996), "the screen is

where the action is." We will go even further in this study and see whether the action can

be i i/hin the screen, rather than on the screen.

This study aims at understanding the effects of the combination of interactivity

and visuals on the viewers' experience in immersive environments. More specifically, the

experiment developed in this study is used to investigate the effects that interactions with

videos and still pictures have on the emotions and cognitive processing of the









participants. In other words, this study seeks to answer the fundamental question of

whether videos and pictures are better enjoyed and more appropriate to convey

information when their viewing is a passive activity or when they allow the user to

interact with their content. Metaphorically, this question can be thought as the

interrogation on whether a participants plunged in an immersive environment ends up

diving in an exciting, arousing, and explorative world, or whether he or she drowns,

overwhelmed by a confusing surrounding in which he or she loses control and points of

reference. Sports provide the common environment for the four different settings of this

2x2 experiment: exposure to video, exposure to photos, exposure to interactive video, and

exposure to interactive photos.





Need for Research



Interestingly, little scholarly research has been undertaken on either visual

communication or interactivity from a mass communications perspective. The present

study attempts to fill this void and to establish a theoretical link between both concepts.

From a theoretical standpoint, this study is important for several reasons. First, it

sheds light on the concept of telepresence, which indicates that today's visual materials,

such as virtual reality and television news stories, tend to simulate reality so that the

audience tends to forget that the experience is mediated (Grabe et al., 1999).









Second, interactivity is often cited as a distinctive characteristic of new media.1

Research on specific aspects, or definitions of interactivity, then, is likely to increase

knowledge and understanding of the emerging and rapidly developing new media.

Third, there is a clear lack of research on the links that may exist between uses

and gratifications and the effects of media on the individuals' experience in terms of

cognition and emotion. More specifically, it has been shown that the perception and

handling of media messages (e.g. recall) can be significantly influenced by the users'

motivations, depending on what gratifications (e.g. increased knowledge) he or she seeks

through media exposure. This study may help to better understand such process. This

approach is also an attempt to advocate for closer ties between the fields of psychology

and mass communication.

In addition, studies on mass media effects have traditionally relied on the one-

way, sender-receiver model of communication. By integrating the notion of interactivity

and active audience, this study seeks to expand the knowledge of mass media effects.

More specifically, this study places the notion of active audience, operationalized through

the integration of a uses and gratifications approach, as a core variable in mass media

effects. In other word, this study investigates the theoretical bridges that exist among

mass media effects, audience activity, uses and gratifications, telepresence, and

interactivity.

This approach has strong methodological implications and manifests a desire to

rely on previous research and theories to find new methods and perspectives that are

adapted to the study of new media. Indeed, in view of the limited potential of traditional


1 See for instance Williams et al. (1988).









methods for understanding new media, many scholars have argued for the finding of new

methods that are suitable to the study of new media. In the context of the present study,

such an attempt seeks to answer, or at least brings some elements of answers, to

Vorderer's interrogations:

Are researchers capable of explaining interactive entertainment? Are new
hypotheses, theories, and models needed to first conceptualize what
interactive media use is? Is it necessary to describe and explain why some
forms of interactive exposures are considered to be enjoyable but not
others? Is it necessary to answer the question of why some users enjoy
interacting with the media while others strive to avoid doing so? (2000:
23)

From a more practical perspective, such an investigation presents important

insights for both the entertainment and the news media industries, which make extensive

use of the combination of these two communication tools. Online news services are

transforming the way information is presented by shifting their story-telling techniques

from a linear structure to one that is interactive and better fitted to the audience's

particular interests, and by relying on new techniques to present clearly and appealingly

the news in an increasingly competitive market. As visuals are an important part of news

presentation, online news services strive to incorporate them into their product. However,

online news producers are still unaware of how to maximize visual use (Davis, 2000).

While visuals, and especially moving images, remain a limited feature of the Internet due

to the still insufficient bandwidth and memory available, the advent of broadband

technology and other improvements in computer technology promises to present a major

challenge for the development of original visual content. The question of the interactive

visual, then, will certainly become crucial in the future of new media applications.

Moreover, educational media are now relying heavily on interactive materials

(e.g. CD-ROMs teaching children how to count). This study, then, could provide insights









into the effects of such materials on memory, recall, and enjoyment. Similarly, as the

Web and Digital Versatile Disc (DVD) grow exponentially while interactive television is

at its early stage, this study may find numerous applications in mass communications,

from advertising, to movie production, to political communication.

In addition, the issue of the combination of interactivity and visuals is at the core

of the current HDTV dilemma. Indeed, broadcasters have to choose among High

Definition Television (HDTV), Standard Definition Television (SDTV), and data stream

in the allocation of their bandwidth. For instance, they can simultaneously broadcast, in

addition to data stream, one of two things: (1) Two, high-resolution television programs,

or (2) four to six standard definition programs. The latter would allow for multicasting -

or multiplexing- and thus, add interactivity to the program (e.g. change camera or camera

angle). The former would increase image's quality, therefore enhancing what could be

qualified as passive television viewing. Hence, it could be argued that the HDTV

dilemma comes down to a choice between allowing active, interactive experience on one

hand, and increased passive viewing relying on high-quality images on the other hand.

This critical issue has tremendous business and content-related consequences, and is

tightly related to the combination of visuals and interactivity in media content. In this

context, although this study will not survey all the possible options available to HDTV

(e.g. data stream and e-commerce) it could point to new directions for the development of

HDTV programs.

Finally, and most importantly, it is often assumed, among industry professionals

in particular, that individuals long for interactivity. However, non-academic research has

found competing results for such assertion. As Williams (2001) recounts in a recent









newsletter of The Standard, a study from the Cable and Television Association for

Marketing found that seventy-nine percent of digital cable subscribers reported being

interested in interactive TV services. As tThese findings openly contradict a Cyber

Dialogue study, which reports that "about 70 percent of adults aren't interested in any

kind of tube-based interactivity" (Williams, 2001). The lack of thorough rationales and

evidence supporting the assumption that consumers want interactivity has led to dramatic

failure of large-scale, expensive projects, such as Time Warner's Full Service Network

three-year drama in Orlando, and Bell Atlantic's Tele-TV.





Research Problem



As Vorderer explains, "It is indeed often expected that the audience will accept

and even seek out new forms of media use if they can receive entertainment in the

process" (2000: 22). According to Vorderer, supporters of interactivity argue for

increased interactive features in media systems based on the facts that interactivity

empowers the user and that users tend to favor content that fits their personal interests,

needs, and desires2 -a process in which interactivity plays a crucial part.

On the other hand, it has been recurrently found throughout research that

watching TV is often qualified as relaxation and is often associated with other activities

(Hallenberger, 1995). To convey the passive role of individuals in front of TV screens,

scholars have nicknamed television viewers "couch potatoes" and qualified television


2 See for instance the success of cable television and the trend toward increased
fragmentation of the audience.









viewing as "the modern form of idleness" (Vorderer, 1992). Interactivity, which implies

users' active role, would therefore not seem suitable for the TV audience, who "do not

want to be mentally challenged" (Vorderer, 1995).

This ambiguity over the need for interactivity has led Vorderer to wonder:

Does the audience desire interactivity at all? What do TV viewers gain and
what do they lose when television goes interactive? Is the interactive user
of video games or the Internet entertained, and are the experiences thereby
made worthwhile or simply gratifying? Does interactivity overwhelm
those who in the past have become accustomed to being passive in front of
a screen or a mediated text? (2000: 23)

The present study goes beyond the sole notions of interest and pleasure that

interactivity might triggers. It explores the effects of interactivity on immersion,

cognition, and emotions. By focusing on these three fundamental components of the

individuals' experience, this study takes on a more in-depth perspective on the nature of

the interactive experience than a mere study of interest and preference. The following

questions constitute the core of this study's research problem:

-Is interactivity purposive? That is, does it contribute to make the users better

satisfy their needs? For instance, does a user who wants to be entertained by

watching sports get more entertainment thanks to interactivity in general, and the

increased control over the experience that interactivity offers in particular? Or

does a user who watches games to fulfill information-related needs increase his

or her information gain by using interactivity?

-Does interactivity facilitate cognitive process?

What are the effects of interactivity on emotions?

-Does familiarity with interactivity affect emotions in the interactive experience?

Is the interactive experience more pleasant?









Does interactivity trigger interest in the content?

-Finally, do immersive images really mean immersive experience? Do they

actually increase the feeling of "being there" and the intensity of response?







Scope of the Study



The study uses the recently developed IPIX technology to investigate the effects

of interaction on the participant's experience. This technology captures pictures and

videos in a 3600 x 3600 field of view and allows the user to pan around, zoom in and out

while the picture is presented or the movie is streamed. However, this study will strive to

go beyond the specific technological aspects of IPIX technology and consider the

conceptual foundations and implications of interactivity in general and interaction with

visuals in particular. Indeed, as Chen notes, "Research that looks beyond the technology

of each new medium to its underlying content and symbols will enable theoretical

progress that does not stop at the border of each machine" (1984: 284).

It should also be emphasized that, while this study relies on concepts that are

traditionally used in behavioral and attitudinal research (e.g. advertising studies and

market analysis), the scope of the present research lies within the field of mainstream

mass communication theory. Indeed, this study neither focuses on persuasion theories,

nor does it undertake a consumer-oriented approach. For this reason, sports, which is at

the crossroad of journalism and entertainment, has been chosen as the type of content

under investigation.









In addition, as Bryant & Raney (2000) note, "watching sports on television is a

prominent contemporary social phenomenon." Sports programming, and viewership,

have increased dramatically in the last three decades and televised sports events,

nationally and internationally, make up most of the list of top rated programs. As a matter

of fact, "more than one third of all programming on broadcast network television is

devoted to sports events, [and] five of the Top 10 rated U.S. television programs of all

time are sporting events" (Bryant and Raney, 2000: 157). Hence, the importance of sports

in media content makes it a priority "field" for the study of mass media.














CHAPTER 2
THEORETICAL FOUNDATIONS




This study borrows from various concepts and areas of communication research.

Indeed, its research problems are based on a blend of interactivity, virtual reality, uses

and gratifications, media effects, and entertainment theories.





Literature Review




Interactivity Defined


The issue of defining interactivity

As Jensen (1999) explains, interactivity, like other terms such as multimedia,

information superhighway, and digitization, has become a "buzz word" that is frequently

used and that has different, often obscure meanings. Indeed, Jensen notes that the term

interactivity has not only entered common usage, which has been triggered by the recent

development of a plethora of interactive technologies and applications such as the

Internet, ATMs, VCR, computers, kiosks and the like, but it has also become a hype

word. For instance, the advertising and the entertainment industries frequently use the

term "interactivity" as a generic adjective to increase the sales of new products and









services. Such confusion, Jensen notes, clearly is an obstacle for the academic world,

which needs to work with clearly and precisely defined terms. As Raphaeli puts it,

Interactivity is a widely used term with an intuitive appeal, but it is an
underdefined concept. As a way of thinking about communication, it has
high face validity, but only narrowly based explanation, little consensus on
meaning, and only recently emerging empirical verification of actual role.
(1988: 110)

In addition, it seems that depending on the approach taken (e.g. from a systemic

standpoint or from the "end users" point of view, or from an interface-oriented

perspective), different, sometimes conflicting definitions of interactivity are given.



Definitions of interactivity

In the last two decades, several scholars have attempted to define interactivity, but

as Massey and Levy (1999) point out, attempts to define interactivity have led to the

emergence of differing views. Because interactivity is a complex concept that can have

different forms, many of these scholars have also tried to classify the different types of

interactivity that can be found in the media and communication technologies. A review of

these different views and definitions will help us define interactivity as it should be

conceptualized and understood in this study and establish the context, applicability, and

limits of the study by clearly indicating to which type of interactivity this study applies. It

may also help us place the results and implications of the study in the broader context of

interactivity by relating the specific concepts used in the study to similar conceptual

definitions of interactivity.

Heeter (1989) defines interactivity as a multidimensional concept and presents its

six components. The first dimension of interactivity revolves around the complexity of

choice. This dimension, Heeter notes, refers to what Rice (1984) called "amount of









choice available to the user." It can also be related to the notion of selectivity, defined as

"the extent to which users are provided with a choice of available information" (Heeter,

1989: 222). The second dimension has to do with the "amount of effort a user of a media

system must exert to access information" (Heeter, 1989: 222). This refers to Paisley's

idea (1983) that interactivity can be viewed as the ratio of user activity to system activity.

Within this dimension, VCRs are more interactive than broadcast media because users

have to go to the store or tape the desired program instead of merely switching channels.

It is interesting to note, though, that according to this definition, both VCRs and

broadcast media are considered interactive. The third dimension concerns the

responsiveness to the user, that is, "the degree to which a medium can react responsively

to a user" (Heeter, 1989: 223). This definition integrates Rafaeli's (1985) definition of

interactivity as "how responsive is a medium to a user." Within this dimension, a high

level of interactivity is achieved when the roles are interchangeable (e.g. between end

users or between the source and the receiver). Heeter's fourth dimension of interactivity

considers the potential to monitor information use as a characteristic of interactivity. Ease

of adding information, or "the degree to which users can add information that a mass,

undifferentiated audience can access" (Heeter, 1989: 224) is the fifth dimension of

interactivity. This refers to the notion of the user adding or creating content. Facilitation

of interpersonal communication (e.g. email) constitutes Heeter's sixth dimension of

interactivity.

Prior to providing his own definition of interactivity, Jensen (1999) presents a

good review of the different definitions communication scholars have given to

interactivity. While many, including Jensen, agree that we do not know which medium









will prevail in the realm of interactive programming, Jensen asserts that viewers'

interaction in interactive television is "a decisive aspect of the program and a factor for

its completion" (Jensen, 1999: 16). This shows that interactivity should be understood as

a fundamental aspect of communication content and not just as an additional function of

communication technology. According to Jensen (1999), there are three principal ways of

defining interactivity: It can be defined as a prototype, as a criterion, or as a continuum.

