Perceived presence in mediated communication: antecedents and effects

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Jourdan, Jessica Simmons

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An individual’s experience of perceived presence during a communicative interaction is critical to communication, psychology, information systems, and business scholars alike, as it lies at the center of all mediated experiences (Biocca, 1997; Lee, K. M., 2004; Lombard & Ditton, 1997). The increased use of mediated technology universally and in the workplace has contributed to the importance of the presence construct. The current research examines the multidimensional nature of presence, often generally described as an experience of social and physical connectedness that an individual experiences while communicating with another using information technology. Three unique dimensions of presence are addressed including perceived physical, social, and self presence. Two principle research questions are addressed. First, two media attributes, media capacity and synchronicity, are examined for their influence on each dimension of presence. In addition, demographic factors that may influence presence are discussed as controls. The second research question investigates the impact of each dimension of presence on three categories of organizationally-relevant outcomes. The three outcome categories include social, task, and interaction-oriented outcomes. Hypotheses for these two primary research questions are presented and methodology for investigating them is discussed. Findings indicate that presence is a multi-dimensional construct and that different media attributes affect each of the three types of presence in a unique way. A medium’s synchronicity is much more influential in shaping perceptions of presence than its capacity. Specifically, synchronicity was significantly related to perceived physical, social, and self presence; in contrast, the capacity of a medium affected only physical presence. In addition, each of the three forms of presence also influences the social, task-related, and communication outcomes examined differently. Implications of the research findings are discussed and possible research directions overviewed.