Internet affordances drive uses gratifications a cognitive heuristics approach
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Internet Affordances drive Uses & Gratifications A Cognitive Heuristics Approach. S. Shyam Sundar Media Effects Research Lab The Pennsylvania State University. Where Have All the Audiences Gone?. They’ve become “users” Action, not simply reception

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Internet Affordances drive Uses & Gratifications A Cognitive Heuristics Approach

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Internet affordances drive uses gratifications a cognitive heuristics approach

Internet Affordances drive Uses & GratificationsA Cognitive Heuristics Approach

S. Shyam Sundar

Media Effects Research Lab

The Pennsylvania State University


Where have all the audiences gone

Where Have All the Audiences Gone?

  • They’ve become “users”

  • Action, not simply reception

  • Technology of the internet offers “affordances”

  • These affordances convey cues to promote heuristics about message attributes


Technology cues

Technology & Cues

  • Affordances of a given technology can serve as cues

  • E.g., Interactivity = openness of information access and/or participatory nature of the forum

  • Cues embedded in affordances aid credibility judgments

    • Trigger heuristics about the typical nature of underlying content

      Cues also dictate uses and gratifications of internet-based media


Cues transmitted by affordances

Cues transmitted by Affordances

  • Two ways

  • sheer presence of a given affordance

    • value-added functionality will be rife with judgment-related cues

      (e.g., contingency; dialogue; flow)

  • Technology assembles information for making quick quality and credibility judgments

    • (e.g., counters on Web pages

      # of contacts on social networking site

      Google News cues)


M a i n model

M A I N Model

  • Ten years of research at our lab using a variety of digital media have identified four broad affordances that have shown significant psychological effects

    • Modality (M)

    • Agency (A)

    • Interactivity (I)

    • Navigability (N)

Credibility

Judgment

Affordance

Heuristics

Quality

Cues


Internet affordances drive uses gratifications a cognitive heuristics approach

Heuristic

M A I N Model

Cues

(Examples)

Affordance

Realism

Old-media

Being there

Distraction

Bells & Whistles

Coolness

Novelty

Intrusiveness

Perceptual

Bandwidth

Modality

Quality

Utility

Importance

Relevance

Believability

Popularity

Pedigree

Completeness

Level of Detail

Variety

Clarity

Understandability

Appearance

Affect

Accessibility

Conciseness

Locatability

Representative

quality

Consistency

Compatibility

Reliability

Trustworthiness

Uniqueness

Timeliness

Objectivity

Expertise

Benevolence

Machine

Bandwagon

Authority

Social Presence

Helper

Identity

Collaborative

Filtering

Agency

Credibility

Judgment

Interaction

Activity

Responsiveness

Choice

Control

Telepresence

Flow

Contingency

Similarity

Customization

Interactivity

Browsing

Elaboration

Scaffolding

Play

Prominence

Similarity

Information Scent

Navigability

Sundar, S. Shyam. “The MAIN Model: A Heuristic Approach to Understanding Technology Effects on Credibility." Digital Media, Youth, and Credibility. Edited by Miriam J. Metzger and Andrew J. Flanagin. The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Media and Learning. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2008. 73–100.


Modality

Modality

  • Different modalities command differential levels of information processing by users

  • Modalities evoke visceral responses, both physiological and psychological

  • They also trigger heuristics such as

    • Realism (A/V > Text)

    • Being-There (Authenticity/Intensity)

    • Coolness (stylish and hip)

    • Novelty (halo effect)

    • Intrusiveness (unsolicited telemarketer schema)


Agency

Agency

  • Now, anybody and everybody can serve as a gatekeeper

  • Internet media users given unprecedented agency in creation and recommendation of content

  • Journalistic Agency = Expertise heuristic

  • Interface Agents trigger machine heuristic

  • Self-agency leads to ownness heuristic

  • Other-Users Agency = Bandwagon

  • Agency-enhancement and Community-Building have become new gratifications


News story ratings as a function of perceived source editors vs computer vs others vs self

News Story Ratings as a function of Perceived Source (Editors vs. Computer vs. Others vs. Self)


Agency1

Agency

  • Now, anybody and everybody can serve as a gatekeeper

  • Internet media users given unprecedented agency in creation and recommendation of content

  • Journalistic Agency = Expertise heuristic

  • Interface Agents trigger machine heuristic

  • Self-agency leads to ownness heuristic

  • Other-Users Agency = Bandwagon

  • Agency-enhancement and Community-Building have become new gratifications


Interactivity

Interactivity

  • Dialogue

  • Contingency

  • Speed

  • Customization

Navigability

  • Information Scent = Similarity heuristic

  • Prominence heuristic (In Google We Trust)

  • Flow/Play


To sum up

To sum up…

  • Technological affordances relating to MAIN contribute to user construction of meaning of content

  • They facilitate richer engagement with—and experience of—content

  • They shape our consumption of content

  • They cultivate in us gratifications that we did not seek with traditional media


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