For instance, Jensen explains, Durlak's (1987) notion of interactivity, which states that

face-to-face communication is the ideal type of interactive communication, fits into the

definition of interactivity as a prototype. According to Jensen, Miller's (1987) and

Carey's (1989) definitions of interactivity fit into the criteria approach. Miller defined

interactivity as a process "involving the active participation of the user in directing the

flow of the computer or video program; a system which exchanges information with the

viewer, processing the viewer's input in order to generate the appropriate response within

the context of the program." In International Encyclopedia of Communications, Carey

defined interactive media as "technologies that provide person-to-person communications

mediated by a telecommunications channel (e.g. telephone) and person-to-machine

interactions that stimulate an interpersonal exchange (e.g. electronic banking

transactions)" (1989: 328). As Jensen notes, Miller's and Carey's definitions, while

relatively exact, exclude many media that are considered interactive (e.g. videotext, video

on demand). Heeter's definition of interactivity would fit in what Jensen called the

continuum approach. The continuum approach can be better understood when

considering Vorderer's assertion that "interactivity is not something that either exists or

does not exist." "Instead," Vorderer adds, "there is a continuum that acknowledges









different degrees of interactivity: continuous interaction with the media being at one

extreme and having the potential only to start or stop a reception at the other extreme"

(2000: 25). Steuer's bi-dimensional approach to interactivity would also fit into the

continuum classification. According to Steuer, vividness, "the ability of a technology to

produce a sensorially rich environment," and interactivity, "the degree to which users of a

medium can influence the form or content of the mediated environment" (p. 80) are two

intertwined concepts. (Steuer's approach is presented in detail in the Virtual Reality

section bellow.) Other multidimensional, continuum-based definitions of interactivity

include the classifications of Szuprowicz, Laurel, and Goertz. Szuprowicz (1995)

characterizes interactivity as depending on the type of information flow: user-to-

document (choice of information and time of access), user-to-computer (manipulation of

material), or user-to-user (collaborative transaction). Laurel (1990) identified three

variables in interactivity: frequency (i.e. how often can the user interact), range (i.e.

amount of choice), and significance (i.e. impact of choice). Finally, Goertz (1995)

distinguished four dimensions in interactivity: Degree of choice available, degree of

modifiability, quantitative number of the selections and modifications available, and

degree of linearity or non-linearity. As Jensen notes, many of the typologies presented

above include categories that are overlapping.

While Jensen agrees that "there are different forms of interactivity, which cannot

readily be compared or covered by the same formula," (1999: 59) he attempted to give a

comprehensive definition of interactivity: "A measure of a media's [sic] potential ability

to let the user exert an influence on the content and/or form of the mediated

communication" (1999: 59). His subsequent typology borrows from the Bordewijk and









Kaam's media typology, which established a 2 x 2 matrix with two dimensions -

distribution of information (central provider/consumer) and production of information

(central provider/consumer) resulting in four media categories (transmission,

consultation, registration, conversation).


Consensual definition of interactivity

In general, then, it appears that all the definitions scholars have given of

interactivity implicitly or explicitly present as a fundamental principle the idea of the

viewer having control over the information. The idea of control can range from

consumer's actual production of information (e.g. email) to the consumer's influence on

how and when the information is presented to him or her. Active audience and users

exerting control over information flow (content's access, selection, presentation etc.)

seem to be the recurrent themes in the various definitions of interactivity. Khoo and

Gopal (1996), for instance, insist on the fact that interactivity, at least in the context of

online journalism, empowers the user. Seeing from the other side of a coin, interactivity

results in the producers giving control over content to users. Khoo and Gopal call this

phenomenon "prosumerism." Massey and Levy (1999) refer to it as "content

interactivity."

Certain definitions of interactivity distinguish "content" interactivity from

interpersonal interaction. This is the case, for instance, in Morris's and Ogan's (1996)

definition of interactivity, which emphasizes the interpersonal potential of interactivity.

Similarly, Williams et al. distinguish psychological (i.e. cognitive and perceptual process)

from social (i.e. interpersonal) involvement and interaction. This last distinction seems









particularly appropriate in the context of this study, which focuses on cognitive and

perceptual interactions, rather than on the interpersonal potential of interactivity.

Similarly, the field of human-computer interaction (HCI), which applies

interactivity-related theories to hardware and software and investigates the notion of

interaction within the context of computer-based environments, distinguishes interactions

with computers from interpersonal communications mediated by computers, referred to

as computer-mediated communication (CMC). However, HCI posits that interaction with

computers does, or should, mimic interpersonal communication. Indeed, interaction with

computers, according to the HCI approach, should be conversational and convivial.

Reeves and Nass extend this approach to any communication with any given media. They

refer to this principle as "the media equation," which asserts, "individuals' interactions

with computers, television, and new media are fundamentally social and natural, just like

interactions in real life" (1996: 5). HCI scholars, such as Laurel (1992), use the term

"natural language" to designate the ultimate interaction between the user and the

computer, in which a computer "carry on a 'natural' conversation with a human user" (p.

345). Therefore, as Jensen (1999) explains, interaction and interactivity seem to be

synonymous in informatics. This view differs from the multidimensional

conceptualizations of interactivity that are presented above and that consider human-

machine interaction as only one of the dimensions of interactivity. For instance, Heeter

notes, "person-to-machine interactions are a special form of communication" (1988:

231).









Because this study integrates the notion of interactivity into the notion of

immersion, the specific definition of interactivity we will use as a theoretical framework

is the definition of Steuer (1992), presented in details later in this chapter.



Interactivity and Communication Models


An active audience

The notion of active audience is not new. Almost forty years ago, McLuhan

(1964) coined the terms "cold media" and "hot media." According to McLuhan, the

classification of a medium as "hot" or "cold" depends on the involvement, or amount of

information processing, required of the user during his or her experience with the

medium. In addition, the notion of purposive feedback (e.g. letter to the editor) that

Heeter (1988) opposes to non-purposive feedback (e.g. audience research), also

demonstrates that the idea of active audience has been in the mass communication realm

for decades. However, according to Heeter (1988), a fundamental implication resulting

from the notion of interactivity is that the information is always sought or selected, not

merely sent. Indeed, he adds, "activity is a user trait as well as a medium trait" (1988:

228). Both the user and the medium can have different activity levels. The user as an

active participant is indeed the cornerstone of the notion of interactivity. Vorderer

corroborates this view and asserts, "it is the participant who decides how much

interactivity he or she wishes to employ in a specific situation" (Vorderer, 2000: 26). The

notion of feedback, as conceptualized by Wiener in The Human Use of Human Beings

(1954), was the first attempt to acknowledge that the receiver was having an active part in

the communication model. While Wiener first used the term feedback in the context of









humans' interactions with machines -the "control of a machine on the basis of its actual

performance rather than its expected performance" (1954: 24), the term has been

broadened to apply to any mass mediated -and even interpersonal- communications. As

such, feedback can be understood as any signal that is sent "from the destination back to

the source which helps] the communicator correct subsequent output" (Severin &

Tankard, 1979: 45). However, as Heeter notes, interactivity goes beyond the traditional

understanding of feedback because the user is able to become a "full fledged deliverer of

messages." Therefore, he or she becomes both a sender and a receiver.

Vorderer brings a critical view on the active audience and interactivity duo.

Indeed, while the notion of active audience assumes an intention-based process on the

part of the individual (Levy & Windahl, 1984), Vorderer stresses that there is no

empirical evidence on whether the audience wants to be active or not. He sums up a point

made by Schonbach in 1997, "TV viewers do not really care about being active as much

as communication researchers may think" (2000: 28).


A new communication model

Nevertheless, audience activity seems to be cornerstone of interactivity.

Consequently, it seems that the pervasiveness of interactivity in modern communications

challenges the traditional understanding of the communication process, which has

revolved around the model of one-way flow of information developed by Shannon and

Weaver (1949). Indeed, while the dominant approach to communications has evolved

over time from the hypodermic needle theory, to the notion of two-step-flow, to the

concept of social categories and so forth the Shannon-and-Weaver model has prevailed

implicitly (before 1949) or explicitly in research on communication effects. Only the









uses and gratifications theory has moved away from what Heeter refers to as a "purposive

approach" that focuses on the sender of the message. In the context of interactivity,

Lasswell's verbal model "who says what to whom in what channel with what effect"

(1948) seems indeed an oversimplification of the communication process and can barely

integrate the notion of true audience activity. Furthermore, as Heeter noted in reference to

interactive services then available on Compuserve -the term Web site was unknown at

the time- "the distinction between source and receiver is not present in all media

systems" (1988: 232) and there is a blurred line between mass and interpersonal

communication. While these distinctions do not apply entirely to some interactive

services relying on central content providers (e.g. news services), as it is the case in this

study, the empowerment of the user and his or her crucial role in deciding which and

when information is accessed are, in any case, present in all interactive communication

systems. This is enough to challenge the traditional communication model and make its

application for interactivity inappropriate at the three levels technical, semantic,

effectiveness to which this model may apply. As Rogers and Chaffee (1983) assert, one

can wonder whether the term "participant" will eventually replace the notion of source

and receiver, and whether "information exchange" will forever replace the word

"communication."


New methods

Therefore, as many scholars agree that the traditional conceptualization of

communication is inadequate to analyze and investigate new forms of communication

and new media, most of which rely on interactivity, many scholars also acknowledge the

necessity to adopt new research methods. Heeter (1988) for instance, recognizes that









there are inadequacies in the traditional model of communication and that there is a need

to reconceptualize communication. Rafaeli (1988) acknowledges that "interactivity is

quintessentially a communication concept... its time has come for communication

research .... Interactivity is a special niche reserved for communication scholars." For

Rogers and Chaffee, "scholars are going to have to shift toward models that

accommodate the interactivity of most of the new communication technologies. New

paradigms are needed, based on new intellectual terminology" (1983: 25). This view is

also shared by Rice and Williams, who state, "new media, may, in fact necessitate a

considerable reassessment of communication research. Intellectual changes must occur to

match the growing changes in communication behavior" (1984: 80). Jensen also

advocates radical changes in communication research: "The new media represent a

growing challenge to traditional media and communication research that necessitates a

thorough rethinking of all central models and concepts" (1999: 31). Finally, Rogers

confirms the importance of changing the methods and states: "The Communication

Revolution now underway in Information Societies is also a revolution in communication

science, involving both models and methods" (1986: 213). Yet, despite these claims and

numerous praises for changes in communication studies, no new radically new models or

methods have been developed in research in general, and in empirical studies in

particular.









Uses and Gratifications


Theory overview

Katz et al. (1974) explicitly stated the concept and assumptions of uses and

gratifications: "Audience is conceived of as active, that is, an important part of mass

media use is assumed to be goal-directed." This assumption is based on the basic

principle that "humans can choose among alternative courses of action in the pursuit of

their goal" (Reichenbach, 1951; Miller, 1983: 31). As White points out,

Initially, communication was conceived in terms of a relatively simple
paradigm as a direct transfer of a message from the source to the receiver.
It was assumed that the completion of the transfer depends largely on the
ability of the source to make the receiver accept and implement the
message as the source intends . Virtually every attempt to test some
version of this paradigm revealed "anomalies" which suggested that the
activity of the receiver and the sociocultural conditions of the receiver are
far more important in the communication process than the initial paradigm
would imply. The anomalies have accumulated to the point that a new
"receiver-centered" paradigm, or a paradigm in which interacting
individuals together create meaning, is proposed as more adequate than
the original source-message-receiver model. (1983: 279)

As a result, "Among communication researchers, a respect for the role of human

volition has replaced the law-governed, deterministic paradigm of communication

behavior" (Miller, 1983: 21). It is therefore crucial, as Rogers and Chaffee (1983)

explain, to understand that audiences are characteristically differentiated. In addition, it

should be emphasized that the uses-and-gratification approach is geared toward

understanding media use and media effects. More precisely, media effects are at the heart

of uses and gratifications. Indeed, according to Blumler (1979), there has been

equivalence between uses and gratifications research and effects research since the

formulation of the uses and gratifications theory. Therefore, as Schramm argues, "now

the audience has as much to do with the effects as the communicator. Information flows









both ways" (1983: 14). The validity of this approach has been substantiated by empirical

research, which has shown that gratifications orientation influences effects process, either

by supplementing exposure influence or by interacting with them (Blumler, 1979). It

should also be noted that uses and gratifications has most often been applied across

media, rather than within a given medium.

Finally, according to Blumler, among the many needs that have been developed in

uses and gratifications typologies, three orientations "have surfaced ... with such

regularity and distinctness that they clearly deserve focal attention from the standpoint of

their likely effects repercussions" (1979: 17). These three main categories are:

Cognitive orientation (e.g. surveillance, exploration)

Diversion (e.g. relief from boredom, excitement)

Personal identity

Therefore, the present study will use these three main categories to assess the

orientations of participants.

Palmgreen et al. (1980) provide a detailed explanation of Blumler's typology of

uses and gratifications orientations. The cognition orientation, or surveillance, mainly

reveals a desire for information seeking on the part of the individuals and capitalizes on

the information potential of a given media, while the diversion orientation relies on the

escape, entertainment, and arousal functions of the media.

The personal identity orientation, Palmgreen et al. explain, "helps the individual

establish a 'social location' in relation to others through two interactive comparison

processes." (1980: 168). These two comparison processes -interaction i/ i/l media

characters and interaction about media characters and events- are of particular interest in









this study. Interaction about media characters is tightly related to the cognition

orientation function: the participant seeks information that he or she will be able to share

later. According to Palmgreen et al. this function of the mass media has been identified

by several researchers and given different labels: It has been referred to as "interpersonal

identity" (Swanson, 1977), "anticipated communication" (McLeod and Becker, 1974),

and communicatoryy utility" (Atkin, 1972). While the final purpose of this orientation -

interaction with others- differs from the one of the cognition orientation -increased

knowledge on a topic, character, or event- both orientations seem to be identical in the

sense that they both focus on information seeking and both rely on the cognitive

orientation of the individuals. The other sub-function of personal identity, interaction

with media characters, has also been extensively researched and is referred to as

"parasocial interaction" by Palmgreen et al. This orientation is closely related to the

notion of immersion and telepresence, developed later in this chapter. The present study

will therefore take into account the two aforementioned components of personal identity,

parasocial interaction and (information seeking for) interpersonal utility.

