This study identifies two distinct conceptualizations of interactivity in the communication literature - the functional view and the contingency view. Although the functional view has predominated academic research on interactivity, this study operationalizes the contingency view in the context of an experiment designed to investigate the impression formation effects of interactivity in Web-based mass communication. A third of the participants in a between-participants experiment (N = 60) were exposed to the low-interactivity version (no hyperlinks) of a political candidate's Web site, another third to the medium-interactivity version (a single layer of related links), and the remaining third to the high-interactivity version (two hierarchical layers of related links). The results indicate that the level of Web site interactivity influenced participants' perceptions of the candidate as well as their levels of agreement with his policy positions. Implications for conceptual development of interactivity are discussed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Language and Linguistics
- Linguistics and Language