Talking Health With a Machine: How Does Message Interactivity Affect Attitudes and Cognitions?

Saraswathi Bellur, S. Shyam Sundar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

By affording interactive communication and natural, human-like conversations, can media tools affect the way we engage with content in human–machine interactions and influence our attitudes toward that content? A between-subjects experiment (N = 172) examined the effects of two communication variables: (a) message-interactivity and (b) conversational tone, in an online health information (Q&A) tool. Findings suggest that informal conversational tone lowers perceptions of relative susceptibility to health risks. Perceived contingency positively mediates the influence of message interactivity on individuals' health attitudes and behavioral intentions whereas perceived interactivity negatively mediates the relationships between these variables. These contrasting mediation effects are further explored via a phantom model analysis that tests two theoretically distinct paths, with implications for both theory and practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-53
Number of pages29
JournalHuman Communication Research
Volume43
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

Fingerprint

interactive media
Cognition
cognition
Communication
Health
Attitude to Health
Health risks
health
communication
model analysis
health information
health risk
contingency
mediation
conversation
Experiments
experiment
interaction

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Anthropology
  • Linguistics and Language

Cite this

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Talking Health With a Machine : How Does Message Interactivity Affect Attitudes and Cognitions? / Bellur, Saraswathi; Sundar, S. Shyam.

In: Human Communication Research, Vol. 43, No. 1, 01.01.2017, p. 25-53.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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