Furthermore, according to Blumler (1979), uses and gratifications theory and

research lead to several postulates. First, cognitive motivation facilitates information

gain. Second, "media consumption for purpose of diversion and escape will favor

audience acceptance of perceptions of social situations in line with portrayal frequently

found in entertainment materials" (p. 18). Third, "involvement in media material for

personal identity reason is likely to promote reinforcement effects" (p. 18).









It should be noted that the uses and gratifications approach has far reaching

implications that go beyond the theory level and are particularly appropriate for applied

research, such as the study of media consumption pattern. As Ferguson and Perse explain,

Few media are uniquely capable of fulfilling all goals, so people select
from among functional alternatives, or media that can fill similar goals.
Cable television and videocassette recorders (VCR), for example, are
functional alternative to broadcast television for relaxing entertainment.
But both cable and VCRs fulfill that need better (2000: 157).


Uses and gratifications and interactivity

As mentioned previously, there has been some attempts in communication

research toward integrating the notion of active audience (e.g. feedback, uses and

gratifications), while, at the same time, technologies such as interactivity have actually

made the audience active. The notion of active audience is at the core of both interactivity

and the uses and gratifications theory. As Chen notes, "We begin to see that passivity and

interactivity are qualities of individuals making use of the media, not the media

themselves" (1984: 284). This proposition, which corroborates the recent trend toward a

user-centered approach to communications, refers to the-uses and gratifications theory by

acknowledging that even the individuals' passivity toward a given media is purposive.

Indeed, even the lowest level of interactivity (e.g. switching on the TV) calls on the

principle of gratifications sought.

Several studies have explored motivations and uses and gratifications differences

between media considered as interactive (e.g. the World Wide Web) and traditional

media (e.g. television). As Ferguson and Perse explain, "research has consistently found

that television is used mainly for relaxing entertainment followed by need to pass time

and for information" while the World Wide Web is mainly used for information seeking.









(2000: 157). In a survey investigating World Wide Web use, Ferguson and Perse found

that "Entertainment is only modestly endorsed by respondents; passing time and

relaxation are rarely mentioned."

However, in their study, which sought to answer the question on whether surfing

the World Wide Web is a functional alternative to TV viewing (i.e. whether surfing the

Web fulfills the same needs as watching TV), Ferguson and Perse (2000) found that 1)

"like TV, the Web is seen as a source of diversion and entertainment," 2) "the Web may

also compete with television as a way to pass time," 3) the main functional difference

between the Web and television is that relaxation is the second most important reason for

watching television while it is not a substantial motive for surfing the Web.

Corroborating these findings, a Papacharissi and Rubin (2000) study, which used

factor analysis, found five principal motives for using the Internet: interpersonal utility

(18.1% of variance), pass time (7.5% of variance), information seeking (8.3% of

variance), convenience (6.2% of variance), and entertainment (4.2% of variance). While

interpersonal utility seems to be a major motive for using the Internet, it should be

emphasized that it cannot be applied to all interactive technologies or content, as it is the

case in the present study.

In addition, it should be noted that while uses and gratifications studies usually

are medium-specific (e.g. studies across media), this study focuses on content-related

uses and gratifications. Palmgreen and Rayburn (1979) refer to this level of abstraction as

the medium component level. This approach appears to make sense in contemporary

media research because the increasing convergence of communication channels renders

distinctions among media difficult. For instance, it seems trivial to merely distinguish









computer use from television watching considering that today's technologies allow

individuals to watch the same news program on television and through streaming video.

A redefinition of modem content seems therefore crucial, but is beyond the scope of this

study. A tentative definition of content, suitable for the present study, uses a

multidimensional approach to content. Two dimensions are identified: style (e.g. news,

sports, talk shows), and functioning -or mechanical aspects and structural characteristics-

such the presence and/or type of interactivity featured in the content. While the

distinction between form and substance has been around for a long time, modern

communications in general, and convergence in particular, call for an integration and

redefinition of these two concepts.


Familiarity

The notion of the user's familiarity with media technology, characteristics, and

functioning applies to all types of media. Vorder (2000) and Grodal (2000) agree in

saying that the users' control is "not absolute but relative to their skills." Fredin and

Krendl defined a media frame as "a structure of expectations individuals apply to

organize and understand their experiences with a particular medium. It is evoked

whenever the medium is being thought about or is present" (1984: 2). In addition, they

explain that a media frame evolves over time depending on the experience the user has

with the medium. Corroborating this view, Rice and Williams cite a theory of Borgman

(1982) that says that "Humans, no matter their level of experience, develop images [of a

technology] that lead to a conceptual representation of a device which is used in

interacting with that device" (1984: 65).









In addition, the notion of familiarity seems to have a crucial importance in

interactive media. Indeed, familiarity with interactivity, according to Tafler, can radically

change the viewer's experience: "The viewer can choose to navigate these [interactive]

paths either at random, much like wandering through a gallery, or with an increased

understanding of a new interactive vocabulary" (1995: 252). In other words, familiarity

can shape the interactive experience:

When an individual encounters an interactive system and makes a
commitment to cognitively map its cybernetic corridors, the early trials
signal the extent to which the program will allow the viewer-participant
the latitude to determine the conditions shaping his or her exploration.
(1995: 236)

Interactive experience, according to Tafler, recreates the participant's own

coming of age. Tafler goes even further and explains that unfamiliarity is a quintessential

attribute of interactivity:

With growing exposure to interactive instruments and tools, the viewer-
participant's experience accommodates to that growing familiarity. Older
systems motivating predictable response patterns lose their interactive
condition. For an interactive condition to reemerge, newer systems must
restore the challenge of the unknown. (1995: 262)

These assertions show the importance of taking into account familiarity with

specific interactive tools when trying to understand media use and effects. One should be

aware, though, that the latest assertion of Tafler is unscientific, almost value-laden, for

one cannot rationally conceptualize "interactive conditions" in terms of the

unknowingnesss of the environment or setting." Indeed, using familiarity as the only

criterion defining an interactive condition seems to reflect a simplistic definition of

interactivity.

Beyond familiarity with the interactive instrument, the participant's familiarity

with elements of the interactive experience seems also crucial. As Tafler notes, "The









linkages that an individual makes with varying elements in his or her history,

understanding, and knowledge will determine the vividness of his or her encounter"

(1995: 254). This seems to make sense in the context of interaction with sports games.

Indeed, habits of attending or watching televised sports games can greatly influence the

manipulation of the interactive instrument (e.g. the manipulation can imitate head

movements or camera shots).


Uses and gratifications and sports

Several mass communication scholars have investigated motives and uses and

gratifications related to viewing sports programming. Gantz's study (1980), for instance,

compared uses and gratifications across sports activities, namely baseball, hockey,

football, and tennis. His study's findings are consistent with the uses and gratifications

approach to television viewing and show that watching sports is "a highly functional

activity (...) and multifaceted experience" (p. 12). According to this study, the most

important motivations for watching sports are "identification with athletes" and "need for

success." Less important motivations include information need, social exchange, and

emotional release. Four underlying dimensions were found for these motivations: "to

thrill in victory," to "let loose," to learn about the players and the game, and to pass time.

Most importantly, a factor analysis of these motivations revealed a similarity of factor

loading across sports. This led Gantz to affirm that "motivations may be generalizable

across sports rather than unique to each sport" (p. 10). In other words, because

motivations that ranked high on one sport also ranked high on other sports, one can safely

conclude that gratifications are not sport-specific.









Crabb and Goldstein (1991) reports findings from a study that was conducted by

Sloan (1979) and that revealed six functions of sports for fans: 1) Belonging needs,

"filled by identifying with a (usually local) team;" 2) "diversion from daily routines of

work and family life;" 3) source of stimulation and excitement; 4) relief of tension and

aggression; 5) source of entertainment; and 6) providing "a sense of achievement or

accomplishment through the victory of their team."

In another study, Melton and Galician (1989) compared uses and functions of

broadcast (i.e. mediated communication) sports with in-person attendance of sporting

events. They found that the main gratifications obtained from watching sports were

helping pass time, helping feel less alone, and giving something to do with family and

friends. Other gratifications found in their study included "let off steam," get energized,

learning/information gain, and ego-satisfaction (a personal identity function).

The findings of the aforementioned communication studies are consistent with the

sociologists' perspectives on sports, which assert that the experience of being a fan is

pleasurable and motivated by fantasy and escape, and allows for identification with

athletes and fulfillment of the needs for sharing, feeling, and belonging (Gantz, 1980).


Critiques of uses and gratifications

Critics of the uses and gratifications approach argue that it is too micro-level

oriented. They also contend that reports of needs and gratifications sought may be

inaccurate or biased because the common technique of measurement of the subjects'

motivations is based on self-report. Therefore, uses and gratifications critics argue, the

veracity of the data collected in uses and gratifications studies, as well as the internal

validity of the findings, are questionable. However, the micro-level orientation of the









uses and gratifications approach seems justified, for it takes into account the recent trend

in media consumption and development that shows the demassification, or fragmentation,

of the audience and the recognition of media use as being based on the individuals'

specific areas of interest (e.g. cable television, thematic channels, and niche

programming). In addition, despite the real risks of inaccurate reports that social

desirability triggers, self-report can be an efficient measurement technique if it relies on a

well-constructed questionnaire (e.g. it is based on specific questions) and if the research

topic deals with non-sensitive subject matters. This also shows the importance of using

indexes in order to gather accurate uses and gratifications information.

This issue also demonstrates the importance of identifying and defining categories

that are relevant to the individuals, that exhaustively represent the individuals' possible

uses and gratifications sought, that have consistently appeared as relevant categories (e.g.

Blumler's three major categories), and that specifically relate to the content in question.

Indeed, scholars have criticized the normative characteristic of the approach and the

ensuing possibility that it forces individuals to find rationales explaining their behavior

(Dozier & Rice, 1984).

In addition, Carey and Kreiling critique the lack of integration of cultural and

instrumental elements in uses and gratifications research: "Uses and gratifications

research fails to link the functions of mass media consumption with the symbolic content

of the mass-communicated material or with the actual experience of consuming them"

(1974). This present study addresses the experience issue as it revolves around the

interactive experience. In addition, this study will strive to take into account the symbolic









signification of sports content as a component of the subjects' uses and gratifications

related information.



Virtual Reality


Theory

The term virtual reality has been employed extensively in the last two decades,

but, as Biocca and Levy (1995) note, it has been used to designate very different

elements: From interface hardware, to specific applications (e.g. medical image), to

cultural environments (e.g. cyberspace), to a sector or industry ("the VR industry"). The

same issue has been found with other communication-related words, such as the term

"media," but the vagueness of the term has certainly contributed to confine virtual reality

to an arcane domain.

In addition, the term virtual reality (VR) is commonly associated with a set of

technological device. Traditionally, Steuer (1992) explains, the focus of virtual reality has

been "technological, rather than experiential; the locus of virtual reality is a collection of

machines" (p. 73). Typically, the definition of virtual reality includes the following

technological device: a computer, a pair of gloves loaded with sensory and tracking

instruments, position trackers, and a head-mounted stereoscopic display. This association

between virtual reality and hardware is not surprising if we consider that the term virtual

reality was coined in 1989 by Jaron Lanier, CEO of VPL Research Inc., a firm

specialized in manufacturing gloves and other products used in virtual reality

environments (Krueger, 1991).









Steuer's mass communication approach to virtual reality, as well as his attempt to

clarify and conceptualize the topic, are insightful and deserve some attention in the

context of this study. His presentation and definition of virtual reality authorizes the

integration of the iPIX technology to the realm of virtual reality and allows distinguishing

the immersive environment used in this study from other virtual environments.

Steuer stresses that this "device-driven" definition is problematic because it is

unsuitable to a communication approach to VR. Indeed, "because a technology-based

view suggests that the most salient feature in recognizing a VR system is the presence or

absence of the requisite complement of technologies" (p. 73), such a definition does not

address the process and effects of the use of VR, offers no conceptual framework -

necessary for a communication approach of the term- and unit of analysis, and lacks "the

theoretical dimensions across which virtual reality can vary." Therefore, Steuer argues

for the development of a "theoretically grounded term" and a definition based on "a

particular type of experience rather than a collection of hardware" in order to place VR in

a mass communication research perspective that allows examining VR "in relation to

other types of mediated experience" (p. 74).

To remedy to this issue, Steuer provides a detailed conceptualization of virtual

reality, which he defines as "a real or simulated environment in which a perceiver

experiences telepresence" (p. 76). Therefore, according to Steuer, telepresence is the key

element of the VR experience. The section below gives further explanation on virtual

reality and the concept of telepresence. It should be noted that Steuer's definition

corroborates Biocca's and Levy's view that "VR is not a technology; it's a destination ...

a metamedium ... an environment [that] surrounds the senses" (1995: 17) and reminds of









McLuahn's (1964) idea of the media as "extensions of the senses." The goal of VR,

Biocca and Levy add, is "the full immersion of the human sensorimotor channels into a

vivid computer-generated experience" (1995: 17).


Telepresence

Telepresence and perceptions are central concepts in this study, as they are in the

notion of virtual reality. When an individual is engaged in a mediated experience, he or

she perceives two simultaneous environments: A physical environment and a mediated

environment. "Telepresence," Steuer explains, "is the extent to which one feels present in

the mediated environment, rather than in the immediate physical environment" (p. 76).

Therefore, while "presence is defined as the sense of being in an environment, ...

telepresence is defined as the experience of presence in an environment by means of a

communication medium" (pp. 75-76). It should be noted that both concepts are linked to

perception and imply an input from sensory channels.

According to this approach, Steuer adds, the notion of telepresence can apply to

any medium -telephone, letter, television, or video games. Indeed, "Newspapers, letters,

and magazines place the reader in a space in which the writer is telling a story" (p. 79).

Therefore, not only does this approach provide a unit of analysis -the individual- for the

study of VR, but it also places other media in the context of virtual reality.

While the term telepresence is relatively recent -it was coined in 1980 by Marvin

Minsky to designate the remote manipulation of objects (Steuer, 1992)- the idea of

simulated presence has been tackled by communication scholars for a long time. As early

as 1956, Horton and Wohl introduced the concept of parasocial interaction. According to

this principle, Jensen (1999) explains, mass media create the illusion of intimate face-to-









face communication (e.g. close-up, simulated eye contact, direct address, private

conversational style). Grabe et al. (1999) confirm that many scholars have been interested

in "whether and to what extent media users experience a sense of presence -the illusion

that the experience is not mediated" (p. 4). They also note that this phenomena has been

labeled in various ways, such as "a feeling like you are present in the environment

generated by the [medium]" (Sheridan, 1992) or a feeling of "being there" (Reeves,

1991).

Finally, Grabe et al. agree with Steuer in saying that the perception of simulated

presence is generated by virtual reality systems (e.g. flight simulators), simulation rides

(e.g. Star Tours attraction at Disney themes parks), "sophisticated film presentations"

(e.g. IMAX), and even TV news (see for instance Auter and Davis, 1991), where the way

the anchors "address the audience directly promotes parasocial interactions with

viewers."

The present study will seek to answer an important question related to

telepresence, that is, how do immersive images, which name directly infers that the

technology allow for a "feeling of being there" and parasocial interaction, fit into this

approach.

The inclusion of the notion of telepresence into virtual reality helps distinguish

VR from other concepts. Indeed, as Steuer observes, VR is different from psychic

phenomena (e.g. dreams or hallucinations) because telepresence emanates from a

communication medium. It is also different from "real reality" because VR assume the

existence of hardware. Finally, VR should also be distinguished from cyberspace -an

electronic realm conceived by Gibson (1984) and also using hardware- because









cyberspace bypasses the sensory organs (i.e. the stimuli are directly presented to the

perceptual system in the brain). The same reason applies to "simstim" (Gibson, 1984),

which is similar to cyberspace but in which participants have a passive experience.


Dimensions of virtual reality

Steuer (1992) identifies three factors influencing telepresence: 1) the specific

characteristics of the individuals engaged in the mediated experience; 2) the combination

of sensory stimuli involved in the experience; and 3) "the way in which participants are

able to interact with the environment" (p. 80). Steuer qualifies the last two factors as

technology-related dimensions, and he labels them as vividness (sensory aspects) and

interactivity (interaction). In a somewhat similar approach, Sheridan (1992) identified

five variables for telepresence -sensory information, control of sensors, ability to modify

the physical environment, task difficulty, and degree of automation- but this view seems

less concept related and too device oriented. Therefore, we will use Steuer's dimensions,

which are more theoretical and rely extensively on the concept of interactivity.



Vividness. "Vividness," Steuer explains, "means the representational richness of a

mediated environment as defined by its formal features; that is, the way in which an

environment presents information to the senses" (p. 81). In his view, highly vivid media

are what McLuhan qualifies as "hot media."

The dimension of vividness can itself be divided into two components, "sensory

breadth" (a quantitative dimension, i.e. the number of sensory channels involved) and

"sensory depth" (a qualitative dimension, i.e. the resolution of each perceptual channel).

Gibson (1966) identified five perceptual channels on which Steuer's vividness dimension









can rely: orienting, auditory, haptic (i.e. tactile), taste and smell, and visuals. The

technology used in this study (immersive imaging), only utilizes the orienting and the

visual channels. Traditional pictures only involve the visual system. A video game

console (e.g. PlayStation) with tactile feedback controllers makes use of all of the

channels except the taste-smell system, and can therefore be considered as high in

breadth. The sensory depth, Steuer notes, refers to such characteristics as image quality.

The physical world offers what can be considered as maximum depth. According to

Steuer, in a mediated environment, bandwidth issues are often responsible for limiting

sensory depth (see for instance the auditory depth difference between the telephone and a

CD player). To illustrate the difference between depth and breadth, Steuer compares

silent films (high in depth, low in breadth) with video presentation (high in breadth, low

in depth). Finally, Steuer asserts, "it is likely that breadth and depth are multiplicatively

related in generating a sense of presence, with each dimension serving to enhance the

other" (p. 84).


Interactivity. The second dimension of telepresence, interactivity, is

conceptualized as "the extent to which users can participate in modifying the form and

content of a mediated environment in real time" (Steuer, 1992: 84). In this view, Steuer

explains, "Interactivity, like vividness, is a stimulus-driven variable and is determined by

the technological structure of the medium." This definition seems particularly relevant to

the present study, for it takes into account immersive technologies and differs from other

traditional definitions of interactivity (see sections above), which rely heavily on the

transmission model (sender/receiver) of communication. It also places the participant in

the center stage of the process (i.e. centrality of the notion of perception and of the









relationship between the individuals and the mediated environment). According to this

definition, the characteristics of the medium, or the technology, are also the focus of the

interactivity, which Steuer explains, varies with the "malleability of a medium's form and

content." As indicated by Steuer, the three factors influencing interactivity are:

Speed: "The rate at which input can be assimilated into the mediated

environment." Real time is the highest possible value.

Range: "The number of possibilities for action at any given time." This factor

includes the number of attributes (temporal ordering, spatial organization,

intensity, and frequency) that can be modified and the amount of variation

allowed.

Mapping: "The ability of a system to map its control to change the mediated

environment in a natural and predictable manner." Mapping, or the way humans

actions are represented in the mediated environment, is highly related to

hardware and software. Steuer illustrates mapping by mentioning the Apple

Computers' "Desktop" -a metaphoric mapping system that Microsoft took up on

its Windows' operating system- and "QWERTY" keyboards, which Steuer

qualifies as arbitrary mapping system. He recommends that mapping be as

natural as possible if the mediated environment recreates a physical environment.

It is interesting to note that this factor in general, and Steuer's observation in

particular, constitute the focus of the field of human-computer interaction.

Today, according to Steuer, videogames represent the most vivid and interactive

environment. We may add that military flight simulators, although not available on the

mass market, could be considered as even more interactive and vivid than videogames.










Interactivity, vividness, and telepresence. Steuer also asserts that "vividness and

interactivity are positively related to telepresence." A number of scholars seem to agree

with him in saying that interactivity reproduces the notion of "being there." Referring to

interactivity with art, Tafler explains that

The gallery restores all the possibilities of random access and self-
determined duration and repetition previously denied by the cinema. The
[interactive] installation permits the temporal and spatial freedom of
moving at will from image to image, experience to experience, and thus
conforms to the historical conditions mediating the act of looking at art.
(1995: 264)

However, from a sociological standpoint, this assertion is subject to discussion.

As Vorderer (1995) explains, when it comes to feeling part of a common virtual reality,

two competing arguments come forward. On one hand, any mass communication content

creates a sense of "collective awareness," which makes the viewer feel like he or she

belongs to a virtual community. One the other hand, because interactivity gives the

viewer the chance to communicate with the media, it may result in making the user

realize that the "depicted reality" is an illusion. The question, then, revolves around

determining which is the dominant force: feeling of belonging or fulfillment of individual

needs.




Immersive images

Immersion. The concept of immersion appears to be often used in lieu of

telepresence. For instance, Biocca and Delanay's (1995) definition of immersion reminds

of Steuer's conceptualization of telepresence: "Immersive is a term that refers to the

degree to which a virtual environment submerges the perceptual system of the user in









computer-generated stimuli. The more the system captivates the senses and blocks out

stimuli from the physical world, the more the system is considered immersive" (p. 57).

Along the same line, Krueger (1990) identified two forms of immersion, which Shapiro

and McDonald (1992) report as being 1) environments where the user's actions are

"acted on to accomplish the user's intentions," 2) passive experience where, through

various sensory feedbacks, the user enters a mediated environment. Both forms of

immersions, and the last one in particular, are reminiscent of Steuer's telepresence.

However, Steuer distinguishes immersive systems from virtual reality. Indeed,

according to Steuer, immersive environments move with the participants (e.g.

stereoscopic head-mounted displays). Therefore, he explains, 3D systems, such as

hologram and 3D movies, are not immersive despite the fact that they strive to

"accurately portray a sense of depth across part of the visual field" (1992: 84). In other

words, it seems that for Steuer the orientation perceptual channel, mentioned earlier, has

to be included in the medium capabilities for the environment to be qualified as

immersive. Accordingly, the technology used in this study could, to a certain extent, fit

into Steuer's definition of immersion: Although the technology does not involve the

tactile sense of the user and does not use a stereoscopic display, it reproduces a 3600 field

view that is similar to a natural environment and that is set by the participant.

Other scholars consider the term immersion from a cognitive, rather than

perceptual, perspective. For Vorderer, for instance, the term immersion can be used in

interactive context to designate involvement, which is traditionally used in non-

interactive settings. The only difference, he asserts, is that immersion is stronger because

"interactivity adds to the experience" (1995: 29). This view is consistent with Ferguson









and Perse's assertion that "the interactive component of the Web as well as the need to

"click" to move around might demand greater attention and involvement from the Web

audience" (2000: 170). Csikszentmihalyi (1995) and Turkle (1985), Vorderer also

reports, associate the notion of immersion -and involvement- with familiarity: "The

more using the media gets to the users' optimal mental model and motor capacity, the

higher their experience of involvement, immersion, or flow" (1995: 31).

Immersive images. Therefore, it seems that the term immersion should not be

thought as absolute. In this study, we use the term immersion to distinguish interactive

and 3600 images and videos, from traditional photos and videos. We expect the findings

of this study (see hypothesis 10 in Chapter 3) to tell whether navigating these images

actually results in giving the participants a feeling of immersion. It is interesting to note

that the technology used in the present study somewhat fits into what Biocca and Levy

(1995) call a mass telepresence system, which they define as real-time camera with full

3600 capabilities digital model capable of transmitting to millions. While the present

experiment does not use real-time action, the real-time immersive (e.g. iPIX) technology

is already available on the Internet.

Finally, Steuer insists on the fact that virtual reality environments do not have to

be fictional: "This environment can be either a temporally or spatially distant

environment (...) or an animated but non-existent virtual world synthesized by a

computer" (p. 76). As a result, according to Steuer's definition, any vivid and interactive

environment, whether it is a fictional on-screen environment (such as Doom, Myst or

Quest), or an actual environment reproduced on screen (as it is the case in this study), can









be qualified as virtual reality. In addition, it should be emphasized that computer games

and iPIX pictures use similar interfaces and hardware.

Immersive images and human-computer interactions. As Wmrn (1989) explains,

communication with computers can be done through menu selection, form fill-in,

command language, natural language, and direct manipulation. However, since her book

was published, in 1989, we may add that hypertext has appeared as a new form of

communication that has spread rapidly in computer environments (e.g. World Wide Web)

and programs (e.g. "help applications" and tutorials). This would make of hypertext the

sixth form of communication in computer environments, although some might consider it

as another form of direct manipulation.

The technology used in this study, immersive imaging, uses direct manipulation.

The term direct manipulation was introduced by Shneiderman in 1974 and signifies that

"the user can move and transform objects on the screen as if they were real objects"

(Warn, 1989: 246). As Waern notes, "this manipulation of objects hardly merits the term

"communication" since it is so direct. The user gives no instructions, he simply acts."

Because direct manipulation is an achievement in terms of interface transparency, which

is considered as the clearest for of human-computer interaction, numerous HCI scholars

have focused their research on the representation of objects, mentioned earlier as

mapping (e.g. WYSIWYG, What You See Is What You Get software, such as

Macromedia Dreamweaver and Microsoft Windows). Since immersive images not only

use direct manipulation but also display images of real objects, rather than (computer-

generated) representation of objects, it seems that few human-computer interaction

theories can be applied to this study -except maybe for hardware-related (e.g. the mouse)









considerations, but this is beyond the scope of our research. An interesting point that

Waern makes, though, is that "Direct manipulation suffers less risk than any other

communication style of appearing meaningless and demanding to the user" (p. 246).

To conclude with this section, it should be noted that while virtual reality is

sometimes considered as meaningless, too experimental or entertainment-oriented, the

possibilities for useful applications in the professional world in general, and in the

communication field in particular, are endless. According to Biocca and Levy

As a mass medium, virtual reality could fulfill the oldest dream of the
journalist, to conquer time and space. Virtual news environments would
invest journalists with the ability to create a sense on the part audiences of
being present at distant newsworthy locations and events. For over a
century news has struggled to find ways to bring its audiences close to
dramatic and historic moments. The very language of journalism suggests
the goal of telepresence. Think of (...) Walter Cronkite's dramatized
history with the prophetically cyberspatial title, "You are there." (1995:
139)



Media Effects


Uses and gratifications and effects

Levy and Windahl, borrowing from Lin (1977), report that the uses and

gratifications theory postulates that "The decision to enter into communication is

motivated by goals and uses that are self-defined, and that active participation in the

communication process enhances, limits, and influences the effects of exposure" (1984:

52). This postulate emphasizes the fundamental association that exists between uses and

gratifications and media effects. This association constitutes a central assumption in the

present study. It should be emphasized that this postulate has been demonstrated in

several studies focusing on traditional media, as well as new media, uses and effects. For









instance, in a study investigating Internet use, Papacharissi and Rubin (2000) have shown

that Internet motives appeared to be significant predictors of outcomes such as length of

Internet use, web browsing, and email use. In their study, for example, they show that

information seeking and entertainment were the most important predictors of email and

Internet use. This is not surprising, even for email use, considering the importance of

email-based jokes and listservs among college students. This postulate is also consistent

with the widespread belief among communication scholars that "meanings are in people,

not in messages," as Bryant (1989) puts it.

However, as mentioned earlier -and as Bryant (1989) notes- uses and

gratifications research has traditionally focused on the nature of media (i.e. media

channels), rather than on the specific nature of the message (i.e. media content). This

tradition seems to conflict with media effects theory, which asserts that media effects are

not only dependent on content, but are even influenced by specific media content -rather

than "mere exposure to general programming types like entertainment" (Gantz, 1980: 3).

The fact that this study focuses on specific content, sports programming, demonstrates

that such flaws, or at least critiques, are taken into account.


Entertainment and effects

Four different approaches, or "traditions," have dominated in research on

entertainment and message effects: Uses and gratifications, critical analysis, applied

audience research (e.g. Nielsen), and entertainment theory (Bryant, 1989). However, as

Bryant and Zillmann (1986) note, "Although many scholars have examined the side

effects of entertainment .. few have examined its intended, primary effect:

entertainment" (p. xxi). Furthermore, Bryant (1989) remarks, the entertainment industry









perspective on content (i.e. programming) focuses on audience, ratings, marketing -and

notions such as programs ratings, placement, TV season, program life span- rather than

on specific characteristics of content. "It is highly unlikely," Bryant points out, "that

these elements are as important in creating and sustaining audience enjoyment as specific

message attributes" (p. 242). In short, it seems that the two principal areas of research on

entertainment fail to analyze effectively the specific aspects of content: Industry-led

research is based on exposure, a narrow definition of media effects that that misses the

whole process and even the industry's goal of increasing audience, while most of

academic research has narrowed message analysis to few (social) issues (violence,

pornography, stereotypes, an so forth) characterized by pros and cons investigations. This

study attempts to focus on specific message characteristics, such as motion and

interactivity.

Entertainment effects are most often measured in terms of exposure, attention,

affective display, enjoyment, and gratifications sought and obtained (Bryant, 1989). This

study will examine almost all of these variables, but, again, the latest measures -uses and

gratifications- seem crucial in assessing media effects. As Bryant and Zillmann (1986)

explain, "Entertaining messages are capable of gratifying respondents because of unique

intrinsic properties, along with the respondents' idiosyncratic appraisal of these

properties" (p. 311). In order to clarify "the relationship between entertainment and

gratifications," Bryant argues for an approach combining the uses and gratifications

tradition with behavioral entertainment research. He also recommends that studies

seeking to understand entertainment effects consider the cognitive process associated

with exposure. Although the present study does not fully investigate behaviors -attitudes









are only one set of variables, among many, influencing behavior- and integrates only a

limited set of cognition-related variables, both of Bryant's suggestions have been taken

into account.

Finally, it should be emphasized that sports content seems to be particularly suited

to the study of entertainment effects. As Gantz (1980) contends, "The mental and

behavioral activity involved with being a fan suggests that, except among those for whom

watching broadcast sports is a 'last resort,' exposure will be a functional, emotionally and

intellectually involving experience," (p. 5). In his study, he also found that participants

were more strongly motivated to watch team sports than individual sports.


Sports programming

Indeed, sports programming is unique. It differs from other entertainment content

because it is not fictional -entertainment programs are often fictions or are rehearsed- it

blends "reality and uncertainty," it is often broadcast live, and it is covered as news

(Gantz, 1980). This latest specificity of sports seems particularly crucial, for it may allow

researchers to apply findings from sports-related studies to the field of journalism.

On the other hand, as Whannel (1979) argues, the fusion of television and sports,

as well as the inclusion of "show business/entertainment values" into the game, have led

to the audience's expectation of "spectacle, rather than a contest." Parente (1977)

corroborates this view and explain that TV has had a tremendous influence on sports,

changing sometimes the very nature and proceeding of games. For instance, television is

responsible for changing the drawn-out deuce games into tie-break in tennis, and

changing golf competition from match to medal play.









Media forms and effects

Overview of past and current research. It seems that more mass communication

studies have been undertaken on media content than on media forms. Nevertheless, form

matters. As a matter of fact, form is part of what Reeves and Nass (1996) call the media

equation. Through a research project called Social Response to Communication

Technology, which involved numerous experiments, Reeves and Nass have developed the

theory of the media equation, which posits that the "Media equal real life." They claim

that "individuals' interactions with computers, television, and new media are

fundamentally social and natural, just like interactions in real life" (p. 5). This view is

consistent with the principle of telepresence presented earlier, and is clearly tainted of the

HCI approach to mass communication.

Traditionally, the media's formal features have been categorized into three

groups: producer-controlled factors (e.g. editing pace, shot type and length, camera angle,

camera movement), viewer-controlled factors (e.g. volume control, viewing distance,

ambient light), and appliance-related variables (e.g. screen size, picture resolution)

(Reeves and Nass, 1996; Grabe et al., 1999). However, the advent of interactive media -

namely interactive television, the World Wide Web, and immersive images- has

somewhat blurred the lines between these two categories. Indeed, through interactivity,

users take control of features that have traditionally been handled by producers (e.g. the

shots' angle) and editors (e.g. organization and presentation of information). This issue

will be addressed in depth in the discussion section.

Several studies have explored the influence of form-related factors on the

individuals' cognition, emotions, and evaluation. Grabe et al. (1999) present a good

review of such studies. Factors such as image size, viewing distance, and shot length









have been found to influence cognition-related variables such as attention and memory

(Reeves et al., 1992; Bruijin et al., 1992; Detender & Reeves, 1996; Kim, 1996; Ditton,

1997). Similarly, numerous studies have found that form influences emotion-related

factors. For instance, studies have shown that arousal increases with screen size

(Detender and Reeves, 1996; Lombard et al., 1996), and that larger TV screens increase

the subjects' positive emotional response to an attractive news anchor (Lombard, 1995).

However, other studies (Kim, 1996; Detender and Reeves, 1996; Lombard et al., 1997)

have found no support for the widespread assumption that screen size could enhance the

enjoyment of the viewing experience. In addition, it has been shown that screen size

influences the intensity of the subjects' evaluations, such as reported intensity of light and

loudness of crowds (Lombard, 1995; Ditton, 1997). Particularly relevant to the present

study is the finding that large screens increase the perception of presence and "sense of

reality" (Hatada et al., 1980; Neuman, 1990). However, other studies (Kim, 1996; Ditton,

1997) did not support such assertion.

Many of these findings are consistent with Reeves and Nass's (1996) studies,

which showed that closer images (i.e. reduced viewing distance) resulted in more intense

evaluations and increased attention and memory. Reeves and Nass also found that larger

images increased arousal, memory, and intensity of evaluation.

While this study does not focus on screen size, these findings are of interest, for

they show that formal features, which this study's participants will be able to control (e.g.

camera angle), do influence the individuals' cognition, emotions, and evaluations of

content. It also shows the importance of keeping constant in the different experimental









groups formal features that are not investigated (e.g. screen size, viewing distance, image

resolution).


Still images versus animated images. In real life, Reeves and Nass (1996) explain,

motion triggers attention. The phrase "visual orienting response" is used to express the

fact that "when people are exposed to motion, (...) they focus on the source of the

motion and stop all other unnecessary activities" (Reeves and Nass, 1996: 219). Reeves

and Nass observe that this reaction affects not only mental processing but also induces

"physical changes in the body" (e.g. increased blood flow to the brain). One of Reeves

and Nass's experiments, which used electroencephalogram (EEG) to measure brain

electrical activity, found that this theory holds true with mediated experiences. Indeed, in

their study, attention correlated with motion and "pictures that occurred one second after

each motion began were remembered better than pictures that appeared at the exact

moment of motion onset" (p. 222). In addition, Reeves and Nass found that motion in

peripheral vision is more arousing than motion at "points of visual focus." Nevertheless,

they warn that too much motion decreases cognitive capacities. The term "motion" in

mediated experience applies to objects in motion, but also to special effects (e.g.

dissolve) and camera movements.

Furthermore, according to Schnotz and Boeckheler (1999), static images only

provide spatial information, while animated pictures have both a spatial and a temporal

structure (i.e. they include the time dimension). Therefore, animated pictures let the

viewer envision the dynamic characteristics of the subject matter. Because the time

structure is taken over by the medium, the viewer's cognitive load decreases when

pictures are animated. While the authors stated these principles in the context of learning









models and diagrams, it seems that they also apply to photographs and video. In the

present study, this would mean that the cognition-related potential and general

understanding of the game would be superior with video than photographs.


Cognition

Theory overview. The term cognition is usually associated with knowledge and

information processing (Green, 1996). It is a fundamental concept of psychology, for it

influences learning, attitude, and behavior. Psychology theories of attitudes, for instance,

are based on the ABC model, which includes three domains: affect, behavior, and

cognition. At the behavioral level, often considered to be one level higher than the

attitude level, cognition (e.g. paying attention) is considered as one of the two

components -the other being affect (i.e. emotions)- of psychological involvement.

Involvement, Roser (1987) explains, leads to increased attention, processing of content,

and, eventually, attitude change.

Finally, and most importantly, any tasks preformed by humans induce a cognitive

feedback (e.g. learning) and an emotive feedback (Waern, 1989). Therefore cognition

appears as a central concept for the study of the individual's experience.

This study's approach to cognition is the same as the one Waern, and most of HCI

scholars, rely on. It is referred to as the information-processing theory and relies on

mentalisticc" concepts and on the idea that tasks performed by individuals are goal-

driven. This model seems particularly adapted to the uses and gratifications approach and

does not rely on the neural aspects of cognition.

The main cognition-related concept on which this study focuses is memory. As

Reeves and Nass 1996) explain, there are several definitions of memory within the field









of psychology alone and an important distinction exists between recall and recognition.

This study uses recall as a measurement of cognition. This study also uses a limited,

simplified definition of learning, for it equates learning to information gain, which is

measured through recall. Reeves and Nass used a similar approach to cognition in their

studies. For instance, they say that "motion enhances learning," (p. 222) while the only

element they measured is recall.

Attention is another important element of cognition. As Waern explains, "Effort is

a limited resource which can be distributed according to the demands of the situation" (p.

18). Because resources are limited and need to be distributed among different tasks

operated at the cognitive level, individuals select to process one stimulus among various

stimuli, or cues within a stimulus. This process is referred to as "selective attention"

(Waern, 1989). This issue will be developed later in this section. It should be noted,

though, that inferences about attention are often based on recall (Bryant, 1989).


Uses and gratifications and cognition. According to Garramone (1984), the

influence of motivations (i.e. gratifications sought) on information processing occurs at

two levels:

The attention level. "Audience motivation may result in differential attention to

various aspects of the media presentation, including both channel and content

aspects" (p. 80). This assertion is crucial in the context of this study because it

highlights the influence of gratifications sought on content (i.e. depending of

motivations, participants may seek information directly related to the game or

they may focus on details included in the interactive presentation but unrelated to

the game) and channels (i.e. differential attention to the manipulation aspects and









the use of the technology among cognition-oriented individuals, entertainment-

oriented individuals, and individuals who just want to "play around").

Mental Encoding. Borrowing for Wyer and Carlton (1979), Garramone explains

that "Audience motivation may determine the encoding of media information."

Furthermore, "How information is encoded will influence its subsequent effects,

such as recall of the information and inferences drawn from that information" (p.

80).

In addition, one of the widely accepted assertions of the uses and gratifications

approach is that knowledge gain resulting from media exposure depends on cognitive

needs: The higher the information need, the higher the information gain. "Information-

seeking mode," Garramone stresses, "is the strongest predictor of attention" (p. 81).

Interactivity and cognition. As Tafler explains, "The viewer-participant's access

to multiple areas of selectivity guarantees that other reactions and interactions can take

precedence over the designs of the artist producers" (1995: 261). Therefore, in the

context of news or sports events, one can foresee that the information or emotion that is

conveyed by the photo editor or the video producer through the images may not be felt or

understood by participants engaged in an interactive experience.

Indeed, in the context of interactive pictures and video, the role of the photo editor

or producer is greatly diminished. One of their job's purposes -filtering information and

selecting relevant pictures or scenes that are representative of the situation- seems to

become irrelevant because the participant constructs his or her own viewing experience

and selects the frames he or she wants. Therefore, the participant may not capture frames

considered as important by media professionals. He or she may also spend time looking









at information deemed unimportant by popular standards or images unrelated to the

actual game. On the other hand, in such a setting, the participant may capture important

information that media professionals would not notice (e.g. the media professionals'

routines) or would not consider as important. This poses the problem of defining the

editor's/producer's job and defining what can be considered as important or relevant

information.

In addition, as Heeter notes (1988), in new technologies, when choices increase,

the efforts involved in the experience may also increase. This could hinder the interactive

experience, for interactivity may require the mobilization of important cognitive

resources, as compared to the passive viewing of videos or images.

As Resnick (1987) and Shuell (1988) explain, learning is an active and

constructive process. Construction of knowledge is based on the gathering of new

information and on previous experience. It is also oriented toward the future needs and

requirements, as envisioned by the subject. This view is consistent with the information

processing approach and it shows the importance of relying on uses and gratifications

theory in understanding the media's potential for learning and cognitive activities. In

addition, as Duffy and Jonassen (1992), Greeno et al. (1993), and Spiro et al. (1991)

assert, traditional media put learners in the role of passive recipients, exposed to a single

view, while interactive media allow the manipulation of content for exploratory purposes.

However, Tafler alleviates this proposition and argues, "A computer-directed experience

through a constructed, mediated, and regulated image environment such as high

resolution interactive video disc allows but does not necessarily guarantee an exploratory

interactive platform" (1995: 243). He mentions MIT's Apsen Movie Map (a simulation









of a trip through the streets of Aspen, Colorado), in which "exploration drove the

interaction. Each viewer-participant had the freedom to find his or her own way through

the information maze" (1995: 244). Therefore, according to Tafler, the particular features

(e.g. design, manipulation) and conditions of the interactive experience seem to be of

importance in determining whether an exploratory process occurs during the interactive

experience. As Tafler notes, Jauss (1982) provides further explanations on the conditions

for a true exploratory experience: "The boundaries between passive reception and active

understanding fall within the viewer-participant's horizon of expectation" (1995: 257). In

other words, the participants' motivations and goals also play a large part in determining

whether the experience will be active (i.e. exploratory) or passive. This, once again,

shows that the participant's needs, and gratifications sought, are crucial factors in

understanding interactive experiences in general, and learning processes in particular.

Because an exploratory experience allows for active learning, it could be argued

that interactive settings allow for more efficient learning and cognitive processes

(Schnotz and Boeckheler, 1999). However, Schnotz and Boeckheler also argue that

interaction with visuals mobilizes greater cognitive resources because part of the memory

is used for the manipulation itself. Therefore, at the cognitive level, fewer resources are

available for processing. This could hinder the processing of cognitive information. In

their study of static and animated interactive pictures, Schnotz and Boeckheler found that,

in an individual learning context, interactive animated pictures resulted in a superior

mental encoding of details but did not facilitate performance in mental simulation tasks,

which require an important amount of cognitive resources. More generally, Schnotz and









Boeckheler conclude, "interactive animated pictures do have different effects on

knowledge acquisition under different aspects" (1995: 256).

Likewise, in a study comparing traditional and interactive advertising, Bezjian et

al. (1998) found that visual processing is inhibited by the use of interactive systems. They

posit that visual orientation, be it on the part of participants (i.e. a psychographic

characteristic) or as an attribute of content (i.e. visual material), involves a more complex

process than verbal orientation. They conclude that the verbal task of making choices and

selections in an interactive condition may hinder the visual processing of pictures and

images. These results contrast with the study of Van Tassel (1987), who found that

cognitive processing could be improved through interactive settings. Indeed, in his study,

subjects gave better answers on questions about cancer and its treatment when they were

exposed to interactive learning systems. Van Tassel also found that interactive systems

resulted in higher involvement with the subject matter. His theory is that interaction with

choice, pacing, and evaluation of the content will require or induce greater cognition and

motivation. In addition, he asserts that involvement has a positive effect on learning

(recall, comprehension, and processing) and on attitudes (e.g. mood and emotion).

The field of HCI also tackles this issue, through the notion of selective attention.

As Waern explains, two different tasks are involved in human-computer interactions: A

main task -in this study it consists in watching a game- and a subsidiary task -handling

the computer. The problem, however, is that "If both of these tasks require attention,

performance in one or the other is likely to suffer, compared with the case in which only

one of the tasks has to be given full attention" (p. 19). "If the person concerned," Waern

adds, is unable to produce all the effort needed (either because there are other things to









do or because the system itself requires too much effort), performance will probably

deteriorate, either because the individual narrows the range of his attention too much so

that crucial task-relevant cues are disregarded, or because he devotes his attention to non-

task-relevant cues" (p. 20). In short, it seems that there are mitigated results concerning

the relationship that exists between interactivity and cognition.

It has also been shown that the participants' expectations of their media

experience are crucial in determining the participant's cognitive process. Festinger (1957)

introduced the concept of cognitive dissonance, which contends that information is

selected on the basis of consistency with attitudes, beliefs, and behavior. Along the same

line, Heeter (1988) insists on the notion of selectivity, that is, different individuals seek

different uses and gratifications, which result in the selection of different pieces of

information. Yet, none of the studies presented above have taken into account the far-

reaching consequences of the active attribute of the participants, that is, the idea that the

audience has specific gratifications in mind when exposed to media content. In other

words, a review of previous studies on effects of interactivity seems to indicate that

researchers have looked at a new machine with old research tools. It is crucial to

understand and integrate the fact that individuals have different needs and backgrounds in

order to design empirical studies that are sensitive to the individuals' differences in

information processing. In addition, these mitigated results show that cognition in an

interactive setting is a complex issue. For instance, as Tafler notes,

When any event may evaporate without irrevocably destroying the
concept or force of reception, attention no longer means captivation. With
the enhanced freedom of distraction, the risk of losing the text disappears.
Not motivated by plausible or rational conditions, segmented events do
have a different emotional impact. With less causal significance, less
anticipation, increasingly less surprise, constant change by itself becomes









redundant. Constant change, however, sets up its own attracting conditions
and threatens to dismember traditional hermeneutic systems. (1995: 253)



Visual communication theories. According to the Gestalt theory, parts of a visual

can be analyzed individually, but the experience with the image as a whole is greater than

with the sum of its parts. This would suggest that more global views of an event (e.g.

different angle) would tend to increase the understanding, or at least the perceived

understanding, of this event. On the other hand, focusing on detailed images within this

event would hinder the general comprehension of the event.

Scholars have identified four main "Laws of Gestalt" that apply to complex

stimuli (Warn, 1989). The "proximity law" states that "figures which are situated close

to one another are perceived as forming a unit, a 'Gestalt.'" The "similarity law" asserts

that "figures which are similar to each other are perceived as one Gestalt." The "good

continuity law" refers to the fact that "we tend to perceive a picture of an object as

continuous, even if part of it is hidden." Finally, the "law of closure" states that "we fill

gaps in our perception to get a full Gestalt."

Referring to the contiguity principle (i.e. proximity law), Mayer (1997) notes that,

because of our limited cognitive capacities, information has to be presented in physical

proximity and simultaneously to be processed efficiently. This assumption could then

contradict the assertion that "global view increases understanding" if elements are spread

out on the screen. Indeed, the non-proximity of the elements could hinder both the

understanding and the visual enjoyment of the event.









Emotions

Theory overview. As mentioned earlier, emotions (i.e. affect) are an essential part

of humans' life, experiences, and reactions to stimuli (e.g. emotional responses play a

large part in determining attitudes and behavior). In addition, it should be emphasized

that mediated experiences have the same emotional capabilities as real-life experiences.

This is an important point, for it allows researchers relying on traditional psychology

theories and applying them to mass communication theories.

Dimensions. Mehrabian (1980) provides the rational and supporting evidence for

the designation of pleasure, arousal, and dominance as the three basic emotional

reactions. He asserts that the combination of these three factors can be used in the study

of preference and avoidance of various stimuli. These dimensions are unique in the field

of psychology because they represent a "parsimonious categorization system that [can be]

generally and usefully applied to a wide range of psychological phenomena" (p. 5).

Indeed,

Pleasure, arousal, and dominance constitute a parsimonious description of
the common core of human emotional responses to all situations. These
affective responses, in turn, account for the phenomenon of synesthesia in
that stimuli involving different sense modalities may nevertheless elicit
the same emotional response. (p.15)

In short, according to Mehrabian, any other emotional response, or attribute, can

be described using these three dimensions. For instance, fatigue can be described as low

pleasure, arousal and dominance while excitement can be qualified as high in pleasure,

arousal and dominance. Anger is high in arousal and dominance and low in pleasure,

while stress is high in arousal and low in dominance and pleasure. It should be noted that

Mehrabian mentions several studies -many of them used factor analysis-that found

similar dimensions. In addition, Reeves and Nass mention that emotions are made of two









independent dimensions: valence (i.e. pleasure) and arousal. This view, while not taking

the dominance dimension into account, corroborates Mehrabian's theory.

Because the "pleasure" dimension is independent of the two other dimensions, it

has to be conceptualized as different from "liking" and "preference." Indeed, Mehrabian

notes, "pleasure" and "liking" are influenced by arousal and dominance. Dominance "is

based on the extent to which [an individuals] feels unrestricted or free to act in a variety

of ways" (p. 18). According to Mehrabian, previous studies have identified dominance

but they labeled it otherwise (e.g. freedom of choice, territoriality, or crowding).

The arousal dimension is a combination of activity and alertness. Mehrabian

illustrates this distinction by presenting two cases of moderate arousal: a jogger who is

daydreaming (high activity, low alertness) and an individual solving complex math

problems (low activity, high alertness). For arousal to be considered as high, both activity

and alertness have to be at a high level. While alertness can be measured through

electroencephalogram (EEG), activity is usually measured through measures of blood

pressure, pupil dilatation, respiratory activity, pulse rate, oxygen consumption, muscle

tension, or skin temperature (Mehrabian, 1980: 16).

The "law of initial value" states that the "magnitude of an excitatory reaction

decreases as the level of initial arousal increases" (Zillmann, 1991: 113). In other words,

the more the user is relaxed at the beginning of the mediated experience, the more the

arousal. This seems to indicate that a posttest-pretest measure of arousal would allow

controlling for initial arousal, and would therefore give a more accurate insight on the

effects of the mediated experience on the individual's arousal. An even more rigorous

analysis would add to this model initial arousal as a control variable.









For Zillmann, arousal is "a unitary force that energizes or intensifies behavior that

receives direction by independent means" (1991: 104). The cognitive elements (i.e.

independent means) determine the "hedonic valence" produced by the message

properties. This is consistent with Hebb's (1955) view that arousal "is an energizer, but

not a guide; an engine but not a steering gear" (p. 249). Zillmann distinguishes two types

of arousal: 1) cortical arousal, which is related to attention, alertness, vigilance,

information processing, information acquisition, and information retrieval and is

traditionally measured through EEG; and 2) autonomic arousal (i.e. affective and

emotional reactions) measured through "peripheral manifestations," such as blood

pressure, heart rate, blood pulse volume, skin conductance and vasoconstriction. This

typology clearly reminds of Mehrabian's alertness/activity dichotomy.

Zillmann also notes that extreme arousal decreases pleasure. In the context of

moderate arousal, the effects of the message, or experience, on pleasure depend on

cognitive elements (i.e. valence). In short, this "two-factor theory" contends that pleasure

depends on the kind of affect involved (i.e. cognitive element) and the intensity of the

affect (i.e. arousal element). This is consistent with Reeves and Nass's approach to

emotions and with Mehrabian's (1980) and Lindsey's (1951) idea that arousal refers to

the intensity of emotions, not their quality (or valence).

However, this study will follow Mehrabian's approach, for it is well integrated

into the multidimensional approach to emotions on which this study relies. He presents

three types of arousal -electrocortical, autonomic, and behavioral- but stipulates that the

three usually occur simultaneously. Finally, Mehrabian notes, there is a high correlation

between the different aspects of arousal and self-reports. In other words, it seems that









instruments relying on self-reports can safely be substituted to traditional measures of

arousal such as respiratory activity, pulse rate, oxygen consumption, or muscle tension.

Finally, Mehrabian asserts that semantic differential scales are appropriate to measure the

three dimensions of emotion.


Emotions and cognition. As mentioned above, there is a complex, multidirectional

relationship between emotions and cognition. First, both arousal and cognition influence

emotions: Stimuli induce a physiological arousal, which, added to cognitive- and context-

specific elements, results in particular emotions. As Grodal explains, "The situational

context cues a dominant action tendency by means of a cognitive analysis of the

situation, resulting in a cognitive labeling of the arousal" (2000: 201). Second, arousal

and cognition influence each other. On one hand, as Wern asserts, difficult tasks increase

arousal. On the other hand, arousal is often cited as a factor influencing cognitive

elements, such as memory and information processing. In one of their experiments,

Reeves and Nass found that the higher the arousal triggered by a scene, the higher the

memory (i.e. recall) score. However, this finding should be complemented with the

"Yerkes-Dodson law," which posits that there is a curvilinear relationship between

arousal and performance. Indeed, as Waern explains, "[cognitive] performance is optimal

when the arousal in neither too low, nor too high" (p. 13). It should be mentioned,

though, that other studies have found no evidence for such an assertion. In their

experiment investigating the effects of emotional arousal on memory, Christianson and

Mjorndal (1985) found no influence of arousal on memory performance. They

implemented two experiments, one measuring recall and the other measuring recognition,

and created emotional arousal by injecting adrenalin into the participants' body.










Interactivity and emotions. Interactivity is often mentioned as an important factor

influencing arousal. This assertion will be investigated in the present study. Beyond this

postulate, Coffey and Stipp (1997) affirm that computers in general, and the Internet and

surfing the Web in particular, are considered as more interesting than other media by

individuals because the interactivity they offer triggers a higher mental involvement. This

is consistent with Van Tassel's (1987) findings that interactivity breeds involvement.


Sports and emotions. There has been little research on the entertaining aspect of

watching sports (Bryant and Raney, 2000). In an article titled Sports on the Screen,

Bryant and Raney note that while participating in sports has been universally praised,

sports spectatorship, mediated or not, has often been decried. As they recount, Howard

set the tone in 1912, discussing the evil emotions that sports spectatorship creates on "the

mob-mind of the athletic spectator," who succumbs to "the elemental gaming and

struggle-instinct of the human animal" (1912: 43). He goes even further and encourages

"the apostle of social righteousness [to] break into Satan's monopoly" (p. 41). More

generally, it seems that most research on sports spectatorship focus either on the social

damages and violent aspects of sports, or on the catharsis potential of violent sports.

In addition, Bryant and Raney explain, mass communication research has

explored gender differences in sports spectatorship, and it has consistently found

differences in enjoyment of sports, with males enjoying watching televised sports, as well

as sports violence, more than women. This study will control for gender differences.

However, as Bryant and Raney note, these differences may not be due to intrinsic

differences between male and female. Rather, sports culture, formats (e.g.









advertisements), and themes (e.g. commentators and announcers) show the predominance

of a "masculine bias of sportscasting in America" (p. 171).

Furthermore, as mentioned earlier, sports programming appears to be a well-

suited content for the study of emotions. As Gantz asserts, sports spectatorship, mediated

or non-mediated, "provides an acceptable outlet for exhibiting emotions and feelings" (p.

5). Bryant and Zillmann (1977) also have shown the capability of televised sports for

increasing arousal.





Model


We consider immersive images as virtual reality environments, for it is high in

interactivity and vividness, at least compared to traditional pictures and videos. Indeed,

immersive images are relatively high in breadth -they use one more perceptual channel

(orientation) than still pictures and videos- and in interactivity -the user's input is

assimilated in real time, the user can modify the spatial organization of the content, and

mapping is natural since control is based on direct manipulation. Our study will

investigate the veracity of this model.

We also establish a uses and gratifications typology that relies on the following

orientations: 1) cognition, which merges the established cognition orientation with

interpersonal utility -traditionally classified as a subsection of the personal identity

orientation; 2) diversion; 3) excitement; and 4) parasocial interaction.









Propositions


The main postulate of this study is that interactivity intensifies the participant's

mediated experience depending on the participant's uses of the medium and gratifications

sought. More precisely, we expect to see an increase in the magnitude of the measures

that assess the different components of this experience -cognition, dominance, arousal,

pleasure and telepresence- depending on the participants' motivations and expectations.

The implications and derivations of the results and discussions of the various

theories and studies presented above substantiate the following specific propositions.



Cognition


Interactivity facilitates exploration (Schnotz and Boeckheler) and triggers

involvement, which results in higher attention and encoding (Ferguson and Perse,

Vorderer, Van Tassel). In addition, learning is a goal-oriented, needs-dependent process

(Wyer and Carlton, Garramone, Resnick, Shuell, Tafler, Schnotz and Boeckheler).

Therefore, interactivity will facilitate cognitive processing and information gain for

individuals who seek to increase their knowledge or gather information when watching

sports.

However, because the manipulation process mobilizes important cognitive

resources and necessitates a substantial effort (Waern, Garramone, Schnotz and

Boeckheler), and because traditional image editing is nonexistent in interactive settings,

we predict that interactivity will hinder cognitive processing for all other individuals (i.e.

those for whom the experience of watching sports has little cognitive interest).










Familiarity and Dominance


Familiarity increases with the experience (i.e. previous exposure to interactivity)

of the user (Vorder, Grodal, Fredin and Krendl, Borgman, Tafler). Consistent with

Mehrabian view, which explicitly links familiarity and dominance (1980: 18), we expect

that familiarity will be positively correlated with feeling of dominance in the interactive

settings. This makes sense if we consider that familiarity with interactive technologies

will help the participants "feel in control," or feel unrestricted by the technology.

Furthermore, since interactivity may trigger emotions, such as dominance, we

postulate that individuals in the interactive settings, provided that they are familiar with

interactivity, will have a higher feeling of feeling of dominance than individuals who are

in the non-interactive settings. However, interactivity may also confuse those who are

unfamiliar with the technology. Therefore, their feeling of dominance will be lower than

the one of the participants who are in the non-interactive settings.



Arousal


Because difficult tasks increase arousal (Warn), and because interactivity

presumes an active audience, as compared to the passivity of the TV audience, we

anticipate that participants in the interactive settings will be more aroused by their

mediated experience than participants in the non-interactive settings.

In addition, since we anticipate that interactivity triggers emotions depending on

the specifics motivations of individuals, we predict that, in interactive settings, the higher

the participants' motivation for excitement, the higher their arousal.











Pleasure


Consistent with this study's postulate that interactivity triggers the emotions that

are sought by the individuals, we expect that, in the interactive settings, the participants'

motivation for diversion will be positively correlated with the pleasurability of the

experience.

However, we have no element allowing us to anticipate whether participants in

the interactive settings will find the experience more pleasurable than participants in the

non-interactive settings.



Immersion


Telepresence

Because the immersive images used in this study are more vivid and more

interactive than still pictures and videos, we anticipate that telepresence will be higher in

the two interactive settings.


Telepresence and sensory evaluation

Because of increased telepresence, and especially vividness of the experience,

participants who are in the two interactive settings will provide more intense sensory

evaluations of the mediated environment.


Telepresence and uses and gratifications

Because interactivity may result in reinforcing particular elements of the

experience according to the uses and gratifications sought, we expect that the









participants' "sense of being there" will be positively correlated with the participants'

expectations for parasocial interactions.







Theoretical Assumptions


Finally, it should be noted that theories on sports spectatorship often consider

suspense and sportsfanship as important elements of sports-related uses and

gratifications. The disposition theory (Zillmann et al., 1989), for instance, posits that the

enjoyment of witnessing the success and victory of a team or player is correlated with the

spectators' sentiments toward this team or player. Conversely, enjoyment of witnessing

the failure and defeat of a team or player is negatively correlated with the spectators'

sentiments toward this team or player. Similarly, most, if not all, of sports-related uses

and gratifications studies have established the fanship-related elements as major

motivations for watching sports. As a matter of fact, Gantz found that "emotional

satisfactions associated with winning" (e.g. "to trill in victory") were the most important

factors underlying the viewers' decision for watching sports programs. Team support and

suspense could not be integrated into our model. This issue is further discussed in

Chapter 3.

Finally, as mentioned in Chapter 1, this study is not channel-specific. Indeed, the

theoretical framework combines theories, methods, and findings based on television- and

computer-related research. The fact that this study is not medium-dependant seems well

suited to the current trend toward media convergence. This should increase the external









validity of this study's finding, as well as its applicability for the near future. However,

the drawback of such an approach is that it may pose a substantial threat to the internal

validity of the study. Indeed, our theoretical framework and propositions rely on

measures and models that were developed or demonstrated for specific media (e.g. TV)

but that may be unsuitable to other (e.g. Internet). For instance, it has been shown that the

characteristics of the web audience and television audience are substantially different. In

uses and gratifications measures, for instance, one item can be suitable for one medium or

specific type of content, but not for others (Becker, 1979).














CHAPTER 3
METHODOLOGY




This study consists in an experiment with a 2x2 factor design. Pretest and posttest

questionnaires, as well as computer monitoring, were used to assess the participants'

individual scores for each of the independent and dependent variables. One hundred and

twenty eight college students participated in the experiment.





Design


The two principal factors of this 2x2 experiments were control and motion. The

four ensuing groups and treatments were:

-Group 1, Immersive Pictures (IP): Interactive images with no motion.

-Group 2, Immersive Videos (IV): Interactive images with motion.

-Group 3, Videos (V): Non-interactive images with motion.

-Group 4, Pictures (P): Non-interactive images with no motion.



Process


The experiment was conducted in two days. A half-day session was held for each

of the 4 groups. The rationales for having a different session for each group was that the









experiment took place in a single computer lab and it was necessary to limit threats to

internal validity such as compensatory rivalry, diffusion, and imitation. In addition, in

order to ensure that the time period was not interfering with treatment, a cross repartition

of groups based on the two principal factors (motion and interactivity) was implemented.

That is, one animated session was held in the morning, the other in the afternoon, and one

interactive session was held in the morning, the other in the afternoon. Indeed, if both

"interactive" groups or both "motion" groups had been assigned to two mornings or two

afternoons, one could have attributed the observed differences across groups to the time

period in which the session was held. The difference in students' attention between

morning and afternoon, for instance, is a well-known phenomenon among instructors.

Upon arrival at the facility, students were presented with the informed consent

form and pretest questionnaire, and asked, if they agreed, to fill out both forms. They

would then sit in front of a computer, listen to the investigator's explanations and

clarifications, and follow the onscreen instructions. A training stage preceded the actual

treatment. After treatment, participants were invited to fill the posttest questionnaire and

were kindly asked not to share any information or feelings concerning this experiment

with their fellow students.



Training


The training stage was using non sports-related images. For the two interactive

groups, it consisted in immersive images -pictures of the College for group 1, aerial

video of Hawaii for group 2- that were displayed along with the navigation instructions

and that let the participants familiarize themselves with the technology.









For the two non-interactive groups, the simulated training consisted in

recognizing 12 pictures representing various campus buildings and places. Participants

had to press hotkeys -"ALT" + first letter of the place or building- to indicate their

choice and go to the next screen.



Facilities


The experiment took place in the University of Florida's Interactive Media Lab

(IML). The facility's 11 computers are identical, including screen size and processor

speed, and are connected to the College's Local Area Network.

The 10 computers that were used for treatment were arranged on tables that were

placed along the lab's four walls, with the participants facing the walls when seated in

front of their computer. A large table at the center of the room was used for the answering

of questionnaires, so that participants had no access to the lab's computers before and

after treatment. The researcher also made sure all of the 10 computers had similar settings

(e.g. screens definition and color settings).



Pretest


The experiment was pretested one day prior the beginning of the experiment to

ensure that the experimental design and questionnaires did not have major flaws, and that

the organization, logistics, and timing were set to guarantee a smooth processing. Eight

individuals participated in the pretest, so that each of the four groups was pretested with 2

persons.









Various changes, such as the design of the questionnaires (e.g. labels reminding

the scales' direction were placed at the top of the itemized scales), were made following

the pretest. The clarity of some questions was also improved. In addition, this pretest

revealed the importance of affixing numbers on computers to guarantee that no mistakes

could be done in the grouping of each individual's pretest and posttest questionnaires. It

was also decided to measure the length of exposure to the stimuli in the two non-motions

groups (pictures and immersive pictures) with timer software.

Finally, the simulated training for the two non-interactive groups was changed

from a 3D maze to a hotkey quiz. Indeed, the timed, java-based 3D labyrinth, while

similar to the actual training of the interactive groups (training for orientation etc.), had

the potential to greatly influence arousal -it was timed- and pleasantness -it was very

similar to basic video games.





Participants


A total of 128 college students enrolled in graduate and undergraduate courses at

the University of Florida participated in the experiment. Each of the four groups was

made of 32 participants. A conservative approach would consider students of the

University of Florida as the universe from which this sample is drawn. However, we may

generalize our findings to the population comprised of all U.S. college students, for we

assume a similarity of the two populations in regards to the independent variables

involved in this study.









Recruiting


Participants were recruited in graduate and undergraduate classes in the colleges

of Journalism and Communications and Liberal Arts. With the consent of the instructors,

the researcher invited the students at the end of each class period to sign up for the study.

After randomization (see section below), the researcher sent an email indicating to each

participant his or her appointment time and date. A confirmation of participation was

required, and the researcher called participants on the eve of each session to remind them

of their appointment.

The first participants who answered they could not make their appointment were

offered to participate in the pretest, without them knowing of such arrangement.

Participants who actually participated in the experiment, including pretest,

received as compensation an extra credit applied toward their final grade in the course in

which they had been recruited.



Randomization


Entries of the sign-up sheets were numbered serially. The researcher then used

Research Randomizer v2.11 to assign randomly to each entry a number from one to four

corresponding to one of the four groups of the experiment. Students were also assigned a

non-mandatory appointment time to limit overcrowding at certain times of the sessions,

such as early morning or ends of class periods.




1 This java-script application is available for free on the Internet at
htto://www.randomizer.ore/.









Stimuli



Description


All the treatment materials were presented linearly on a Microsoft Internet

Explorer browser. Videos used the RealAudio Player, and immersive images -videos and

pictures-used the iPIXplug-ins. A similar screen started the experiment, followed by the

general instructions, the training instructions, and the training itself (stage 1). Participants

were asked to raise their hand at the end of the training stage so that the researcher could

start the computer monitoring software.

The stimuli (stage 2) displayed the following sequences of images (groups 1 and

4) or scenes (groups 2 and 3): A Florida Gators gymnastics meet (vault, floor or uneven

bars, beam, podium), intramural soccer competition, intramural beach volleyball

competition, and intramural basketball games. The rational for such diverse sports

content was that it could allow controlling for sports preferences. Indeed, since various

sports were represented, it was improbable that participants' preference for specific sports

would interfere with preference or interest in the experience itself. In contrast, a stimulus

containing only football or basketball may have indeed influenced greatly the

participant's experience based on his or her involvement in this specific sports activity.

Moreover, since Gantz (1980) found that the individual's motivations for watching sports

are similar across sports, the inclusion of various sports activities in the stimuli did not

represent a threat to uses and gratifications measures.

For the immersive pictures group (Group 1), a total of 11 iPIXpictures were

successively displayed. The still picture stimulus (Group 2) included a series of 57









pictures, each representing one of the iPIXpictures' field of view. As a result, all the

views available on the iPIXpictures (zoom set at minimum) were represented in the non-

immersive condition. Both of the videos stimuli (groups 2 and 3) presented 4 successive

videos. Group 2 and Group 3 videos were identical but participants in Group 3 (non

immersive) could not use -and did not know about- the interactive features (i.e. pan and

zoom). The non-interactive conditions were also ensured through the suppression (i.e.

hiding) of the mouse. In these two groups (3 and 4), participants had to use hotkeys to

jump to the next screen.

Although the researcher strived to have identical shots and scenes for the motion

(i.e. videos) and no motion (i.e. pictures) conditions, production-related issues (see

section below) resulted in slight difference between what was shown in the videos and

what was represented in the pictures.

Samples of the treatment materials can be accessed through the following links:

-Appendix C screenshotss selected from the interactive pictures treatment)

-Immersive video preview2 (Html document and RealAudio file, 7.3 MB)

-Immersive picture preview3 (Html document and iPIX file, 295 KB).



Production


Pictures and videos were shot simultaneously using Nikon Coolpix 990 (still

pictures) and Sony TRV-900 (video) digital cameras, as well as tripods. The cameras were

mounted with iPIXfisheye lenses. Although two UF broadcast students helped with


2 The iPIX Plug-In is required for this presentation. To download this Plug-In, go to
http://www.ipix.com/download.html









shooting and post-production, scarcity of camera operators, as well as the 3600 field of

view -resulting in the impossibility of having both the video and the still cameras next to

each other- hindered simultaneous shooting of certain scenes. The iPIXtechnology and

material used preventing the use of a zoom and offering limited images resolution,

especially for video, the camera operators had to be very close to the action and athletes.

This resulted in significant problems for the games' and meet's shooting because of

access and safety issues.

The pictures were edited using Adobe Photoshop. Immersive pictures were then

created using the iPIXBuilder software. Non-immersive pictures were created by using

the freeware program WinGrab 1.40.11 and making screen captures for each of the iPIX

pictures field of view. The captured images were then cropped to obtain a single, non-

interactive photograph.

The video was edited using Adobe Premiere, and built in iPIX format and

encoded as RealAudio files using iPIXmovieBuilder Beta Version 1.0. Operating system

and Codecs issues resulted in several problems, including a lower-than-expected image

quality, and the necessity to break the video into four parts. In addition, instead of

composing a 3600 field of view from two original 1800 camera shots, the researcher had

to mirror the main 1800 camera shot to obtain a simulated 360 field of view. These

problems are further discussed in the Methodological Assumptions section.

The instructions were coded directly in HTML and training and stimulus

materials were embedded into the web pages. The researcher used Macromedia




3 The iPIX Plug-In is required for this presentation. To download this Plug-In, go to
httD://www.ipix.com/download.html









Dreamweaver and Adobe Photoshop to create or improve the treatments' structure,

design, and images.

The treatment materials and computer-monitoring software were stored on the

College's server.





Variables for Analysis


The following variables, some of which the present study may not use or integrate

into the models, were measured during the experiment. The unused variables may be

used for explanatory and exploratory purposes, as well as further research.



Independent Variables


1. Principal factors: Image Characteristics

-Image motion: Motion / No motion

Image control: Interactive / Non-interactive

2. Independent variables

Familiarity with interactivity (video games playing habits, Internet use

(frequency and session length, experience with immersive images)4

Gratifications sought from watching sports (Cognition orientation / diversion /

excitement / parasocial interaction / interpersonal utility)

3. Control variables

-Demographics: Age, gender, education









Psychographics: Personality orientation (Indoor vs. Outdoor and Shy vs.

Outgoing), Social involvement (i.e. involvement in clubs and organizations)

Familiarity with sports (game attendance and sports media (television,

magazines, Internet, newspapers) exposure)

Importance of sports in the participant's life

-Length of exposure5

Participants' (mouse) activity6



Dependent Variables


1. Cognition: Recall

2. Emotions:

Pleasantness

Arousal

Dominance

3. Immersion

Telepresence (i.e. sense of being there)

Sensory evaluation (attendance/crowd, athlete involvement, pace of the

game, intensity of light)

4. Interest in the game or event

5. Perceived knowledge





4 Immersive groups only
5 No motion groups only
6 Immersive groups only









Measurement



Questionnaires


Four questionnaires were created for this experiment. Two pretest questionnaires

had to be created, one for the interactive conditions and one for the non-interactive

conditions. Indeed, questions about familiarity with interactivity were asked to both

"interactive" groups in pretest, and these questions could have provided clues about the

purpose of the study to participants in the non-interactive settings. Moreover, as

mentioned earlier, there were slight differences in terms of the scenes shown between the

motion and no motion stimuli. Therefore, the researcher had to create two different

posttest questionnaires (motion / no motion) that asked different recall questions. More

specifically, five recall questions out of 13 differed between the motion and the no

motion questionnaires. However, the researcher strived to assuage these differences by

creating questions that were as similar as possible.


Pretest questionnaires

The pretest questionnaires presented the participants with the following

succession of questions: Demographics (question one through four), psychographics

(question five through seven), familiarity with sports (question eight through 11),

familiarity with interactivity (immersive groups only; question 12 through 16),

importance of sports in the participant's life (question 17), gratifications sought from

watching sports (question 18: cognition, six items; diversion, six items; excitement, three

items; interpersonal utility, six items; parasocial interaction, four items), current

feelings/emotions (question 19: AdSAM scale, three items).









Several of these questions were designed to be combined into indexes. Seven

indexes were created: Familiarity with sports, familiarity with interactivity, and uses and

gratifications (five indexes). However, as explained in Chapter Two, the cognition index

and the interpersonal utility index were to be grouped in a single index labeled as

"cognition." Each index was constructed by accumulating the score obtained for each

ordinal item and dividing the total by the number of items included in the index. For

instance, one of the "familiarity with sports" items asked participants how often they

watched sports events on TV. Responses ranged from "Never," scored as one, to

"everyday," scored as six. The purpose of these indexes was to increase variance as well

as the statistical significance of the tests' results.

In the demographics section, respondents were asked to indicate their major. The

purpose of this question was to distinguish communication majors from other majors, in

case such a variable could interfere with the treatment. As a result, communication

majors were coded as "one" and non-communication majors as "zero."

Two of the psychographics, or personality, questions used a 7-point semantic

differential scale. The two pairs of opposite terms for these two questions were

indoor/outdoor and outgoing/shy.

The uses and gratifications items were shuffled in a single series of questions so

that the five indexes (i.e. underlying dimensions) were hidden from the respondent.

Responses ranged from "Not important at all," scored as one, to "Very important," scored

as four. The sources for, and validity of the uses and gratification items are discussed

below.









Emotions, or current feelings, were evaluated last to obtain measures as

temporallyy) close as possible to the beginning of the treatment. Specific considerations

on functioning and validity of the AdSAM scale are presented below.

A pretest questionnaire (interactive groups) is presented in Appendix A.


Posttest questionnaires

The first question of the posttest questionnaires consisted in another AdSAM

scale. The following 13 items were specific recall questions. Emotions and recall were

placed first in order to gauge the participant's emotions and cognition directly after

treatment. Emotions measurement came first because the researcher believes that

emotions are more time-sensitive than cognitive tasks such as recall. In addition, and as

mentioned in Chapter Two, cognition can greatly influence emotional dimensions. In

fact, it has been shown that difficult tasks increase arousal (Wmrn, 1989). This justified

the precedence of the AdSAM scale over recall questions.

The recall questions featured specific central-action-related questions (e.g. scores,

injury, podium) as well as questions about the spectators (e.g. crowd reaction). They also

combined general questions (e.g. list of sports viewed, athletes behavior) and more

specific questions, such as descriptions of the athletes' outfit and athletes' names (the

athlete's name probed in the recall questions appeared on a sign in the foreground of one

of the gymnastics scene). All recall questions were open-ended.

Question 15 invited respondents to provide comments and details on their

experience. Such an input could provide interesting insights to be used in the discussion

section. It could also help the researcher better understand the participants' perceptions of

the technology and its implementation in this particular sports-related environment. This









open-ended question was not coded. However, the researcher noted observations deemed

as useful or interesting in the context of this study.

The next item (question 16) was a manipulation check. It asked respondent how

interactive they thought their experience had been. This measure was created to verify the

internal and external validities of the experimental design.

Question 17 probed the participants on their perceived interest of the games.

Questions 18 and 19 were combined and consisted in a series of Likert scales that

measured the participants' feeling of telepresence and their sensory evaluation of the

scenes. The last two questions measured the participants' perceived knowledge and asked

them whether they had seen any of these specific games prior to this experiment. This

latest item was supposed to control for prior knowledge about these games.

The participants' mouse activity and length of exposure were recorded by the

investigator at the end of the questionnaire.

A posttest questionnaire (interactive groups) is presented in Appendix B.


Uses and gratifications measures

As Katz et al. (1974) stress, the main concern in gratifications research lies in the

measurement of the gratifications sought by the individuals. This challenge of

establishing a list of gratifications is mainly a validity issue encountered at the

operationalization stage, for it concerns the deduction process that converts large,

conceptual categories into actual measurement of natural observations.

Although parts of this issue have been discussed earlier (Chapter Two), it seems

important to further discuss these validity-related problems in order to justify the

gratifications measures chosen for this study.









As Becker (1979) explains, the two main operationalization-related challenges

concern content validity and construct validity. Content validity determines whether the

gratification items "logically measure the underlying gratification desired" (p. 58). Some

scholars (see for instance Babbie, 1998) refer to this as face validity. Content validity,

they argue examines whether "a measure covers the range of meanings included within

the concept" (p. 134). Becker tackles this latest issue by mentioning the fact that the lists

of items used may not be exhaustive. Researchers usually deal with this problem by

performing factor analysis and verifying that the items used account for an important part

of the variance. In this study, consistent with Becker's approach, we combine face

validity and content validity under the content validity label.

The researcher addressed the content validity problem by establishing a list of

gratifications that is based on several lists of general and sports-related uses and

gratifications studies. More specifically, most of the items used in this study's uses and

gratifications indexes were borrowed from Palmgreen et al. (1980), Gantz (1980), Levy

and Windahl (1984), and Melton and Galician (1989). Therefore, it is safe to assume that

our uses and gratifications measures have been validated in previous studies. It should

also be noted that some items have been validated across the studies aforementioned (i.e.

some items had been used in all of the four studies).

The problem of content validity can also be tackled at the categorical level. In

other words, one may wonder whether the categories, or indexes, collectively represent

exhaustively the full range of uses and gratifications that individuals may seek from

media exposure. As explained in Chapter Two, this issue had been resolved by using the

categories that were developed by Blumler and McQuail (1969) and that have been









consistently validated ever since. The only modification made to this typology was to

assimilate interpersonal utility and cognition. The rationale for such assimilation in the

context of the present study was presented in Chapter Two, and the validity of such a

combination is presented below.

The main content validity-related issue remaining in the present study stems from

the fact that an important gratification category had to be left over. Indeed, as mentioned

earlier, the immediate social aspect of sports (e.g. "the opportunity to do something with

family and friends") could not be taken into account.

The second type of operationalization-related validity, construct validity, "is

based on the logical relationship among variables" (Babbie, 1998: 134). As Becker

(1979) explains, media effects research, such as the present study, is particularly

appropriate for such a validation technique. Indeed, construct validity uses hypothesis

testing to validate the relationship among variables and therefore substantiate that the

"empirical measures) adequately reflect the real meaning of the concept under

consideration" (Babbie, 1998: 133). This approach was first used in uses and

gratifications research by McLeod and Becker (1974).


AdSAM

The Self Assessment Manikin (SAM) technique is based on Mehrabian's three-

dimensional approach to emotions. As mentioned in Chapter Two, these bipolar and

autonomous dimensions are pleasure, arousal, and dominance (PAD). It should be noted

that numerous studies (Russel, 1989; Daly, Lancee, and Polivy, 1983; Mehrabian and

Russel, 1977; Havlena and Holbrook, 1986) have corroborated Mehrabian's PAD model









(Morris, 1995). This consistency in the identification of emotional dimensions certainly

provides a substantial support for the internal validity of the SAM technique.

The complexity of emotions is a major obstacle for the measurements of

emotional responses (Plummer and Leckenby (1985), in Morris, 1995). While emotional

responses have traditionally been measured through verbal self-reports, physiological

measures, photo decks, and dial turning instruments (Morris, 1995), the SAM technique

addresses directly the emotional measurement issue because it visually and graphically

represents and operationalizes the dimensions of Mehrabian's PAD model (Fig. 1). As

Morris explains, "SAM depicts each PAD dimension with a graphic character arrayed

along a continuous nine-point scale" (p. 67).












Figure 3-1: Sam



As mentioned in the previous chapter, pleasure, arousal, and dominance have

typically been measured using semantic differential scales. The Self-Assessment Manikin

is based on a same model but it replaces written phrases and sentences by graphical

representations. As Morris et al. (1999) point out, Lang (1985) found high correlations

between the SAM measures and Mehrabian's semantic differential scales (0.937 for









pleasure, 0.938 for arousal, and 0.660 for dominance). These high correlations also

contribute to the validation of the SAM technique.

In addition, as Morris (2000) notes, the SAM technique offers several advantages:

It is nonverbal. Indeed, "AdSAM minimizes many of the biases associated

with verbal measures of emotion. It enables respondents to more

effectively indicate their immediate emotional reactions without the bias

of language (...) and to more easily express their feelings."

Because it is nonverbal, SAM is also cross-cultural.

SAM is also complementary because it can be used as a supplement in

qualitative (e.g. focus groups) and quantitative (e.g. self-administered

questionnaires) research.

"It is easy to use. SAM takes approximately 15 seconds to score per

stimulus." It can also be used with children.

Finally, SAM easily retains the attention of the participants.

Lang developed SAM in 1985 and the technique is now administered by the

organization AdSAM at the University of Florida. The term AdSAM and SAM are

therefore used interchangeably throughout this study.

In addition, AdSAM adds various tools of analysis to the SAM measures. As

Morris (1995) explains, there are three methods for reporting SAM results:

Reports of pleasure-arousal-dominance scores,

Placing of a stimulus on a four quadrant space (i.e. perceptual map),

Use of the perceptual map for comparison of the stimulus' pleasure by

arousal scores with Mehrabian and Russell's 135 emotions adjectives.









This study favored variations in emotions, rather than absolute AdSAM scores.

This strategy seems to be more adapted and accurate for the study of media effects, for it

allows controlling for the participants' initial emotional state.

While the AdSAM method is particularly well suited for marketers and well

adapted to products and concept testing, it can be a useful tool for measuring emotional

response to any types of stimuli. Indeed, as Morris (1995) stresses, "studies by Lang,

Bradley, and Morris confirm the reliability of SAM globally, on both the psychological

and the communication levels" (p. 67).


Intercoder Agreement

Because the recall questions were open ended, intercoder agreement on these

questions' scoring was calculated. However, no tests of intercoder reliability were

conducted since the questions were relatively straightforward. Indeed, the coder's own

judgment had little importance in the overall scoring of these questions.

Thirteen questionnaires were randomly selected and coded by a third-party

investigator. Coders agreed on eight of the 13 questionnaires. This resulted in an

observed agreement between the two coders of 0.62. However, it should be emphasized

that the score's difference for four of the non-agreed questionnaires was only one point

(out of 31). The fifth discordant questionnaire had a three-point difference. This indicates

that the relatively low intercoder agreement score reported above had very limited effects

on the overall recall score of each participant. Another method of intercoder agreement,

more relevant to the scoring method used in this study, would calculate the mean of the

agreement on each questionnaire's total score -total agreement being scored as 1 and a

one-point difference being scored as 0.968 (1-(1/31)). This method would give a









substantially different coder agreement of 0.982. This method is indeed more adapted to

this study, for the recall variable was computed as the participant's overall recall score.



Computer Monitoring


As Rice and Rogers (1984) note, although new media research presents the

researchers with many challenges and issues, it also offers several new opportunities and

tools for research. Computer monitoring is one of them. As Rice and Rogers add, such a

method has the advantage of being unobtrusive, which greatly enhance the validity of the

measures.

Both of the programs used for computer monitoring were launched by the

investigator after the training stage, and data collected through the software were

recorded immediately after the end of the treatment.


Timelt

The Timelt freeware was used to measure the participant's length of exposure to

immersive and non-immersive pictures. Indeed, while the video conditions did not pose

any time-related problem because of the fixed length of the stimuli, participants in the

"no motion" settings were not limited in the amount of time they could spend on each

picture. This issue is further discussed in the Methodological Assumptions section. The

software -a script- was downloaded from the Internet.


KeyMeter

The KeyMeter software, also downloaded from the Internet, measures the number

of clicks and double clicks performed by the user, as well as the number of pixels




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